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Hello Jerry Mailbag: Goons, Bluder’s Bunch and Expectations

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The new year is here and I have things to say.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Holy balls it happened... I’m not only answering a legit Pete’s Sake question, but I’m answering it first:

Q: Speaking of basketball and fouls, where is Zach McCabe these days? And does he have a younger brother who is also marginally talented but willing to be our goon? It’s time to make some fouls count.

— Pete’s Sake

Hello Jerry: New year, new us buddy. Welcome to 2018!

As far as Zach McCabe, the last I heard of him he was playing guitar around Iowa City and singing Justin Timberlake covers:

JK, JK. I will say though, that almost kinda looks like the frat-boy, Keystone-light version of him doesn’t it?

Regardless, the last I heard from McCabe (outside of the punch-and-kiss situation) he was grad-assisting at Briar Cliff University and mulling over his basketball playing past:

“It just wasn’t for me anymore,” said McCabe I didn’t really have the passion to play anymore, just didn’t have the competitive drive in me. It didn’t make me happy, and I was just trying to find something that could get over the things that had happened and move on.”

McCabe started working at an insurance company in Des Moines, but he still wasn’t happy. That is, until a friend told him about a brand new opportunity at Briar Cliff.

”We didn’t know until May that we were even going to get a graduate assistant,” said Briar Cliff varsity head coach Nic Nelson

NOW? Well, I dug around a little bit and found what looks to be his LinkedIn page — it’s simpatico with the story above, so I’m pretty confident it’s him despite having an egg for an avatar — and it says he has since moved on from his career as a JV coach at Briar Cliff and is now working freaky fast at the Sioux City Jimmy John’s as a Marketing Coordinator.

I sincerely hope he brings those goon-like huevos to Jimmy Johns marketing team. That’s the type of intensity I expect from JJ. Also, if you’re out there reading McCabe, I’d love to source a “Free Smells” neon light. Hook a fellow classmate up.

Regardless, I think you have a greater point here Pete. Iowa needs a McCabe on this team. Do you think he would’ve been ok with what the hell happened against Maryland the other night? Absolutely not. Hell, if McCabe still watches Iowa hoops, he probably set a hard screen on his TV just because it comes second nature to him in situations like that.

I know I’ve seen BoilerHawk mention it on the Twitters before, but wouldn’t it be nice if Cordell Pemsl had a little McCabe in him? He has the frame to “make his fouls count” like McCabe did before.

Either way, like I mentioned in my solicitation yesterday, I hope that McCaffery’s, er, performance the other night lit a fuse in some of these guys. I hope some of them got pissed off like Patrick McCaffery and Jordan Bohannon did. This isn’t driveway basketball with your Uncle Jim. This is Big Ten hoops. There isn’t anyone out there (especially not the officials anymore this year) that are going to help you. So help yourselves. Do it for the guy next to you. Do it for your coach and his beat red face.

Q: What’s the percentage chance you’d place on Ahmad Wagner playing football next year? Follow-up questions: if he plays, is he our leading receiver? If he doesn’t play next year, does he stick around for the plus one year rule? How many questions will you answer in a row?

— IACityHawk

Hello Jerry: 5%. No. No. 18 (your short).

Q: How happy are you that we are officially a Women’s Basketball school? The Bluder Bunch have quite the season going! Also, how awesome of a player is Megan Gustafson? I feel like we don’t talk about their awesomeness enough on these interwebz.

AND (I could only pick two, buddy)

Q: If the Men’s team were to run the table the rest of the season, what would that change about your current perception of the team and the coaching staff?

— EnergizerHawk

Hello Jerry: First of all, I’m ecstatic that The Bluder Bunch is on the minds of people around campus. They are currently ranked No. 18 in the AP with a 15-2 record (with their only losses coming by one point against #13 Florida State and at #11 Maryland).

The Iowa women’s team is doing so well, that they were being mentioned (granted, before the blowout) as THE team that could unseat Maryland from the top of the Big Ten.

I know it’s a graveyard at the men’s games and some of you are really pissed off with the brand of basketball being played at Carver Hawkeyes Arena. I don’t blame you. But if you are on campus and haven’t gone out to support this team, I IMPLORE you to do so. The brand of basketball is fun. Bluder offers just as much excitement on the sidelines as her counterpart. Megan Gustafson — who is seventh in the nation with 22.7 points per game — is the best basketball player Iowa has right now (she’s shooting 68% from the field this year; up nearly 5% from her career average), scoring over 20-points in five of her last six games (34 at Illinois!).

BEST. HOOPER. IN. IOWA. CITY.

Please go support this team. Do it for me. Do it for a team that is nationally recognized as one of the best. Do it for Bluder who continues to build winner after winner.

In terms of the men winning out, my perception would remain the same. There are things that need to be changed. By them winning out, does that mean they are fixed? We all would have to see. Did that run stem from a defensive presence that we haven’t seen under McCaffery before? Did it stem from McCaffery shrinking his rotations? Did it stem from the coaching staff bailing out their team when the opposition goes on a 8-0 run? Did it stem from a cohesive motion offense that worked the ball around the floor for the best shot for the team? Did it stem from a greater will to do the little things that matter so much in basketball? Or did it stem from a rule change that allows McCaffery to search the campus for a point guard that could gut a defense all on his own when the Hawkeyes desperately need a bucket?

My perception for the rest of the season lies directly on the effort displayed by the coaching staff and players to get better at the things that are glaringly wrong right now. I don’t need them to win out to prove that necessaritly. What I do need is to see a noticeable change. To see that these guys give more shits than they did when the season was still fresh and expectations were set on bringing home a Big Ten Championship.