So now we know.
Is burning Lee’s redshirt the right decision? I don’t know. On one hand, it makes sense. Iowa kind of needs a ‘flash in the pan’ moment to get things really going for the program, but I always thought that a team breakout next season was more likely.
But Brands and Co. decided to get Lee going a little earlier and after a promising performance at Midlands... well, now this season gets interesting. I’m curious how much input Lee had into him getting to wrestle this season.
The team, overall, will likely be stronger next year and in a better position for a team national title. Instead, Brands is kind of saying, ‘f*** it, let’s just do this thing now.’
Here’s the probables from this weeks wrestling notes:
Right now it seems like Iowa has three, maybe four chances at a national champion: Brandon Sorensen (duh), Michael Kemerer (obvi), Sam Stoll (outside, but there), and Alex Marinelli (somewhat unknown as to what all he can do).
Even with some of those guys, a third place — or, heck, even just placing at all — would be just fine. Adding Spencer Lee into this mix gives Iowa another bullet in the revolver.
If his quick tour of the Midlands was any indication, Lee is more than ready to scrap with the best. Now whether or not he’ll win anything of note remains very much to be scene, but things are sort of shaping up to make things at least a little interesting at the Big Ten Championship and maybe even the NCAAs down the road.
Obviously it’s no good to get too far ahead of ourselves, but adding Lee to the mix is an interesting declaration from Tom Brands. Iowa’s arming itself now and everyone’s been warned.
It still kind of puzzles me that if Brands was going to take his redshirt off, why wait until after Midlands? I guess the logical explanations of ‘well, he was still recovering from his surgery’ or ‘we wanted to see what he looked like at a major tournament’ or even ‘if he gets injured again, we can apply for a medical redshirt waiver’ apply here, but it’s still going to put Lee a little bit behind I think.
Not that he’ll need much to get into the groove, but it’s just something to watch.