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Iowa Basketball: The Pants Picks All-Time Teams

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If you could select a starting five of all-time Hawkeyes, who would make your short list?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Michigan State
Would Luka Garza make your all-time Iowa roster? Probably.
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Last week on SpoCo Radio, the guys posed a hypothetical: you get $15 to build your all-time Iowa Hawkeyes starting five. Here’s the price for some notable former Hawks:

After further evaluation, there were some noted notables missing from the list. Such is life when you have a strong basketball tradition. So, in an effort to right some wrongs (don’t worry, there will be more wrongs to be righted), we made some tweaks to the rules and put the question to the full staff.

The twist this time around is you get $20 rather than $15 but instead of a starting five, you also need a sixth man. Here’s a look at the updated options and prices:

PG - $5 Ronnie Lester, $4 BJ Armstrong, $3 Andre Woolridge, $2 Jeff Horner, $1 Jordan Bohannon

SG - $5 Fred Brown, $4 Kevin Gamble, $3 Adam Haluska, $2 Peter Jok, $1 Roy Devyn Marble

SF - $5 Roy Marble, $4 John Johnson, $3 Ricky Davis, $2 Jarrod Uthoff, $1 Matt Gatens

PF - $5 Greg Stokes, $4 Reggie Evans, $3 Aaron White, $2 Ryan Bowen, $1 Tyler Cook

C - $5 Luka Garza, $4 Don Nelson, $3 Acie Earl, $2 Greg Brunner, $1 Adam Woodbury

Utility Man - $5 Luke Recker, $4 Jess Settles, $3 Chris Street, $2 Ed Horton, $1 Dean Oliver

Positions are more a guideline than a hard and fast rule.

So, who are we taking? Here’s a look at our staff’s rosters.

As a reminder, here’s who the SpoCo crew took last week, adjusted for the new tweaks:

Jerry:

PG - Ronnie Lester

SG - Devyn Marble

SF - Jarrod Uthoff

PF - Tyler Cook

C - Luka Garza

6th Man - Jess Settles

DC:

PG - BJ Armstrong

SG - Peter Jok

SF - Jarrod Uthoff

PF - Aaron White

C - Luka Garza

6th Man - Chris Street

Champ:

PG - BJ Armstrong

SG - Peter Jok

SF - Jarrod Uthoff

PF - Tyler Cook

C - Luka Garza

6th Man - Luke Recker

On to the writers.


JPinIC: To me, if we learned nothing from this past season it should have been that team chemistry has about as much to do with success as the individual pieces. While this year’s group lost very good players in Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss, it was clearly better. The offense had its focal point and flowed through the best player in the country, Luka Garza. Around him were role players who, when playing to their potential, made the offense nearly unstoppable.

So if I’m building my all-time team, I’m doing it the same way. I’m dropping that $5 on Luka Garza and laughing all the way to the bank. But then I’m surrounding him with some combination of rebounders, shooters and distributors who can play some defense.

That starts with $4 on Reggie Evans. There’s nobody working harder on the boards and more chances means more points. And on the other end, Reggie is a solid defender who is going to limit second chances for opponents. One of Iowa’s big buggaboos this year was the ability to get back to the offensive end. The team was lethal with the ball, but often would play great defense for a minute plus only to give up points on their opponent’s third chance. Can’t have that.

From there, I need an outside threat. At $1, Jordan Bohannon is too cheap for me to pass up. There’s plenty of talk of decency bias, but the guy is the all-time leader in 3-point shooting at Iowa and he may well leave as the Big Ten’s all-time leader. I can get that for $1 to put outside with the best big man in the post and a junkyard dog like Evans who can get him more second chance looks? Yes please.

Three players down, three to go and I’m out half my money. So now I’m going to look for some flexibility since I got some of that from Bohannon, who could easily slide to the 2. I like Roy Devyn Marble to match with JoBo as a guy who is interchangeable in the guard spots. He can defend three positions and adds some serious length and outside shooting without being a defensive liability. Plus he’s another bargain bin guy that’s going to leave me with some change to spend on my last two picks.

And I’m going to need it, because I’m going on an ‘80s shopping spree. Who better to pair with Dev Marble than his old man and Iowa’s all-time leading scorer? I know I started down this path of not needing scorers around Luka, and that’s true, but your getting chemistry on a father-son combo and an insane amount of athleticism. Get out there and just take a look at any highlights from ‘87-’89 and you’ve got no qualms forking up your $5 for a guy who was comped to Michael Jordan as a prospect. He could slash, he could penetrate, he could shoot and he could defend. Add to that more position flexibility as a guy who can play SF or SG and I’m thrilled to give away my money.

And finally, with $4 left, I’m pairing Marble with his former teammate and a guy who played with both him and MJ - BJ Armstrong. Keep the chemistry theme going, but I also add some quickness to the backcourt to counter my shooter in Bohannon and a longer guard in Dev Marble. He’s a tremendous distributor to feed the likes of Garza and Marble the elder, but he can also score. Armstrong averaged more than 18 points per game as a senior and was a 44% shooter from beyond the arc in his college career.

So to recap:

PG - BJ Armstrong ($4)

SG - Dev Marble ($1)

SF - Roy Marble ($5)

PF - Reggie Evans ($4)

C - Luka Garza ($5)

6th Man - Jordan Bohannon ($1)

Doug: My roster starts with the two most prolific scorers in Hawkeye history in Luka Garza ($5) and John Johnson ($4). This duo holds the top two spots in most points in a season in the Iowa record book and if Garza comes back next year it will be the top three. Our team needs a way to get them the ball and that is the playmaker/scorer Andre Woolridge ($3), potentially the best bargain on this list. Wooldridge is second, third, and fifth on total assists in a season and as a bonus has the fifth most points scored in a season as well.

So while the team has so many scoring threats, let’s find a way to create some spacing and get a shooter that can hit from anywhere in Adam Haluska ($3) and a bruiser down low that can do the dirty work including rebound the few misses this squad will have in Chris Street ($3). Finally we need a bench guy that is comfortable with any role from bringing the ball up court to fighting down low, we have that in Ryan Bowen ($2).

This is an incredible squad without any weaknesses. We can spot up and shoot from deep, drive and score, drive and dish, or use our size inside. Whatever your team’s weakness is, we have something specifically for you!

PG Andre Woolridge $3

SG Adam Haluska $3

SF John Johnson $4

PF Chris Street $3

C Luka Garza ($5)

Bench Ryan Bowen ($2)

tnels20: I’m building a team for the modern game that puts a priority on outside shooting, length/defensive versatility, and a playmaker off the bounce. I have to start my team with the guy many would consider the best to ever wear an Iowa uniform, Ronnie Lester ($5). Prior to his knee injuries, he was unstoppable as a penetrator. At 6’2”, he has the size to finish in the paint and also the length to defend a variety of players on the other end. The other focal point of my team is Luka Garza ($5). The consensus All-American and NPOY works perfectly with Lester and could both stretch the floor while also giving a consistent post-up threat. A Lester/Gara pick-and-pop would be nearly impossible to guard.

Now that I’ve got my centerpieces, I’m surrounding them with shooting and versatility defensively. Next guy off my board is Matt Gatens ($1). Really, I can’t believe I’m getting a two-way player like Gatens for that price. Gatens was a do-it-all player for Iowa who could really stroke it. He was 40+% from 3 twice and 85+% free throw shooter three times. Add in a guy who can defend 3 positions and you add a really nice piece.

The next two starters are Ryan Bowen ($2) and Adam Haluska ($3). Once again, I get a great shooter in Haluska and more length/athleticism to defend multiple positions. In Bowen, you get one of the most versatile players on the board. Need 12 rebounds, Bowen’s got it. Need to defend 2-5, Bowen can handle it. Want post scoring and a guy who can step out and knock in a 3….you know who to call.

This leaves me with $4, which is perfect because I can go with Jess Settles off the bench. Settles averaged 15+ ppg each of his first 3 years all while grabbing 6-7 rebounds as well. Like Lester, pre-injury Settles was one of the best to ever wear the jersey. Those three seasons he had a 50/35/78 split as a forward. This group of 6 could matchup big or small, all while being devastating offensively.

(Lester, Haluska, Gatens, Bowen, Garza…...bench: Settles)

MattReisener: Point Guard- Andre Woolridge ($3) is the best Iowa point guard I’ve ever seen play for the black and gold. An elite scorer and distributor who averaged an incredible 20 points and six assists per game as a senior, Woolridge earned All-Big Ten honors three times (including two First Team selections) and was an All-American in 1997.

Shooting Guard- As his nickname suggests, “Downtown” Freddie Brown ($5) is an absolute assassin from deep. But the former All-American and future NBA All-Star was a versatile scorer from anywhere on the court and was a +50% career shooter during his time at Iowa. Anyone who dropped 58 points in an NBA game and 45 points in a playoff game (both before the advent of the three-point line) has a place on my team.

Small Forward- As tempting as it was to select John Johnson here, the value of Jarrod Uthoff ($2) is simply too great to ignore. Uthoff was a Consensus All-American as a senior who could guard multiple positions and score from anywhere on the floor. Uthoff’s lethal midrange game and expansive three-point range made him an elite offensive weapon, while his huge wingspan and great team defensive instincts made him a nightmare in the full-court press and an underrated shot blocker, helping him receive Big Ten All-Defense honors. Uthoff is criminally undervalued at $2, and his ability to impact the game with or without the ball in his hands will be a huge asset.

Power Forward- Ryan Bowen ($2) provides rebounding, defense, post scoring, and toughness in spades. Bowen may be the only member of the starting lineup not to have received All-American honors, but he was First Team All-Big Ten as a senior and left Iowa as the program leader in steals and field goal percentage. Surrounded by elite scorers, Bowen’s ability to snag rebounds, shut down opposing big men, and score with efficiency on the block fill a much-needed role on the team.

Center- Luka Garza ($5) not only serves as an elite low-post scorer, capable team defender, and legitimate outside shooting threat, but his toughness and take-no-prisoners attitude will set the tone for the entire squad. With Brown, Wooldridge, and Uthoff on the perimeter and Bowen waiting nearby as a dump-off option, opposing double-teaming Garza would be basically out of the question, allowing Luka to feast on overmatched big men.

6th Man- Chris Street for $3?! Are you kidding me?! Is there any player in program history better suited to serve as the utility man for this lineup? A rangy, athletic forward who can play and guard multiple positions, Street is the type of high-energy, team-first player who would thrive off the bench and would give his coaches a ton of lineup flexibility.

BoilerHawk: In building the roster with some tweaks from Twitter, to me, the question becomes: which 3 $5 players are the highest marginal value over their $4 counterparts. In my view, Ronnie Lester, Luka Garza, and “Downtown” Freddie Brown are those guys. From there, I have to add Chris Street. I don’t think any Hawkeye team can go without his inclusion. Tyler Cook and Matt Gatens become required selections to get to an even $20. Frankly, Gatens at $1 is probably the best value on the board.

PG: Lester ($5)

SG: Brown ($5)

SF: Gatens ($1)

PF: Cook ($1)

C: Garza ($5)

6th: Street ($3)

While my squad lacks shooting 1-5, Brown, Gatens, and the Peacock are all more than capable from deep to enable driving lanes for Lester. Street provides a garbage-man quality to his game and his unending energy provides the spark needed off the bench. If necessary, he’ll close instead of Cook. And while there isn’t a true defensive stopper on this squad (Gatens is closest), they have the GRIT to get a stop when it’s most needed.

Perhaps the biggest concern is that with only one ball, who gets it in crunch time? Parroting tnels, a pick-and-pop with Lester/Garza is the most unstoppable two-man play available in any Hawkeye combination. WIth Brown/Gatens spacing the floor and Street crashing the glass, it becomes even more unstoppable.

Mattcabel:

PG: Armstrong ($4)

SG: Marble ($1)

SF: Uthoff ($2)

PF: White ($3)

C: Garza ($5)

6th: Street ($3)

I made a few changes from my original Twitter lineup but I think the general makeup is the same, with a little more strength (and I came in under budget! How Iowa is that?)

We’re looking at a bunch of all-time Iowa greats on this squad. We’re centered around Garza and Armstrong, for a great inside-out game, and we’re littered with versatile players at every position who can shift as needed. Now, could we face a little congestion below the basket with White and Garza? It’s definitely possible. But I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to have two guys beneath the basket with that much combined playmaking ability. Same with Uthoff and Marble. Two solid shooters who can play up or down.

Convince me otherwise that this wouldn’t be an all-time great Hawkeye squad (if they could figure out how to share the ball and create an assist-focused offense, that is).

Trez:

PG: Dean Oliver ($1)

SG: Peter Jok ($2)

SF: Ricky Davis ($2)

PF: Reggie Evans ($4)

C: Luka Garza ($5)

6th: Aaron White ($3)

I grew up in a wrestling household, so pumpkin-pushing was never my forte. I didn’t start following Iowa bball until the late 90’s, which heavily influenced two of my picks.

My team may not have the scoring out-put as some of the others, but it’s solid up and down the lineup and isn’t afraid to get into a scrap. Plus, these guys can dig in like a tick and play some defense.

PG- Dean Oliver is underrated and largely forgotten amongst the younger generation. He had a complete game and in my opinion, the best PG I have personally seen wear the black and gold. The guy just looked like a pure basketball player.

SG- Jok’s senior season was absolutely beautiful to watch. Us Hawk fans have been spoiled by elite performances over the past five or six seasons. From Marble to White to Uthoff to Jok to Cook and now to Garza. But Jok’s fluidity and ease Jok will always stick with me.

SG- As far as I can recall, I’ve only attended one ball game inside CHA and the only memory I have is of Ricky Davis slashing along the baseline for a reverse dunk. The guy is perhaps the most athletic player to have come through the Hawkeye program and the fact that he had quite a run at the NBA level shows that as well. So what if the guy was a bit of an a-hole and even shot at his own goal in an attempt to record a triple-double… I’ll take the excess baggage for $2.

PF- Reggie Evans was a freak on the glass and right now, that’s what this current Iowa team needs. Rebounding and defense. Evans averaged 11.5 rbs/game in his two years at Iowa and when you met him down low, you knew you were in for a fight. Sometimes I wonder how good Evans would’ve been if he had been on the mat instead.

C- Luka Garza- what more needs to be said at this point? You mix him with Evans under the rim and there isn’t a better duo around.

6th Man- White has only been gone a few years now, but he’s similar to Jok. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the court and could create his own shot. He may not have elite defense, but he has the length to make it an uncomfortable shot for anybody He was one of the funnest players I’ve ever had the privilege to watch.

Everyone can score. Everyone can create their own shot. Everyone can drive and finish. Except for Evans, because he’s there to be the driver-stopper. Just because I was given $20 doesn’t mean I need to spend it all. So I’ll take my $17 and kick all y’alls asses.


So, who has the best roster? We’re asking you to help us find out. In the comments below, rank all ten rosters from 1-10. We’ll be using your voting to seed the rosters and compete in a tournament.

And don’t forget to let us know who you’re taking with your $20!