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Player Debrief: Jordan Bohannon

A trip down memory lane

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Player Debrief will be my look at each player on the Iowa roster, what they did over the season, things to look for next year, and my general observations from a couch in Denver.

Prior debriefs:

Player Debrief: Keegan Murray

Jordan Bohannon finally exhausted his eligibility with Iowa in March. He began his career in November of 2016. If that feels like a long time, that’s because it is! His career spanned the end of one presidential administration, the entirety of an administration’s first term, and nearly half of a third administration’s first term. YO.

The guy did the following at the University of Iowa:

  • Over 2,000 career points. Only three players have done that at the University of Iowa - Luka Garza, Roy Marble, and Jordan Bohannon.
  • Career leader in assists at 704. He put considerable distance between himself and Iowa’s #2 in assists, Jeff Horner. 704 assists ranks 7th all-time in the Big Ten (I think; the Big Ten record book lists Cassius Winston twice, which is really damn impressive.)
  • All-time made 3-point leader, for Iowa and the Big Ten (455).
  • All-time attempted 3-point leader, for Iowa and the Big Ten (1,147).
  • 455 made 3s, just two short of JJ Reddick and the Power 6 record.
  • 179 games played, an NCAA record.
  • 10 made 3s in a game, at Maryland this year, setting a single-game school record and missing the Big Ten mark by just one (Bryn Forbes vs. Rutgers in 2016).

I understand some people grew tired of Bohannon. He was ultimately a limited player - at just 6-1, opponents could shoot over him with ease and could also bully ball him if they wanted to, he didn’t always put in max effort defensively (until the very, very back end of his career), and some of his shot selection was, shall we say, curious - and he wore people out with his social media presence and his constant sparring with the NCAA. Self-awareness was...lacking. That’s fair, right? So I get it. But this dude had an awesome career - please go back and take a look at those bullet points - so let’s use this space to remember some of the daggers he tossed throughout his career.

At Notre Dame, November 29, 2016

Let’s go in the way back machine, to Bohannon’s 7th game in an Iowa jersey. The first six games of his career saw a slow start and a possible miss in recruiting, as Bohannon scored 31 total points while shooting 8-27 from 3 as Iowa struggled to a 3-3 start with losses to Seton Hall, Virginia, and Memphis. It shaped up to be a long season with Peter Jok and a bunch of other guys that weren’t ready for the stage. Coming off the UVA-Memphis swing in which the Hawks was blown out by the Cavaliers then gave up 100 to Memphis, Iowa then headed to South Bend to face a Notre Dame team that spent most of the season in the top 25 and finished 14th in the final poll. A blowout seemed imminent.

Iowa immediately fell behind and trailed by double-digits before Bohannon had his first big outburst. He led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 23 points while going 7-15 from 3. Yes, the game finished as a 14-point Notre Dame win, but Iowa was in this game when they shouldn’t have been and it was mostly due to Bohannon’s shooting (Cordell Pemsl was great in this game too). Bohannon turned heads immediately and from there, it was off to the races.

At Maryland, every time he played there

I noted this in the Mt. Bohannon Erupts segment of my Top 10 - Maryland really has to change the Xfinity Center to the Bohannon Center, because he owns that gym.

The first visit to the Xfinity Center was February 25, 2017. After his first outburst at Notre Dame, the rest of Bohannon’s first season was fairly ho-hum - 6-12 from 3 in the loss to Omaha, then a 2-5 here (UNI), a 3-5 there (Michigan), a nice run in late January, early February against Ohio State, Rutgers and Nebraska (4-10, 5-7, 4-6 respectively, all Iowa wins). He was decent offensively, stretching the floor and creating space for Peter Jok, but nothing earth-shattering beyond not being a recruiting bust. If anything, it was some of his assist numbers that were catching my attention - that Notre Dame game also featured 7 assists, and he ended the year with 3-straight double-doubles (24-10 vs. Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament, 19-11 against South Dakota in the NIT, and 25-13 against TCU in the NIT).

Iowa was trying desperately to get into the tournament at this point and needed some late wins. After a hard-fought win over Indiana in Carver, Bohannon began his domination of Maryland with a blistering 8-10 from 3 on his way to 24 points in a crucial Iowa win, 83-69. He followed that with a 5-10 showing on January 7, 2018, then a 6-9 on January 7, 2021. His final act was the best, the 10-16 demolition from Bohannon in a game where Iowa’s offensive rating was 152.8.

At Wisconsin, March 2, 2017

Immediately after Bohannon’s first Maryland outburst and Iowa starting to feel itself a little, Bohannon went to the Kohl Center where his brothers, Jason and Zach, wore Badger red. Jason was a Big Ten regular season and tournament champion and the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2007-2008, as well as a recruiting lightning rod that chose to leave the state as opposed to play for his dad’s alma mater, while Zach was on the 2014 Wisconsin Final Four team. Bohannon was famously not recruited by Wisconsin despite the connections, and while he professed a love for the Badgers growing up prior to this year’s game, he stated he always wanted to go to Iowa.

What happened was one of my favorite Iowa memories. It was a typical Wisconsin rock fight game, but Iowa hung around and hung around before this happened:

An unforgettable night. Some great surrender cobras from the courtside Wisconsin fans. I watched this game at Pub on Pearl in Denver. I live near that bar so it’s my go-to Iowa spot for football and basketball. By this time, I’d been a regular there for 7 years and the staff knew our group well enough that they treated us to free shots after Iowa won. Fortunately the bar was close enough for me to walk home.

Indiana in Assembly Hall to Indiana in Carver, February 7, 2019 to February 22, 2019

This was maybe the best stretch of Bohannon’s career, a legitimately insane five-game stretch. This was the grueling 15-day run that was terrible for anyone with heart issues, as Iowa won games by 5, 1, 2, lost by 1, and then won by 6 in overtime to finish the run before, uh, well, Fran got mad and things went sideways for a couple of weeks leading into the Tournament.

The first game in the sequence featured a 25 point, 6 assist, 0 turnover showing from Bohannon, a chef’s kiss of a game in Assembly Hall in which he scored the last 11 points for Iowa in the final 1:34, including these shots. Sorry, not sorry Indiana fans.

Iowa returned home for a game on a sleepy Sunday evening against Northwestern. We’ve seen that before - Iowa’s in a sleepy gym, home or away, and they struggle. Often, they lose those games (at Penn State is a frequent venue for this scenario). That’s almost precisely what was happening in this game. After trading early baskets, Iowa fell behind 17-16 at the 11:50 mark of the first half. They trailed by as much as 15 with 4:30 left, and trailed by 12 with 2:54 remaining. Iowa then ended the game on an 18-5 run, with Bohannon scoring 11 of those points. Iowa finally regained the lead with 1 second left on this shot.

The next game was the incredible Joe Wieskamp banked 3 to win at Rutgers. Bohannon was again excellent in this game, going for 18 points and 5 assists on 3-7 3-point shooting. While Bohannon didn’t make the game-winner, let’s drop that here. Why not?

(A lot of our favorite Rutgers players are in that box score - Geo Baker, George Omoruyi, Ron Harper, Jr., and Caleb McConnell)

In the lone loss in the stretch, Bohannon had a shot to beat Maryland at the end after a Bruno Fernando tip-in gave Maryland the lead, but the shot was just short and Isaiah Moss’s rushed putback attempt also missed, kicking out off the back iron.

The Maryland loss was just a blip however, as Bohannon was back to his best. Iowa was in a back-and-forth game with the Hoosiers and it was Bohannon’s 3 at the end of regulation that propelled Iowa into overtime. In overtime, Bohannon then erupted for 3 3-pointers, finally breaking the Hoosiers in a 76-70 thriller. At this point, Indiana was ready for Bohannon’s eligibility to expire. Again - sorry, not sorry. This captures both of the games from that season. Daggers with bayonets on them, attached to a sword.

Vs. Indiana, Big Ten Tournament Semi-Final, March 12, 2022

Bohannon had other great outings - his 2020-21 season had featured a 7-16 3-point barrage against North Carolina, 6-9 against Northwestern, 6-9 game at Maryland, 8-12 vs. Nebraska, then the 6-9 at Virginia this year. But this will be the one shot we’ll always remember, which I laid out in my Top 10.

What to look for next year

Nothing. Fare thee well, Jordan Bohannon!