First off - great write up by Pioneer_Hawk! It was awesome to meet you and cheer on the Hawks together!
Second, I’ve never done a Fan Post before, so I hope I don’t disappoint. I’ll start with my background and how my family ended up in Europe so we could watch some Hawkeye Basketball in Paris. I’m a life-long Hawkeye fan, and have apparently been watching Iowa football and basketball since I was born, just ask my dad. I’ve spent many September birthdays opening presents at halftime during the game and watching basketball games every Wednesday and Saturday doing chores growing up. Now, as an adult, I haven’t gotten to spend as much time near Iowa City as I would like, but wouldn’t change the adventures I get with my husband, who is an Iowa alum and on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. His latest assignment brought us to Belgium in February, and my first order of business was to look into how to get BTN online so I wouldn’t miss my football and basketball games.
As soon as we heard Iowa was coming to Europe, we immediately wanted to know where. We hoped it would be close and when Paris was announced, a 2 hour train ride was nothing, so we started planning our trip to Paris. We’d been telling our 3-year-old son that we were going to see Iowa basketball all summer, and he was getting pretty excited, since he had only seen the Hawkeyes on TV. On Friday, we decided to take in some sights and ran into some of the Iowa support staff at the Louvre, and they recognized us instantly in our Hawkeye apparel. They were fabulous, and very excited to see Hawk fans in the city and coming to the game.
When we arrived for the game that night, the gym was tiny, hot and pretty full. We found some seats on one end, it ended up being the opposite bench than the Hawks, but loved every minute of it. My son was so excited when they took the court to warm up, clapping and cheering. The first thing we noticed in terms of our opponents was how much older than looked. Definitely veteran professional players. We even had another fan comment that our team looked so young. I had to explain that this was a university team and they were all between 18-23 years old. The way they played, the other fans were impressed.
Iowa pushed the tempo and was definitely faster and scrappier than AMW All Stars. There were definitely some horrible foul calls; in addition to Adam Woodbury’s attempt to step over the other team, which was pretty much enjoyed by fans on both sides of the ball, it seemed like the Hawks got more than their fair share of fouls called. Traveling calls, which are different in international rules, were also bothersome both days. While the outside shot on Friday night wasn’t falling, the transition game was taking off, literally with one monsterous dunk by Gabe Olaseni. He looked much improved and by the time B1G season rolls around, him and Woodbury are going to be one of the best center combinations in the league.
We didn’t stay around long enough the first night, with a tired preschooler, to meet the players the first night, but decided we’d try to get there early and stay late on Saturday evening, and weren’t disappointed. On the second night, we were able to get seats near the Iowa bench, which was awesome, and my husband and son were able to go watch the players warm up. Special shout out to Adam Woodbury and Anthony Clemmons who made my son’s day by giving him knuckles during warm ups, and Coach Fran for taking pictures with him before the game! All the players and coaches were great, let us know that they would be back after the game to take pictures and meet our family and we were very appreciative.
The second night, while the team was a Pro B team, they looked more dangerous than the All Star team. They looked younger, faster and a little more like a college team you would see in the states. Our team started out a little slow, and ended the first quarter tied. The second quarter, Iowa pulled away, with great outside shooting, fantastic defense and really produced a lot of turnovers. It was awesome to see Josh Oglesby hitting three’s again, he looks like he’s back in form and I hope that continues into the season. Zach McCabe was hitting a few as well. There were a lot of loose balls, steals, transition and rebounding going the Hawks way, even when the officiating wasn’t.
After the game, Coach approached all the Iowa fans and thanked us all personally for our support. After the game, the players took some pictures with us, played a little with my son and he even got to pose with Aaron White and sit on Adam Woodbury’s shoulders. He was in heaven with all his Hawkeye heroes.
Some general thoughts about this team – they are going to be fun to watch this fall/winter!
1. Peter Jok – He has so much talent, but you could tell he was an incoming freshman with only a few practices under his belt. He seemed slow, and sometimes lost, during the called plays, defenses, and out of bounds plays. He has a beautiful shot and I think he will be a really special player.
2. Jared Uthoff – He seems a little undersized, to bang in the B1G at this point. I wanted to feed him something, he looked too skinny to me. But, he has a great shot, hustles, played good defense and I think as others have said, once he finds his niche with the team, he will be a huge asset.
3. Gabe Olaseni – OMG he has improved. I know Coach Fran has said this in practice, but you can see it on the court. He’s bigger, stronger and developing into a real offensive threat. Look for him to keep developing this fall and watch out!
4. This team can go 10 to 11 deep. We saw them make an entire line change multiple times throughout the game and that is a rarity in college basketball. They will be able to push the tempo, ride the hot hand and score in so many ways, this team is going places!
5. Kyle Meyer – I was surprised he didn’t get much playing time, since he is a scholarship player. Not sure what is up with that, but something to watch as the season progresses. Maybe he won’t be a fit. He is a big body for a 4 that we are missing some, so maybe he’ll end up having a specific role to pound with the big power forwards. That is still yet to be seen.
Overall, a great experience in Europe, this just makes me even more excited about the upcoming season.