Happy Monday Hawkeye fans. Here’s hoping the weather wherever today finds you is as good as we’ve seen the last week or so around Iowa City. The University of Iowa has officially closed out the spring semester and the town is rounding into summer form just as the weather heats up. The Hawkeyes don’t host a big official visit weekend for another month, but it would have been hard to resist committing if you were in town this past weekend.
As we march toward Memorial Day weekend and the official kickoff to summer, there seems to be no better time to soak it all up and kick back with a cold one (if you’re so inclined). And that’s where we pick things up this week.
There are a few iconic lines every Hawkeye football fan likely knows. If they don’t, they probably should.
“I can speak confidently and positively that the players of this country would much more, much rather struggle and fight to win a Heisman award than a Croix de Guerre.”
“In heaven, there is no beer!”
“Is this Heaven?” “No, It’s Iowa.”
Those last two came together this week as the Swarm collective announced a new partnership with Exile Brewing for the production of the Swarm Golden Ale - a new beer for Hawkeye fans that will help benefit the student athletes performing for Iowa.
The Swarm Collective proudly announces our partnership with Des Moines based @ExileBrewingCo. Exile will create custom SWARM Golden Ale with 20% of profits going directly to @iowaswarm.— SWARM (@IowaSwarm) May 16, 2023
: https://t.co/9PkkJXZpnp#SWARM | #iowahawkeyes pic.twitter.com/jXW6myq4u9
Here’s a bit more detail on the announcement from the press release provided by Swarm and Exile:
The Swarm Collective and Exile Brewing Company embark on a unique partnership to launch the custom brewed “SWARM Golden Ale,” where 20% of the revenue from sales will be donated to The Swarm Collective.
“NIL has created a new landscape for college athletics, and this is a unique opportunity to generate passive revenues for the Swarm Collective.” Brad Heinrichs, CEO of Iowa Swarm. “We hope that Iowa fans will pridefully consume this beverage knowing that they are also assisting the efforts of the Swarm.”
The custom-brewed Swarm Golden Ale will be easy-drinking, well balanced, clean, and tailgate ready. It will be available on store shelves in late July, just in time for the Hawkeyes to SWARM the field and court this fall.
“This type of partnership is why we entered the craft beer business over a decade ago.” Said Rj Tursi, Founder of Exile Brewing Company. “It’s innovative, it’s collaborative, it will help to cultivate a thriving community for the Iowa fan base, and the product will certainly enhance great times of cheering on the Hawks. We are honored to be a part of it and thrilled to contribute to the future success of Iowa student-athletes on the field and on the court. Go Hawks!”
Swarm Golden Ale will be available for fans to purchase in retail stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, and the taproom at Exile Brewery in Des Moines.
It’s worth noting the difference between the headline and the release. The header states 20% of profits will go toward the Swarm collective to be distributed to athletes but the release states it is 20% of revenues. Swarm CEO Brad Heinrichs has clarified in multiple places since the announcement that it is in fact 20% of the retail sales which will be contributed to Swarm.
Exile founder RJ Tursi indicated that could become a very meaningful donation if Hawkeye fans like what’s brewing. The brewery’s top selling beer, Ruthie, is perhaps the closest comp in terms of style and taste and Tursi indicated if Swarm Golden Ale gets into the same neighborhood in terms of annual sales, that would translate to more than $100,000 in annual donations to the collective, which would clearly be a major impact for Kirk Ferentz, Fran McCaffery and Lisa Bluder as they try to attract top players both from the prep ranks and the portal.
It’s Iowa, not heaven, but this partnership is a match made in heaven. And that should suit Hawkeye fans just fine. In heaven, there is no beer. That’s why we drink it here. And now you can help the Hawkeyes attract top prospects by doing nothing more than picking up some new Swarm Golden Ale. It’s expected to hit shelves across the state in July.
QB1 And the Boys Go to Cali
Speaking of the Swarm collective and attracting top athletes, it’s no secret Iowa’s new starting quarterback and two of his top weapons (TE Erick All and WR Kaleb Brown) would not be here if not for the collective. Now Swarm is doing a bit more to make sure the Hawkeyes offense gets started off on the right foot in 2023.
Cade McNamara, who was able to participate in spring practice but was held out of live periods to avoid injury, took a trip to California last week to work with his trainer, Jordan Palmer. But McNamara saw an opportunity with that trip and seized upon it. If you’re going to be doing drills and workouts and throwing to guys, why not have it be your guys? That was the thought process when QB1 asked the Swarm to help get the entire WR and TE groups from the Hawkeyes to southern California by his side.
The collective did just that, covering the cost for the whole gang to get to and stay in SoCal to get a week’s worth of route running and timing in with the new starting QB. The group of 18-22 year old young men no doubt had their fair share of good times while staying under one roof on the beach, but the added reps and teambuilding could lay the groundwork needed for that core to enter fall camp on solid footing after getting no real work together in the spring.
It’s no secret the Iowa offense needs massive improvements for the Hawkeyes to be at the level of team success they want (and for Brian Ferentz to save his job). Here’s hoping we’re on track to see those improvements thanks to McNamara and his host of new weapons at tight end and receiver.
NBA Combine Recap
If you’re an NBA fan or frankly just a casual sports fan, you likely know the NBA playoffs have been a bit of a snooze fest. The conference finals in particular have done nothing to grow the game to new audiences as both the East and the West are currently 3-0 series with a Finals showdown featuring the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat now all but a certainty.
With the playoffs a bit of a bust, the NBA Draft created a bit of additional excitement last week as the draft lottery was held on Tuesday evening. Here’s a quick look at how things shook out in terms of pick order:
1. San Antonio
11. Orlando (from Chicago)
12. Oklahoma City
14. New Orleans
16. Utah (from Minnesota)
17. Los Angeles Lakers
19. Golden State
20. Houston (from LA Clippers)
21. Brooklyn (from Phoenix)
23. Portland (from New York)
26. Indiana (from Cleveland)
27. Charlotte (from Denver via New York and Oklahoma City)
28. Utah (from Philadelphia via Brooklyn)
29. Indiana (from Boston)
30. LA Clippers (from Milwaukee via Houston)
It’s not a major development for Hawkeye fans (unless of course you’re a fan of one of those top few teams), but it’s worth noting there has been at least some impact on mock drafts as it relates to Kris Murray.
The former Hawkeye partook in the combine last week and measured in at 6’7.75” and 212.8 pounds with a 6’11.75” wingspan. He posted a standing reach of 8’10” with 8.5” long hands that were 9” wide. You can view the full listing of measurements here for some context.
While Murray was measured and interviewed, he did not participate in the combine games and instead worked out separately with his agency, Priority Sports.
Post-combine, Murray still projects somewhere in the middle of the upcoming draft. One of the highest potential landing spots is now at 14th overall to the New Orleans Pelicans. That’s where Kyle Boone of CBS Sports projects him in their latest mock.
Murray had a breakout season for Iowa averaging north of 20 points per game while showing off range as a 3-point shooter. He’s a combo forward who brings versatility, polish and size, all assets for a team looking to surround Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram with weapons.
Interestingly, Boone’s coworker at CBS, Gary Parrish, has Murray going 18th to the Miami Heat while Adam Finkelstein has him going 19th to the Golden State Warriors.
Over at NBC Sports, Tyler Byrum and Chase Hughes have Murray falling a bit further to 23rd overall to the Portland Trailblazers
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murray is a very similar player to his twin brother, Keegan, who also played at Iowa and made a significant impact right away for the Kings. Kris is also a gifted scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker who is a particularly effective offensive player due to his size, speed and shooting touch. Kris, however, is not expected to be picked as high as Keegan largely because he didn’t score with the same efficiency. But all the talent seems to be there for a potential draft steal. - CH
While that’s a bit of a slip, ESPN has him falling even further. However, I think most Hawkeye fans agree this slip would be a lot of fun to follow. Jonathan Givony has Murray going 24th overall to.... the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings hit a home run with Keegan Murray in the draft last year and could look to add wing depth to their roster with his twin brother, Kris, who looks well-suited to play a complementary role with his floor-spacing ability and defensive versatility.
That would be a heck of a ride and the Kings might well become the most popular team in the state of Iowa. But wherever he goes, it’s a ton of fun to be looking at NBA mock drafts this time of year and have some vested interest as Hawkeye fans. It’s been a while since that was the case and it’s now becoming a regular occurrence. Let’s hope that continues.