Well, I sat here last week and told you there was basically nothing going on in Hawkeye sports at this point in the year. Go on home, nothing to see here. Stop back over around August, thanks. And then what happens? Iowa goes and tries to take over the world. Like, literally, everything in the world, Iowa is making a run at it.
Saturday, it was the baseball team closing out a three-game series with UNLV in a doubleheader. In game one of the doubleheader on Saturday, junior first baseman Jake Adams launched his 10th bomb of the year. That makes him the first Hawkeye to hit 10 HRs in a season since 2007. This was on the first day of April. He’s seriously fun to watch.
The Hawkeyes swept the Runnin’ Rebels to take them to 17-9 on the year and 2-1 in the Big Ten after taking a series from our most hated rival last weekend. Between weekend series’, Iowa snatched a W from Grand View on Tuesday.
The series victory this weekend was especially glorious, as the pitching coach for UNLV is none other than Greg Maddux, who was spotted enjoying the friendly confines of Duane Banks Field. As you should recall, Maddux wasn’t just a hell of a pitcher, but also quite the prankster. There have been about a million stories told about him during his playing days, but his most recent work involves a face I’m sure some of you know.
Speaking of the MLB, big boy baseball is back. Yesterday was opening day and things really got started last night. The best team in the world took on the defending World Series Champs (wow, does that feel weird to say or what?) to kick off the 2017 season. As you might expect, the best team (with the best fans - @ me) walked away with the W and the world order seemed to restore itself. But fear not Cubs fans, there’s still 161 games. And there’s always next year.
Note: after the incessant talking I’ve dealt with since last fall, I’m getting my jabs in where I can. I know full well the Chicago Cubs are likely to field a better team in 2017 than the St. Louis Cardinals. And I understand that likely extends well into the future. But you lost last night and I’m taking my opportunity to treat you like the little brother you’ve been the last 100+ years.
In other “natural order of the world” news, Peter Jok destroyed Naz Mitrou-Long of the Iowa State Cyclones, along with everyone else in the field, on his way to the crown of the Great Clips 3-Point Championship at the Final Four in Phoenix last Thursday.
In classic Cyclone fashion, Mitrou-Long decided to make a complete fool of himself by wearing sunglasses. At night. Inside. At a three-point competition. That he was participating in. Luckily, Jok made sure he didn’t participate long.
And while our friend from Ames may have chosen to embarrass himself more by rocking the shades and then falling on his face, ya boy Jok City did not discriminate in his domination. Here’s a look at his performance in the championship round.
Not a bad way to celebrate your 23rd birthday, eh?
Making Thursday night even sweeter was the news Jok received last Tuesday, as he was named an honorable mention on the Associated Press All-America Team. As I said at the outset, the Hawkeyes are making a run at taking over the world, so one All-America honor wouldn’t do for a birthday gift. On Friday, Jok took down another, as he was named a Senior CLASS Award Second Team All-American. The award is only for seniors and isn’t based solely on performance on the basketball court, but also off the court. Congrats and Happy Birthday to Peter Jok.
Jok is technically still a current Hawkeye (I’m running with it until May), but current Hawkeyes are the only ones putting on a show on the hardwood. We told you last week about Jarrod Uthoff getting his second 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks. There was plenty of talk about those short-term deals apparently not being enough to stop the Cedar Rapidian (is that a word?) from surviving on gas station food. That should hopefully come to an end as Uthoff was rewarded for his efforts with what’s being called a multi-year deal. Initial reports were of a rest-of-the-season deal with a team option for next season. Those reports were followed up by reports of a multi-year deal with no details yet provided. Here’s a quick interview with Uthoff on his thoughts.
WATCH: Mavs rookie Jarrod Uthoff talks about signing a multi-year deal with Dallas from morning shoot around in New Orleans. pic.twitter.com/iBbDEs4qSp— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 29, 2017
On the future Hawkeye front, several young guns who will be wearing the black and gold over the next few years have been taking down some nice honors. Here in Iowa, class of 2018 commit Joe Wieskamp of Muscatine was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Iowa. He wasn’t the only recruit to take home that honor. Class of 2017 commit Luka Garza was named POY by Gatorade for the District of Columbia, AKA Washington D.C. We got you a full update on hoops crootin’ last week, but this just looks like more evidence the Hawkeyes are set to dominate the world. In everything.
Hello Jerry and I discussed Fran’s ceiling as a coach at Iowa on Friday and I said I think he’s taking us to the promised land. And soon. Jerry was in agreement. The consensus in our little echo chamber? A Final Four run in the next few years isn’t ridiculous. It’s entirely possible. And while it might seem like we’re overreacting, apparently we’re not alone.
Context: this was in response to people suggesting Jordan Bohannon would follow in Peter Jok’s footsteps and take home a three-point crown in a few years. That, naturally given the sequence of events leading to the win, was followed up by Iowa State fans attempting to troll JoBo by telling him it wouldn’t matter because the Hawkeyes wouldn’t be in the same place as the Cyclones for hoops. I keep saying it, but this kid has stones. The confidence he and this entire freshman class has built throughout the year, and the ice in his veins, is really impressive. It’s one of the reasons I feel good about their future chances of reversing the trend of postseason losses under Fran. The foundation is already laid and the cavalry is coming. There are still a few pieces I’d like to see the staff reel in to make the roster complete, but this group could make a deep NCAA Tournament run in the near future. Again, @ me.
From the hardwood to the gridiron, further evidence Iowa is taking over the world:
The Hawkeyes hosted their annual Pro Day last Monday. Here’s our rundown of the full results, but the TL;DR synopsis is that basically, everyone tore sh*t up. Desmond King ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, which would place him in the middle of the pack for cornerbacks in this draft. His speed has been essentially the only knock on him so the 40 time should go a long way in getting the man paid. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be drafted as a corner or safety, but he’ll be drafted nonetheless. And early. Likely the second or third round at the latest.
But despite the fantastic showing from King, the story of the day was Riley McCarron. The former walk-on turned leading receiver (thanks to injury, but still) stole the show when he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash. That was not a typo. The token slot receiver, who is on the field due to injury and because he can block, naturally ran a lightning-fast 40 after taking the day off from his day job as an accountant.
Yeah, we all saw that coming. Perhaps more surprising to me was that McCarron is apparently not the first Iowa WR with ridiculous speed that nobody ever knew about. Actually, he was the fourth Iowa WR in the last four years to run a sub-4.4 40.
Third year in a row that an Iowa WR has run sub 4.4 at Pro Day— Blair Sanderson (@BlairRIVALS) March 28, 2017
2015 Damond Powell 4.39
2016 Tevaun Smith 4.33
2017 Riley McCarron 4.36
Blair added moments later that Don Shumpert also ran a 4.36 in 2014 to make that four in a row. Most interesting part about that string of guys is the hype that surrounded Powell’s speed and the utter frustration by the fanbase at the staff’s inability to get him the ball. Meanwhile, nobody cared that Don Shumpert never saw the field, Tevaun Smith was considered a damn fine receiver but not exactly a burner, and Riley McCarron wasn’t even good enough for a scholarship. And yet, they all timed out faster than Powell.
There are so many ways to overreact to this, I really don’t know where to begin. On the one hand, I guess it’s pretty obvious McCarron can move forward putting in his 2-weeks notice at his accounting job. With that speed, he’s going to be playing on Sundays. On the other hand, if Iowa has had all this speed on its roster the last four years, why on earth couldn’t former offensive coordinator GDGD do anything with it?
But the way I’m choosing to overreact to this is that this clearly means Iowa’s offense is about to be better. For four straight years, GDGD had a sub-4.4 guy on the roster and couldn’t find a way to stretch the field with him (I’m going to caveat that he as was able to do that to an extent with Smith and go ahead and wait for SMA to rail on me that GD wasn’t the source of the problems - note the title of the post)? Things couldn’t get worse on that front. So the return of KOK, the “new” blood at OC and the complete revamp of the offensive staff couldn’t possibly mean more struggles throwing the ball.
Before you @ me with all the “but we are losing our stud QB to the NFL” talk, please note that Nate Stanley wears a visor. I don’t care what you got, that’s the end of the argument. Mic drop.
Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that Jerminic Smith is running downfield about ten yards behind the nearest defender. This is spring ball, so I’m choosing to believe this is just great offense and not incompetence on the part of the defense. And we are also going to throw out the fact that Smith used exactly zero hands to make the catch. Let’s just embrace the simple fact that in the first few weeks of spring, we’ve seen a brand new QB chucking the rock 30+ yards downfield to a TE streaking up the seam, and at least that far to a WR running free like the high point of the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game, too.
Also of note, Ken O’Keefe is clearly having an early impact on the offense under Brian Ferentz. A quote of note from last week’s presser courtesy of Chad Leistikow:
No joke, here’s the first offensive play I saw around 7:50 a.m.: Quarterback Nathan Stanley fakes a handoff to Toks Akinribade and gives the football to wide receiver Nick Easley for an end-around.
Big Ten defenses take note: the Iowa Hawkeyes are going to stretch you deep like they haven’t for several years. And they are coming to take over the world.
In the final bit of evidence that Iowa is making a run at taking over the world, we got this announcement last week:
Lee will open a second location at 2221 Rochester Ave. in the spring, followed by 30 more locations across Iowa later this year, from Des Moines to Moline.
ICYMI, Lee is the owner of the Hamburg Inn 2 in Iowa City, a local staple with a tradition of attracting every politician who stops by the town, as well as hour+ waits for breakfast by hungover undergrads.
“But JP, that’s just Iowa. There’s no evidence they’re looking to take over the world!” you say.
A team in China is also coordinating to open a location in Shanghai in the next two months.
I’m telling you: Iowa, and anything related to it, is making a move to take over the world.
Speaking of, perhaps you’ve heard, The Pants made some new additions last week. You’ve met most of them by now, but shouts to Hello Jerry, Andy Moran, Matt Cabel, Jordan Hansen, JP Scott, and of course, BoilerHawk on joining the team. We too are looking to take over the world. The new faces have been a welcome addition thus far and the added writers should help keep the content coming and the site a great place to visit every day. Join me in welcoming the new guys.
And finally, to start the week off with some comedic relief, our new friend to the north is going to be a gift that keeps on giving.
You row that boat P.J. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re insane. I mean, you are, and it could cost the University of Minnesota millions, but don’t you listen, brother. We’re all hoping you succeed...at getting the Gophers to shell out millions for additional seating (even though the current setup isn’t full), not at actually winning football games. And please, stop just offering every kid Iowa offers. Arkansas and Wisconsin before them already have that schtick. Just eat your Dilly Bar by yourself in the cold.
Happy Monday. Go Hawks. Let’s take over the world.