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Archive for June, 2010

The business of basketball

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
The past season has provided a quick lesson in the business of college basketball to players at Iowa. Following a Prime Time League game Sunday, Eric May talked a bit about the coaching change and the transition that Hawkeye players have dealt with since the dismissal of coach Todd Lickliter in March and the replacement of Iowa's assistant coaches. "Something like what we've gone through puts everything in perspective pretty quickly,'' May said. "A year ago, the sophomores here were just getting starting, getting to know the coaches and the system as freshmen. Now, we're going through it all again. That's not an easy thing to do.'' With four new incoming scholarship players and at least three walk-ons expected to join the program in the fall, May and the returning players aren't alone. "We're all in the same boat, getting to know each other and it's going well,'' May said. "You feel for the old coaches. The assistants were all good guys and you hope for the best for them. The new guys are good people, too, and I think we're all at a point where we're moving on and trying to build a team for next season. What's happened, it's a lesson, something you never expect coming into college but something we are all dealing with.''

A program of his own

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Greg Lansing finally has a program to call his own. A seven-year assistant coach on Steve Alford's staff at Iowa, Lansing was named today as the head coach at Indiana State one day after coach Kevin McKenna left to join Dana Altman's staff at Oregon. The opportunity has been a long time coming for Lansing, an Iowa native whose father Dave coached the sport at the high school level in Iowa for 33 years. Lansing is in the midst of his second stint at the Missouri Valley Conference school. He coached there under Royce Waltman, then returned following his time on the Hawkeye staff. During his comments at a news conference this afternoon in Terre Haute, Lansing took time to reflect on his journey and thanked Alford. "It was a great seven years for us. We were really close (to his family) and they could get over to all the games and do those things. I learned an awful lot from that guy about how to compete and work and be a student of the game,'' Lansing said. "I'd be remiss if I didn't also say thanks to coach Waltman. He didn't hire me once here. He hired me twice. He's still the best coach I've ever been around.'' Lansing then talked about how he will build his program. "My program is going to be about chemistry, character and competing -- plain and simple,'' he said. "That's the only way I know how to do it and that's what I'm going to hang my hat on.'' Indiana State director of athletics Ron Prettyman said that Lansing had "proven himself twice at Indiana State University. He's been a vital part of the resurgence of this program twice -- once back in the late '90s and early 2000s and most recently in the last few years. He's someone who has prepared for this opportunity to be a head coach his entire career.'' Lansing was interviewed for the Indiana State head coaching position the first time when McKenna was hired from Creighton and eventually returned to the Sycamores program as the associate head coach. Lansing inherits a program that finished 17-15 a year ago.

The new border war

Sunday, June 13th, 2010
Iowa and Nebraska are neighboring states, but the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers are virtual strangers on the basketball court. The two schools have not met in basketball since 1976, when back-to-back baskets by Ronnie Lester and William Mayfield allowed the Hawkeyes to pull away from a two-point lead with 13 minutes, 30 seconds left and earn a 71-57 victory in Lincoln. Bruce "Sky'' King led a group of four Iowa players in double figures in that game with 15 points and the Hawkeyes helped themselves with a 21-of-27 effort at the free-throw line. The game is the last of 19 between the teams in a series that dates to 1907, when each split home games with Nebraska winning 27-17 in Lincoln and Iowa earning a 32-29 victory a month later in Iowa City. Iowa leads the all-time series between the schools 12-7 and hasn't lost to the Huskers since 1970. Nebraska's last win in the sport in Iowa City came in 1942. The most recent tie between the programs came in the 1990s, when Andre Woolridge left Lincoln for Iowa City following his freshman season and hit 104 3-point field goals while averaging 15.7 points over three years in a Hawkeye uniform during a career that ended in 1997. When the Cornhuskers join the Big Ten for the 2011-12 season, Iowa will be find itself facing a somewhat familiar style of team. Nebraska coach Doc Sadler is an Eddie Sutton disciple and the Cornhuskers play a physical, bump-and-grind brand of basketball that is not all that different from the style of hoops that the Big Ten is known for. Injuries and youth left Nebraska at 2-14 in the Big 12 last season, the most losses in conference play in school history and the team's 15-18 overall record was the Cornhuskers' first losing season in seven years. Nebraska averaged 66.5 points per game last season, ranking 11th in the Big 12. That average would have ranked fifth in the Big Ten in league play last season. Nebraska has not won a conference title in the sport since sharing the Big Eight title with Kansas and Kansas State in 1950 and last won an outright league title when it rolled through what was then known as the Missouri Valley Conference with a 12-0 record in 1916. The Cornhuskers made the first of their six NCAA tourney appearances in the 1980s and have not been part of that field since 1998. Nebraska plays its home games at the 13,500-seat Bob Devaney Sports Center, although a new 16,000-seat arena in Lincoln's Haymarket District is expected to open in 2013. Plans also include a new practice facility for Cornhuskers program.

Landing in Ann Arbor

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Former Iowa basketball assistant LaVall Jordan was named today as an assistant coach at Michigan, the second member of Todd Lickliter's staff to secure a coaching position for the 2010-11 season. Jordan, a native of Albion, Mich., interviewed for an earlier opening on John Beilein's staff as well, but was hired as a replacement for Mike Jackson, who left the Wolverines earlier this week to join Matt Painter's staff at Purdue. Beilein called Jordan "a huge fan of the Maize and Blue.'' "LaVall knows and appreciates the valued traditions of this great university and the Wolverine program,'' Beilein said in a statement announcing the hire. "LaVall is a proven recruiter, excellent mentor and gifted teacher of the game. Bringing to Michigan his knowledge as a player and coach and his experience from a successful Butler program, LaVall will be a tremendous asset for us as we continue to develop our program's culture.'' Beilein said the addition of Jordan will help "this young team develop their games both collectively and on an individual basis.'' Jordan spent the past seven seasons on staffs headed by Lickliter, working as a coordinator of basketball operations at Butler in 2003-04 and as an assistant coach there from 2003-07 before following Lickliter to Iowa, where he spent the past three seasons. Former Iowa associate head coach Chad Walthall was named last month as the new head coach at Minnesota State-Moorhead.

Make a date

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
The Fran McCaffery era at Iowa will open with a date against a former Hawkeye. An exhibition with Division II Illinois-Springfield, a team coached by former Iowa player Kevin Gamble, will mark the Hawkeyes' first public appearance against outside competition. The game is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 7 in Iowa City, one week before Iowa's regular-season opener against South Dakota State. Iowa's nonconference schedule for the 2010-11 season was released Tuesday and with the exception of a trip to the Paradise Jam, a road game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and a quick trip to Drake, the Hawkeyes are staying close to home with seven regular season nonconference games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. In addition to instate rivals Iowa State and Northern Iowa and the opener against the Summit League's South Dakota State, the Hawkeyes will host Louisiana-Monroe, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Idaho State and Louisiana Tech before opening Big Ten play. Iowa faces Xavier in its opening game at the Paradise Jam and will play either Alabama or Seton Hall in its second game at the eight-team tourney. St. Peter's, Old Dominion, Long Beach State and Clemson are in the other bracket. Here's a game-by-game breakdown of Iowa's non-conference schedule: Nov. 7 -- Illinois-Springfield (exhibition) Nov. 14 -- South Dakota State Nov. 16 -- Louisiana-Monroe Nov. 19 -- at Paradise Jam vs. Xavier Nov. 20 or 21 -- at Paradise Jam vs. Alabama or Seton Hall Nov. 22 -- at Paradise Jam vs. St. Peter's, Old Dominion, Long Beach State or Clemson Nov. 26 -- Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Nov. 30 -- at Wake Forest in Big Ten/ACC Challenge Dec. 4 -- Idaho State Dec. 7 -- Northern Iowa Dec. 10 -- Iowa State Dec. 18 -- at Drake Dec. 21 -- Louisiana Tech

From there to here

Monday, June 7th, 2010
Iowa's latest basketball commitment is well traveled. Point guard Bryce Cartwright will become the 11th scholarship player on the Hawkeye roster next season, continuing a journey that began on the courts at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif., and led to Fresno State and Paris Junior College in Texas before he visited the Iowa campus last week. The 6-foot-1, 184-pound Cartwright averaged 8.1 points, 4.0 assists, 1.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals last season at Paris, where he was an honorable mention all-conference pick and an all-Region XIV tournament pick while running the point for a 27-6 team. Cartwright worked his way into the starting lineup for 20 games as a freshman at Fresno State in the 2008-09 season, averaging 4.9 points and 3.2 assists. He ranked sixth in the WAC in assists his freshman season. As a prep, Cartwright was the lone senior starter at Dominguez where he led the team to a 32-3 record and a CIF Southern Section championship.