It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It is BHGP's regular news roundup. Send all tips to any of the email addresses at the bottom of the page. We'd rather you send it to Jacobi, because he forwards them to everyone in emails with dancing cat gif's at the bottom.
The Cartwright Giveth. While much of the talk following Iowa's weekend upset of Purdue centered on senior Jarryd Cole (and with good reason), it somewhat overshadowed the stat-based award of the year: Bryce Cartwright won the Big Ten assist title, finishing 10 assists ahead of Michigan's Darius Morris. Cartwright becomes the fifth Hawkeye to win the award, and first since Dean Oliver captured the assist title in 2001. Cartwright arguably made more progress than any other Hawkeye this season, progressing from a likely backup to the straw that stirs Iowa's drink and the primary crunch-time shooter. Melsahn Basabe was a revelation, to be sure, but Cartwright was arguably more important to Iowa's eleven wins.
The Fifteen Guys Taketh Away. Rick Brown put numbers to what we already knew: That Iowa's basketball program has suffered from unprecedented attrition over the last eight years, losing fifteen players with eligibility remaining:
The Hawkeyes had their leading returning scorer or rebounder - Tyler Smith in 2007, Tony Freeman in 2008, Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson in 2009 and Aaron Fuller in 2010 - bolt after each of the last four seasons. Player retention is one of the reasons athletic director Gary Barta fired Todd Lickliter after just three seasons.
Senior center Jarryd Cole will be the ninth of 22 freshmen at Iowa since 2000 to stay through their entire careers. Factor in junior-college transfers, and only 20 of 36 players who played at least one game for the Hawkeyes completed their eligibility there in the past eight seasons.
Iowa's not the only team suffering from an increased number of transfers: 10.6% of scholarship basketball players transferred to another Division I program in 2008-09. Everyone -- well, everyone but Thad Matta -- thinks the higher rate is due in no small part to AAU basketball culture, where stars are coddled and praised by coaches who cater to their every whim. Todd Lickliter's response was to cut the AAU system out completely, which might be principled but struck us as treating a cold by cutting off your own nose. McCaffery's staff embraces the AAU system; no sign yet of how that will help, but top-rated point guards from California are visiting.
As for this season, it looks to be all quiet on the transfer front. The only potential transfer we've heard of -- Eric May either leaving Iowa (really?) or playing football (absurd) -- weren't entirely shot down by May in the wake of the Purdue victory, but appear unlikely. May's final quote, that he "can't just be a ghost on the court," at least indicates that May is willing to stay and work at fixing the problems that left him on the bench in February.
By the way, Rick Brown's column also contains the best Jamie Pollard quote since "Inconsolable" surfaced two years ago:
Of the 25 players McDermott signed at Iowa State, 18 left before completing their eligibility. Two of those players turned pro, including first-round NBA draft pick Craig Brackins.
"Each situation is unique," Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said. "Obviously, with Greg we had a run of uniqueness. And the sum of the individual parts kind of broke the system."
"A run of uniqueness" should be the Iowa State athletic department motto.
Sports With Bats. Iowa baseball continued its tour of the Deep South this week with four games at Starkville, Mississippi's Dudy Noble Field (you read that name right). A Friday afternoon loss to Georgia Southern dropped the Hawkeyes to 1-5 on the season. Then the light flickered on; Iowa swept both games of a two-game series with Mississippi State on Friday night and Saturday, then avenged its Friday loss on Sunday. Both MSU and GSU entered the weekend 8-1, so winning the round robin tournament is no small feat.
Softball, on the other hand, continues to struggle. A weekend trip to Fullerton, California resulted in a 1-4 record, capped by a 7-2 loss to Murray State Sunday in which the Hawkeyes gave up 5 eighth-inning runs. Iowa finished the weekend with an 8-9 overall record.
Former Steve Alford assistant Greg Lansing, former Steve Alford recruit Jake Kelly, and the Indiana State Sycamores won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final Sunday and will play in the NCAA Tournament. The team also includes Jordan Printy, graduate of Linn-Mar High, former resident of Marion, IA, and brother of Iowa women's basketball player Jamie Printy. In other words, if you were looking for a team to get behind next week, Indiana State might be your answer.
The Carver-Hawkeye Arena expansion project remains on schedule and should be fully open by July. The facility is supposed to add new office space for non-football coaching staffs, practice courts, weight facilities, and locker rooms.
An odd result from the NFL Combine: Where mid-round Hawkeyes usually make their move in Indianapolis, it was potential first-rounders Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard who turned heads. Julian Vandervelde also turned in a surprising performance. Meanwhile, borderline guys like Ricky Stanzi, Allen Reisner, and Jeremiha Hunter struggled.