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You’ve Got Mail: Hawkeyes in the NFL, Mt. Rushmore of Iowa Hoops and More!

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Taking a stroll down memory lane for both Hawkeye hoops and football.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament-Illinois vs Iowa
One spot on Iowa’s Mt. Rushmore is unquestionable.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday everyone and happy Father’s Day Weekend. Appreciate the comments from the solicitation post earlier this week and hope you all have a tremendous weekend as well, regardless of what those plans may look like.

On that note, we’re going to jump right into those comments and address one that isn’t in fact a question.

Watch your Achilles Tendons!

Having an adult kid who is an athletic trainer, Father-Son workshops in nearly all sports, but especially basketball and soccer, are murder on Achilles tendons, most of those camps get at least one or two blowouts per session. Be Careful!

Posted by KinnickNeighbor

I’m not going to lie, you’ve now got me a bit spooked about this whole endeavor. I’m really hitting that dangerous stage of life where my body just is not what it once was (not that it was ever anything to behold) but my mind isn’t quite ready to accept it.

I’ve seen friends and family go through this in recent years with ACLs, hamstrings and all sorts of other ligament and soft tissue injuries. I’ve been pretty fortunate to avoid such issue with the exception of an ankle sprain sustained pre-COVID while playing in a weekend soccer league.

My worry is that a lot has changed, physically, over the last 15 months or so. When I first started working from home, I was fresh off losing around 15 pounds. I was playing basketball over lunch with similarly aged folks twice a week, running the other three days a week and getting some decent strength training in between.

I’ve heard stories of people using the stay at home period as a time to really ramp up their physical fitness, but that has not been the case for me. I’m up close to 40 lbs from pre-pandemic levels and I tried the whole yogging thing last week as I prepare to re-enter the same soccer league and to say my body isn’t what it was a year ago is the understatement of the pandemic.

I’ve seen what a torn Achilles can do to a person. I worked with a guy right out of school who was always wearing Crocs to work. It mind mind-boggling how he could get away with such a divergence from our corporate dress code. Until he spilt the beans that he had his Achilles blow out several month prior and he needed to keep any and all pressure off his heel.

Then he blew out the other one while still recovering. Said it rolled right up while he was trying to take some stairs, favoring his previously injured leg. He was in a wheelchair when he came back to the office and eventually upgraded to a cane. I ended up leaving the company before he fully recovered.

So yeah, here’s hoping this little endeavor is heavy on the kid activity with father involvement more of the spectating and encouraging variety.

Now, on to the questions.

Two for Two

We got a pair of two-part questions this week, so let’s knock them out together.

Two part question

Which Hawkeye player are you most surprised has or or did stick around in the NFL for awhile?(Mine is Greg Mabin) And the flip side which player are you most surprised didn’t stick?(Abdul Hodge)

Posted by hawk85eye

This is a great question and one I’ve struggled to narrow down. Mabin is an excellent answer as a guy who stuck around better than expected. I think he always got the short end of the stick as the guy opponents had to throw at constantly to avoid Desmond King so as fans we knew him as the weak link when in fact he was pretty solid.

There have been quite a few stories of linemen who made it and I would say Ike Boettger falls into that camp. Looking at his recruiting profile vs. what he turned into is pretty comical, but more than anything with the injuries and stuff I just didn’t think he would really last. He’s doing well in Buffalo.

I think Kittle is probably the best example of a higher profile guy exceeding expectations though. His story is great to tell (with a similarly comical recruiting profile), and his Iowa career was no doubt hampered by injury, but I don’t think many people can honestly say they expected him to become not only one of the top 2-3 tight ends in the NFL, but The People’s Tight End (side note, but Kittle is partnering with a slew of other top tight ends to host Tight End U next week - more to come on that).

As far as guys I thought would last longer, the 2-3 that stand out the most to me are Akrum Wadley, Mitch King and Brad Banks. Wadley and King make some sense in terms of body size, but I really though the former would be able to add some weight and given how dynamic he was at Iowa, I just thought he was going to make it. On King, to see such a dominant player at Iowa get virtually no shot was just shocking, but again I get that he wasn’t exactly prototypical size.

But Banks is the one that will forever haunt me. It’s unreal that a guy with his talent, that gets so close to winning the Heisman, has no NFL career whatsoever. It’s just plain bad luck. If Banks were to play 15 years later, he may well have been a top-10 pick. He could sling it and he could move. He’s exactly what NFL teams have transitioned to wanting and what every Hawkeye QB is going to be compared against until we see that type of player again.

Just a shame he was too early for the league.

Now, far a hard left turn...

Two interrelated questions:

1. When you were student, did you happen to make it around to all the different major buildings on campus?

2. If you missed a few, are there any that you would have wanted to walk through?

I like old buildings, walking through them and checking things out. Seashore was always had interesting things to see. I wish I had had a class in there. One building I never made it to for class or just for a walk through is North Hall.

From the blackhole of the Iowa TV market.

Posted by icardinal

I think I’ve shared this before, but I was actually a transfer student at Iowa. I spent my first two years of college chasing the football dream at a D3 school before giving that up to chase a girl to Iowa City (we’re married so it worked out!).

The long and the short of it is coming in as a 3rd year student with extra credit hours meant I didn’t need to take really any of the liberal arts classes outside my major, which was finance. So in my two years on campus, I think I had a grand total of five classes that were outside the Papajohn Business Building. Two of those were in the Pomerantz Center. The only other buildings I had a class in were Phillips Hall, North Hall and Jessup Hall. Phillips was in the big lecture hall and I didn’t venture anywhere else in the building. Jessup (for those unfamiliar, is the one on the Pentacrest directly behind Macbride Hall, which features the Museum of Natural History) was a cool, old building where I actually was in a classroom setting and kind of enjoyed the old feel of the building. North Hall was overcrowded and for whatever reason did not have the same charm for me as Jessup.

The one building I really wish I could go back in time to see is the IMU pre-flood. I came to Iowa in the fall of 2008, so it was shut down and all the fun stuff that apparently used to be in the basement was gone. It never made it back while I was on campus.

2+2=4

If we already did two questions with two embedded questions each, we might as well move on to a question with four really hard decisions.

Maybe we did this before,

but what/who is your “Iowa Hawkeyes Mens Basketball” Mount Rushmore?

“HOORAY! Let’s hear it for the city of Ames!”

Posted by WaterlooChazz

I’m sure we’ve done this before at some point, but I think it’s an exercise worth redoing after last season. Frankly, it’s probably worth an entire post of its own and because of that (and the fact that we’re closing in on the length of two typical stories on this here site) I’m going to keep this concise and not provide the full rundown on each of these players or their merits.

First and foremost, Luka Garza has to make the cut. There’s no way anyone in their right mind can leave him off. He’s Iowa’s all-time leading scorer and second in rebounds. From an all-around perspective, he’s almost certainly the greatest player in Hawkeye history (and for the “he won’t make it in the league crowd”, have you been following his offseason progress again this year? I’m never betting against that dude).

So for me, I’m going with the guys he passed to get there. That includes John Johnson, who has Iowa’s top two scoring totals in individual games and is second behind only Garza in a single season.

That also includes Iowa’s second all-time leading scorer Roy Marble, who also sits with the third best single season mark. He was an absolute all-star.

That fourth spot is where I get pretty torn. I could make the case for several different guys. Bucky O’Connor led Iowa to two of its three Final Four appearances and did it in back-to-back seasons. What he did during the golden era of the program is remarkable and worth consideration here. Lute Olsen isn’t far behind.

But I think it probably deserves to go to a player. Aaron White has a claim here given his status as third in career points and fourth in career rebounds. Frankly, he probably has the best case. But for me I think it’s Downtown Fred Brown, even if my views there are skewed by his success in the NBA.

This is a great debate and one that we should dive deeper on at some point this summer.

And One

And finally, we close it out with a short and sweet one because I’m a sucker for recruiting talk.

Omaha Biliew

Now that Biliew is heading to prep school, does Iowa have any conceivable chance, or will he strictly be a one-and-done at a blue blood?

Posted by IamSparty

There is no chance Iowa gets him. It’s great he took an unofficial, but the kid is going to follow the money, whether that be to the NBA or to one of the bluebloods still paying players with no repercussion. The move out of Ankeny to Montverde should have solidified that for everyone.


And that’s it for this week. Enjoy the weekend. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!