College Hoops Makeover Part Three: Iowa Hawkeyes
They Loved the 80s
The Iowa Hawkeyes started the 1980s off with a bang, making it to the Final Four thanks to the efforts of stars Ronnie Lester, Mark Gannon and Vince Brookins, who were coached by Hall of Famer Lute Olson. Following Olson's departure to Arizona, former Boston College coach Dr. Tom Davis and Washington State coach George Raveling led the Hawkeyes to regular NCAA tournament appearances. In 1987, the Hawkeyes earned their first No. 1 ranking thanks to stars such as B.J. Armstrong, Roy Marble, Ed Horton and Les Jepsen.
Ex-Hoosier Can't Bring "Hoosiers" Magic
After Davis retired in 1999, former Hoosier Steve Alford took over after a successful stint at Missouri State. Eventually, Luke Recker joined the Hawkeyes in 2000-01 from Indiana and expectations were high. The team won the Big Ten Tournament and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament, but only finished 7-9 in conference play during the regular season.
Regular postseason appearances continued, but in 2005 leading scorer Pierre Pierce was dismissed from the team following sexual assault charges. Pierce was eventually convicted and served a year in prison.
The last NCAA tournament appearance in 2006 was noteworthy for the wrong reasons, as the Hawkeyes became the last three-seed to lose in the first round (to Northwestern State). Since then, the Hawkeyes have had two straight overall losing seasons under former Butler coach Todd Lickliter.
Does "Downtown" Freddy Brown Have Any Eligibility Left?
The venerable Mr. Brown exhausted his eligibility in the early 1970s before going on to star with the Sonics but he could have probably led this year's team in scoring. The 2008-09 team averaged a paltry 60.2 points a game, led by sophomore guard Jake Kelly with 11.6 points per game. Part of the issue was turnovers - they had more of those than assists. Factor in youth and injuries and you have a recipe for disappointment. Only five players played in every game this year and only three averaged more than 30 minutes a game.
Back To Solid Hard-Working Iowa Values
The only senior on the team who played significantly is center Cyrus Tate, so the 2009-10 edition will have benefited from the experience of this year's struggles. They are still a force at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, recently running up a 21-game home winning streak. Next season, two local stars will come aboard as freshmen and should improve rebounding. However, they will need improved ball-handling and offensive efficiency in order to move up the Big Ten standings and get back to regular NCAA appearances.
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