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Fran Speaks: Ohio State

Some neat nuggets in this week’s presser

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Your Iowa Hawkeyes have the chance to get yet ANOTHER win over a ranked opponent this evening when the No. 25 Ohio State Buckeyes come to town.

The biggest storylines going into this contest hinge on who isn’t playing for either team: CJ Fredrick might miss his second consecutive game for Iowa (more on him shortly), while DJ Carton isn’t making a return to his home state for the Buckeyes (more on him later).

Some good basketball talk this presser, but some meaty nuggets on NCAA paying players, Kevin Warren and high school basketball as well.

But first, the injuries:

Do you have an update on CJ, how he’s coming?

He is still day-to-day.

Probably not tomorrow, though?

I don’t know, maybe.

On that subject, it seems like you’ve been hesitant to talk about injuries, as a rule. Is that part of a mentality you try to have in the program? In terms of excuse-making, you’ve had a lot of injuries, you could bring that up —

Yeah, you know, we all know who is not available for duty. Will CJ play? I don’t know. We’ll see what he does today. He was walking yesterday. He did a little bit of running. Now you got to see if he can cut. Then you got to determine, can he do that for 40 minutes against a quality opponent like Ohio State? Is it a stretch? It could be. But he could be available to play, but we really won’t make that decision probably until tomorrow at shoot around.

I know I’ve written it before, but I still can’t really wrap my head around the fact Iowa has three starters out—two of whom haven’t seen the court since December. I don’t think the national media has even noticed because Iowa continues to win games. I can’t think of a basketball team ever having such bad injury luck, and still overcoming such adversity. It’s really a credit to this team that no one even really talks about it.

That being said, I’m not optimistic for Fredrick tonight.

I didn’t really see Fran getting asked a question about players profiting off their likeness, but he did:

As the Name and Likeness bill has been at the committee now, what’s your opinion on that, that whole development?

It’s inevitable, so we’ll deal with it when it happens.

Has it evolved? Considering you’ve played, coached —

I don’t think when I was playing you ever thought that this would be even a possibility. But clearly I think most people are in favor of it. I’m in favor of it and support it, and will try to figure it out. It’s going to be difficult to navigate because it’s foreign territory, but we’ll get it figured out, we’ll do the right thing, we’ll do the right thing by the players.

And kind of on that front, it looks like that the waiver thing is good, the one time free pass is going to —

I think that was inevitable too, because everybody that wanted to transfer was asking for a waiver exception, and this guy gets one and this guy doesn’t. Why did he get it, why he didn’t, that didn’t seem to be fair. So I think you either go to everybody gets a transfer exception one time, or nobody in any sport gets a transfer exception. I think you were going to go one of those two ways. That’s what was pretty obvious it was coming.

I’m not surprised Fran has this position, not just because of his sons, but also Jordan Bohannon’s past outspokenness towards the NCAA.

Iowa seems like it could become a desirable destination for potential transfer candidates...

I had no idea Fran and new Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren were teammates at Penn!

One of your former college teammates has done very well for himself. When you look back to your college days, did you see this coming for Kevin Warren?

You could tell that Kevin was going to be incredibly successful. And I’ve said this many times about him. If you ever met his father you would know for sure that his son was going to be successful. Just really a remarkable guy. Kevin was not only really bright, but tremendous personality, a great way with people. And it’s kind of interesting to watch, like, where is he going to end up? Well, he came to Notre Dame and attended law school there, got his law degree from Notre Dame while I was there, so we were teammates. But then we were together again at Notre Dame. His brother-in-law was John Shumate. I replaced John Shumate at Notre Dame. So just really have the utmost respect for him and just a really likeable person. Spent years in the NFL, and did great things with the Vikings. When that decision was made I thought what a great move by our league just continuing to be impressed with the decisions that our league makes with regards to those kind of things. Jim Delany’s — that’s tough shoes to fill, but they got the right guy to do it.

And now a bit on DJ Carton:

Carton, a former 4-star point guard from Bettendorf, stepped away from the Buckeyes on Jan. 30, citing mental health issues. OSU head coach Chris Holtmann was asked if Carton would return to the team, even just to sit on the bench, as they travel to his home state.

Holtmann answered with an emphatic no:

I think there’s a lot that has to happen before that’s even in the conversation, medically and in terms of overall health, That’s not even in consideration...

I would say, as it pertains to him, I’m hopeful that we can get him on a path toward improved health. That’s the only priority. Obviously we’re late in the season, so you can draw your own conclusions on that. It’s late in the year. He’s been away for a while. If and when he returns, when you leave for medical reasons, there’s a lot that goes into being in any way, really even outside of our hands, acclimated back into any type of organized activity.

Holtmann has clarified on multiple occasions Carton remains with the team, and even said something last week about getting him back for the tourney. He has been nothing but supportive (publicly) about Carton’s situation, but it’s sounding less and less like we’ll see Carton suit up for the Buckeyes again this season.