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Overreaction Monday: What’s Best for Cordell Pemsl?

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Will we see the forward play again this season?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Cordell Pemsl situation had another chapter added to it on Saturday. The Iowa Basketball team announced before its beatdown of the Northern Iowa Panthers at the last iteration of the Big Four classic that Pemsl would not play after his strong performance the prior week against Iowa State.

Pemsl, as we know from Fran McCaffery’s press conference earlier this week, is truly day to day. That fact alone is incredible, considering that the Iowa media had sent out a press release late last month declaring that the junior would be out for the rest of the season to have screws removed from a previous operation. So the fact that he did in fact play and contributed 8 points in 16 minutes of play against the Cyclones is a marvel.

But why go this route if you’re the Iowa basketball program? Why make the announcement at all if him playing was still an option on the table? Pemsl has only played in two games this season, and can play in any or all of Iowa’s remaining games until January 9, when he would have to decide to continue playing for the rest of the season, or sit on the bench in street clothes and get the operation.

McCaffery said in his press conference before the UNI game that he thought Pemsl would be available to play on Saturday night, mentioning that he was participating in limited drills in practice.

Was the press release decision a way for Iowa to cover its bases?

“We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. I could keep feeling better,” Pemsl told the Des Moines Register in an interview. “But there’s always been some days I feel OK. There’s some days I can hardly walk, I’m in so much pain.”

That’s sounds terrible, and also kind of alarming to me. The fact that Iowa is being cautious about his playing and practicing is good. But I’m just baffled that he was allowed to play at all, frankly.

“That’s where I was at for a few weeks and that’s when we came to the decision to get (the plate and screws) out. But then I started to feel OK. It’s frustrating,” Pemsl also told the Register.

I would be more confused if Iowa had burned the redshirt, but given the fact that he can play until early January, having Pemsl as an unexpected X-factor in the Cy-Hawk game was a nice plus. The whole thing is just confounding to me. I have no reason not to trust Iowa’s medical personnel’s ability to determine whether or not Pemsl could play without further damage, and we all watched him play effectively against ISU, but with how quickly his knee can start feeling painful again, it’s a real wonder.

I feel bad for Pemsl. This is a frustrating way to potential miss the rest of the season, feeling healthy enough to play Division I basketball one day, and in enough pain where it’s difficult to walk the next. I hope the situation pans out in a way that’s best for Pemsl’s long term health, and not the success or failure of an Iowa basketball team. The last thing I would want to see is him playing for the rest of the season and risking making the injury worse.

Can everyone else remember seeing something like this happen? I’m no doctor, but it just seems strange to me. Regardless, the situation will be resolved — for the rest of the season at least — in a few weeks. We just have to ride the speculation train until then. But if Pemsl’s going to give playing another go, Iowa’s upcoming slate would be perfect to really test the waters. In the end, only Cordell Pemsl knows what’s best for Cordell Pemsl.


It’s also a big week in the Iowa football world. The team will meet with the media later today in preparation for the Outback Bowl, and Tuesday marks the beginning of the December early signing period for recruits. Now I may be writing this in place of JPinIC, but I have nowhere near the wealth of knowledge he does about recruiting, so I’m barely going to get into it. We’ll have plenty of information on that as Wednesday approaches, so be sure to keep an eye out on the site. Things will move fast, and the Iowa football program is expecting its 16 commits to sign.

That list of 16 will also definitively now include Jestin Jacobs, who re-affirmed his commitment to the Hawkeyes after Ohio State came knocking with some serious interest in the Ohio linebacker. The fact that Kirk Ferentz and his coaching staff were able to keep Jacobs wearing the black and gold when a better suitor came along is really encouraging to me. We’ve seen the other end of that story too many times in the last few years in particular, so getting a win in that department is a really nice feeling.

Make sure to check out our Early Signing Period headquarters for the news as it comes. We’ll be sure to keep the updates flying. Between that and a should-be blowout basketball game on Tuesday, there should be plenty of Hawkeye goodness to fill up the slow pre-holiday work week.

Go Hawks.