Oct. 25, 2003
Editor’s Note: The following was written by Jim Ecker and first appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 21, editions of The Gazette, the presenting sponsor of the annual two-day, four-team Gazette-Hawkeye Challenge scheduled for early December in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the University of Iowa campus.
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Cedar Rapids – Steve Alford says he feels good about the Hawkeyes.
No, better make that very good. Heck, make it terrific.
Alford, entering his fifth year as the Iowa men’s basketball coach, could not stop smiling Wednesday while bragging about the Hawkeyes during the Linn County I-Club luncheon at the Collins Plaza Hotel. His 15-minute speech was filled with superlatives and exclamation points.
“I think you’re going to enjoy watching this team compete,” he told an audience of about 230 people. “It will have the same mentality as last year’s team had, with a lot more weapons. That should make for an exciting year.”
“I think you’re going to enjoy watching this team compete. It will have the same mentality as last year’s team had, with a lot more weapons. That should make for an exciting year.”
Iowa Coach Steve Alford
He said Jared Reiner and Glen Worley could be all-Big Ten. He call Jeff Horner a coach’s dream. He said Pierre Pierce and Greg Brunner have been impressive in the first week of drills.
He raved about the team’s depth, attitude and ability, saying good things about Mike Henderson, Nick DeWitz, Sean Sonderleiter, Brody Boyd, Erek Hansen, the walk-ons and just about everyone else.
“This could be a very exciting team to watch,” he said.
During media day last week, Alford called Reiner one of the top five players in the Big Ten. He added Worley to that list Wednesday, at least potentially.
“If Glen can somehow, someway find a way not to foul, he’s going to have an incredible senior year,” Alford said. “He’s a very special talent. He’s somebody, I think, who is a difference-maker for us.
“He’s very difficult to guard, he got an incredible basketball IQ, he’s very competitive. He can shoot the ball. He does a lot of things very well.”
Alford said Reiner, Worley and Boyd-all seniors-would start if the Hawkeyes played a game today. He did not list the other starters, but presumably they are Horner and Pierce.
He said Sonderleiter, the fourth scholarship senior, could be the first guy off the bench. Henderson is the backup point guard behind Horner. Brunner is now strictly a power forward behind Worley. DeWitz is a 6-foot-8 shooting guard, Hansen a 6-11 shot-blocker.
That sounded like the top 10. The 11th scholarship player is freshman Ben Rand.
Alford said the Hawkeyes have suffered a few “nicks and bruises” in practice, but nothing serious.
“We’ve been able to play five-on-five without putting our managers or coaches in there,” he said. “And we had to do that a lot last year.”
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