Nov. 26, 2003
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One of the newest additions to Steve Alford’s 2003-2004 Hawkeye men’s basketball squad has a need for speed.
Erek Hansen, a native of Bedford, Texas, will be starting the season for the first time as a full-fledged playing Hawkeye. It’s a feat two years in the making after a redshirted first season and a stint at Kirkwood (Iowa) Community College.
“In high school, unlike a lot of the other big men, I wouldn’t get tired. I’d stay in the whole game, and opponents would just rotate all their big guys through the game.
Iowa’s Erek Hansen
However, the wait has only made Hansen’s heart grow fonder for the game he’s played 11 years – a game that is his outlet for excess energy.
“Growing up, my parents wanted to find a sport I’d like,” said the 6-foot-11, 210-pound center. “They put me in soccer and baseball and all the pee-wee sports, and I picked basketball. It just clicked with me, and that was before I was taller than the rest of the kids.”
But it was, no doubt, the speed that kept Hanson in the game. As a youngster, Hansen was always running.
“In high school, unlike a lot of the other big men, I wouldn’t get tired,” he said. “I’d stay in the whole game, and opponents would just rotate all their big guys through the game.
At Trinity High School in Bedford, Hansen was named District Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. He was named to the Sterling Athletics Basketball Magazine’s first team all-state, as well as the ninth-best player in Texas by Hoops magazine. He averaged 15 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.8 blocked shots as a senior.
While at Kirkwood, he earned honorable mention all-Region honors in 2002-2003, while averaging 8.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.3 blocks per game. And he helped his team post a 33-4 record and third place in the Division II junior college national tournament.
For many players starting at the collegiate level, the fast pace of the game is one of the most daunting elements to work through – but not for Hansen.
“I like the fast pace,” said the sophomore sports and leisure major. “That was one thing I was looking for in a college. A lot of them don’t use any press. They usually run a slower offense and set things up. Here, we run the ball down and we’re right into it as fast as we can. I like running the floor and moving with it quickly.”
“Before I turned 16, I didn’t care about cars. I got a truck and drove that around. Then I saw my friend had a ’69 red Firebird convertible. It was gorgeous. So I started saving my money from jobs, and thought about what kind of car I was going to get.”
Iowa’s Erek Hansen
With Hansen’s penchant for moving quickly, it comes as no surprise that he is a “big car freak”.
Since turning 16 just five years ago, Hansen has had four cars, including his “babied” 1968 Chevelle-Malibu, which he restored to near mint condition. The shiny blue two-door coupe with dual black racing stripes down the middle has even made some hot rod websites as an example for aficionados.
“Before I turned 16, I didn’t care about cars,” said Hansen. “I got a truck and drove that around. Then I saw my friend had a ’69 red Firebird convertible. It was gorgeous. So I started saving my money from jobs, and thought about what kind of car I was going to get.”
Hansen settled on the Chevelle-Malibu after searching hot rod magazines and deciding rebuilt Cameros and Mustangs were too common.
“You see a lot of Cameros, and there are billions of Mustangs out there,” he said. “I wanted a car that would be unique, and I wanted something I could really juice up and have a lot of space under the hood because I’m a real engine freak.”
According to Hansen, a driver would have to be at least 6-foot-7 in order to reach the pedals of the vehicle. But don’t think even that would make a person eligible to drive the beast-like car.
“I don’t let anyone drive my car,” he said. “There are only about three people who have ever driven it. I baby the heck out of it.”
Now that the Malibu is set, though, Hansen has turned his focus to his 1983 Datsun 280-ZX, a five-speed sports car – a car so small it’s hard to believe that a person nearly 7-feet tall could fit in it. “I barely fit in it,” said Hansen. “But when I’m done with it, it’ll be a nice little machine. It’s a lot more fun than my Honda Accord.”
Yes, that’s correct. Hansen has three cars at Iowa: a 1968 Malibu, a 1983 Datsun sports car and a 1992 Honda Accord. But don’t worry; he’s looking for a buyer on the Accord.
It’s just not fast enough.