It feels so good to be back sitting in my desk chair and hacking at the keyboard about Iowa Athletics. I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long and left you all with a Monday sized hole to fill after that WONDERFUL Citrus Bowl performance by our favorite football team. I had so many things to say about it, but after three weeks with a newborn baby girl, I’ve forgot every single one of them.
It’s for the better.
But trust me when I tell you that the final knife in my back from both Kirk Ferentz and Brian Ferentz is still festering and starting to itch. But forget football right now... it’s a mess but also can stop being a mess if Kirk just does the right thing and brings in a coordinator that wont double as a Weekend at Bernie’s stunt double.
Rather, today, on my first Monday back in 2024, I want to talk about the true powerhouse program in Iowa City...Bluder’s Bunch; and in particular, the Headband and the GOAT.
I’m still in absolute awe over what I watched from Molly Davis on Saturday night. Perhaps it’s because I’ve had this creeping feeling throughout this season that eventually someone else on the Iowa roster was going to have to take a step closer to greatness and become the Number Two to her Doctor Evil if they wanted to return to the Natty this spring.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say that this team isn’t playing as exactly that - a team - and that there’s not a night in and night out contribution from the squad. There 100% is. Hell, it’s probably one of Lisa Bluder and her coaching staff’s greatest achievements thus far; building and developing the future of this program right along side one of the greatest single performances in basketball history. The young talent continues to takes steps forward and that’s all you can ask for while you routinely blow your competition out of the water and add victory after victory under your belt.
But every Batman needs a Robin.
We are at the point where we know what we’re going to get from CC and we know that her gravity is going to create opportunities for the others to eat as well. But you know as much as I do that once you get to Tournament play, you are going to need a Scottie Pippen to Caitlin’s Jordan.
Last year it was Monika Czinano.
The jury’s still out on who it will be this year.
Or is it now?
I might be overreacting just a smidge (but I would be surprised if I’m wrong), but I think Saturday night’s performance by Molly Davis was her coming out party. I think she took those reigns left behind by Czinano and I’d be stunned if she gives them back. Something was just different about the Headband. Perhaps it was just confidence. Perhaps she finally figured out her place and where she belongs on this team. Perhaps Coach Bluder finally hit the right buttons with her.
Perhaps it was all of the above:
Molly Davis: “Just to like think of where I was at Central Michigan to here now — it kinda chokes me up a little bit talking about it. But it’s really cool just for coach Bluder to give me an opportunity to play at a place like this.” pic.twitter.com/DM9jsRInzn— Tyler Tachman (@Tyler_T15) January 14, 2024
But you could see that she seemingly stopped thinking and just played basketball. As it turns out, when she does that, she’s pretty damn good and extremely entertaining to watch... something you can see from the fanbase and her teammates and especially her coaches alike.
I don’t know what it is about her, but when she plays like that, everyone in that arena beams.
It’s pretty crazy to watch happen live.
And that level of gravitas is exactly what Clark is going to need in a running mate the next few months.
Everything the Headband did on Saturday reminded me of what Manu Ginobili used to do for those championship Spurs teams. The way she would pin her defenders on her hips while mixing in speeds as she cut to the basket before finessing a scoop lay up was so Euro and I can’t stop smiling about it. She made open shots, she took the game over for a period of time when the Hawkeyes needed someone else to step up and with every point scored you could see the confidence materialize in her face.
By the end of that game she needed a second headband just to control her swag.
If you don’t adjust to the head band, the head band adjusts you https://t.co/Q4xV09idG2— Jerry Scherwin (@surewin33) January 14, 2024
I might need to tag Harrison in on this because he’s way more of a brilliant basketball mind than me, but the 2014 Spurs might be the perfect example of what this Iowa Women’s team can be this season... here’s hoping Kim Mulkey is their Miami Heat.
I tweeted this yesterday afternoon, and I’m sure this isn’t the EXACT forum that will get me the answers I’m looking for, but I truly don’t understand the hate that Caitlin Clark is getting. I know there are few things at play that I just don’t care to get into because this is basketball and basketball is a game and games are supposed to be fun and watching the best players in the world play those games is kind of the whole point of watching them in the first place.
But man, how anyone can watch her do THIS and then be like “well she sucks and I actually hate everything she stands for” is so confusing to me:
We’re watching a transcendent basketball player continuously climb the mountain towards higher and higher levels of greatness, what’s not to appreciate?
Not love... I know she won’t be loved by everyone.
But how can we not appreciate this?
Outside of the AI bots that are adding this to their infinite brain, the rest of us are humans. And as humans, we all have dreams and aspirations and hopes that we can find that one thing we’re absolutely GREAT at. That one thing that separates us. That makes us feel complete.
Caitlin’s story and a myriad of other athlete’s stories before hers are all of our stories. Sure, most of us wont ever achieve greatness at that level, but we dream about doing it.
Do you know how many times I’ve dreamt of hitting that exact shot from the Tweet above? No less than a million. I’ve day dreamt about hitting a step back three from the logo since I had a Little Tikes hoop.
Shoot, I’m dreaming about both of my daughters doing that exact thing as I type this.
I get that some opposing fanbases might not LIKE Caitlin Clark when she comes to town and that’s cool. I get that. Ticket sales say otherwise, but I get it. I hated LeBron James for a very long time for nothing more than the fact that he spurned my favorite basketball team.
But damn if I didn’t respect the hell out of him while being in complete awe of his talents as he beat my favorite teams ass.
I know there is a bigger conversation surrounding this and there are students on campus that can probably write their thesis on Caitlin Clark and the poison that is social media. And I know I’m biased here because I attended the University of Iowa and it just so happens that one of the greatest women’s college basketball players of all time is also attending the University of Iowa and has greatly reshaped women’s athletics in Iowa City forever... something that is near and dear to my heart having married a former athlete and being a father of two little girls.
I fully acknowledge that.
I also fully acknowledge that her “are you not entertained” celebrations could be annoying if it’s your favorite team getting buried into the ground.
I also, also fully acknowledge that usually the loudest voices in the room do not speak for the masses.
But some of the stuff I’ve seen goes well beyond anything I’ve seen before and it’s been kind of concerning to me. The girl’s just balling out and doing what she loves. Why is that such an egregious thing? Did this happen to Diana Taurasi or Breanna Stewart or Candace Parker or Maya Moore and I just missed it?
I guess I’m just entering the “old man yells at the clouds” stage of my life, but I just wish that the people that are so against her could realize greatness like this doesn’t just happen all the time and instead of spew hate and get so worked up about her playing a brand of basketball they don’t like, they just sit back, relax and just enjoy the moment. Enjoy the show.
There will be someone else to hate on tomorrow and the next day and the day after that. What’s the point?