Haluska Ready For His Final Season

Oct. 30, 2006

IOWA CITY – He’s started all 98 games of his collegiate career. He was third team all-Big Ten in 2006, has twice been named academic all-Big Ten, and last season was a CoSIDA third team academic all-American.

Now as a senior captain, Adam Haluska is going to take every opportunity to enjoy stepping on the court and playing his final days as a Hawkeye.

“I’ve always been a Hawkeye. My family’s been Hawkeye fans all their life too. It’s really a blessing, and I thank the Lord every day that I’m able to suit up in a Hawkeye uniform and take the floor,” said Haluska.

Heading into his final season, Haluska is receiving attention as a top returning player. He was voted to the pre-season all-Big Ten team by conference media and is a pre-season candidate for the John R. Wooden all-America team. He was recently named the recipient of the Anson Mount Scholar/Athlete Award for 2006-07 from Playboy Magazine, earning a $5,000 donation to the University of Iowa’s general scholarship fund.

Adam Haluska takes part in Iowa’s Read to Grow Program with elementary children in the Iowa City School District.

Hailing from Carroll, Iowa, Haluska grew up on the basketball court. His father was a high school basketball coach when Haluska was in elementary school, and he can remember idolizing the players and spending evenings shooting hoops.

Once he entered high school in 1998, Haluska began to receive state and nation-wide attention for his skills on the court. He was the Class 3A Player of the Year as a junior and senior and was named the Iowa Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.

Basketball wasn’t the only sport he excelled in. He also lettered in football and baseball; however it was the track records he broke that caught most people’s attention. He won eight individual state track titles, including four in his senior season, something only three other people have done.

Even though he could have had a successful collegiate career in track, Haluska’s heart was with basketball.

“I think a lot of people always wanted me to consider track a little bit,” he said. “But when it comes down to it, basketball was the sport I really admired and loved to play. You can’t ask for anything more than to go out and play for 15,500 people night in and night out.”

Despite a love for the Hawkeyes, Haluska decided to attend Iowa State University his freshman year. He was the second leading freshman scorer in the Big XII Conference, averaging 9.2 points per game. Even though he started every game and had a promising career as a Cyclone, Haluska’s heart was with the Hawkeyes. He transferred shortly after the 2003 season.

While he felt more at home as a Hawkeye, the transition wasn’t easy for him.

“It was tough just for the fact that I felt like I let a lot of people down, and that’s something I really didn’t intend to do,” he said.

Haluska was welcomed by the team as well as Hawkeye fans. After redshirting during the 2003-2004 season, Haluska made a huge impact the next year. In addition to starting all 33 games, he averaged 14.7 points and four rebounds per game, led the team with an 80.8% average from the free throw line, and was named honorable mention all-Big Ten.

Last year was even better for Haluska. While averaging 13.9 points and 4.7 rebounds, Haluska was the 2006 Chris Street Award winner, a third team all-Big Ten selection, and set five personal highs, including points and assists in a game.

Adam Haluska and former Hawkeye Justin Weick visit with longtime Iowa basketball fan Millie Jepson as she celebrates her 80th birthday.

Haluska didn’t just excel on the court. His 3.41 GPA in finance and marketing earned him a CoSIDA third team academic all-American honor. He was also named an academic all-Big Ten member for the second straight year.

“I try to pride myself as a person who plays hard on the floor and also does his best in the classroom. I really just want to represent the University and Iowa the best I can, and I think to do that it’s on and off the floor,” he said.

That desire to shine in the classroom started when Haluska was still in elementary school. Because his parents were both teachers, he was encouraged to take his competitive nature and apply that to his study habits.

“I’m a competitive person and I always tried, especially in high school, and even now in college, to put a competitive side to academics. Sometimes I think you just go through the motions trying to learn things, and I try to put certain goals on things,” he said.

Often Haluska goes straight from practice to studying. Balancing school and basketball has been something he’s been working on since high school.

“When you come to college, that’s a huge adjustment. I think that’s the one thing people don’t understand. It’s such a time commitment that you put into your sports. But then on the flip side, academics come first,” he said.

“First and foremost, Adam is a tremendous person. He’s extremely talented and does a lot of great things, both on the court and away from basketball.”
Head Coach Steve Alford

His dedication to being the all-around student-athlete has paid off. Not only has he gotten national attention, but his coaches appreciate the work he’s put in as an athlete as well as a student and community member.

“First and foremost, Adam is a tremendous person. He’s extremely talented and does a lot of great things, both on the court and away from basketball,” said Head Coach Steve Alford.

“He sets a very high standard. In all the community events and volunteer functions that our team is involved with, he is always one of the first to offer to participate. He constantly wants to give back to others.”

This season Haluska will provide even more leadership. The Hawkeyes lost five seniors last year, including Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner. Iowa enjoyed a fantastic season, posting a 17-0 record at home and winning the Big Ten Tournament. But, the year ended with a crushing defeat in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on a last second shot by Northwestern State.

Despite the challenges the young Hawkeyes face, Haluska is confident in their ability to play well as a team. Even though the seniors are missed, Haluska says the team has made the transition to this year. They’ve also looked to last year’s season-ending loss to learn how to succeed this year.

“I think the biggest thing is putting it behind us, but trying to learn from the mistakes,” he said. “We’ve got to try to never let a situation like that happen again and always finish the game and compete until the end.”

Dealing with the pressure to do well is something Haluska is prepared for. He says the coaching staff has done a great job taking the pressure to succeed off of him, as well as the younger members of the team. He’s hoping to take the pressure other teams put on him in games to help create shots for the open players.

When his college days are over, Haluska would like to see where basketball will take him. He’d like to continue playing in some capacity; however returning to school to earn his MBA is something he’s also considering.

No matter how his career as a Hawkeye ends, Haluska knows he has been part of something special.

“I can remember the first time when I was a little kid walking onto the arena floor, thinking how big it was and how great everything was and just being in awe of everything. I think sometimes you get a little used to it, playing here every day. I think when it’s gone and you know it’s not yours anymore, it’s going to be a sad feeling.”

His dream was to walk onto the court wearing a black and gold uniform. And when he walks off for the last time, he will do so as one of the most respected and well-rounded student athletes in Iowa history.