Nov. 3, 2010
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By PATRICK SOJKA
IOWA CITY, Iowa – – Jarryd Cole has been here before. The senior has carried a leadership role during each of his first three seasons as a Hawkeye; his role this year will be no different.
Cole is playing for his second coach at Iowa, Fran McCaffery. Many have come and gone over the last few years in the Hawkeye basketball program, yet Cole remains. That is a strong testament to his character.
Cole, a team captain for the third consecutive season, noted the changes over the years have been tough, specifically, the change in systems has been difficult to adapt to at times.
“It has been tough,” said Cole. “The hardest part about the turnover is the mental aspect. You knew what you wanted to do back in the previous system, and then in the new system you have to try and stay away from your old habits. It is hard to get rid of habits.”
Cole was Iowa’s student-athlete representative last Thursday at the annual Big Ten media day in Chicago. He and his fellow Hawkeyes have been working hard to adjust to the new system.
“You have to fight through it,” added the Kansas City, Mo. native. “You have to be ready and willing to change. We have welcomed it pretty well and hopefully it leads to some good things.”
Cole, who suffered a torn left ACL injury during his freshman season, missed the final 19 games that year. He has earned the respect of his teammates. The English major also understands the responsibility he has garnered.
“Everybody who has ever played basketball is much more of a fan of getting up and down the court and creating exciting plays, creating turnovers, being aggressive on defense. That is basketball. It is going to be a great time for us. It is going to be fun for us and fun for the fans. Hopefully we will get some of the seats filled up.”
Senior Jarryd Cole
“It is a great responsibility,” said Cole on being a team captain. “Having this responsibility with this young group is a humbling experience. At the same time, it is going to be a fun experience. The young guys really look up to you for advice, for the upperclassmen experience. The older guys are all behind you and they back what you feel is important. It is great to have that kind of support from the guys. They have taken it to it very nicely.”
The team has also taken to the new system.
“We have been making a lot of progress,” said Cole. “Coach (McCaffery) knows what he wants us to do in this program. He knows what he wants to get out of it and he knows how to be successful as he has shown in the past. They guys are buying into the system. That is what is most important right now, that the guys actually want to play in this system. Coach makes it fun for us. That is going to be a recipe for us to be successful and hopefully that will carry on in the years to come.”
The often mentioned up-and-down style that Coach McCaffery brought to Iowa City has the players fired up. Cole, who has started 47 career games, hopes it gets the fans fired up as well.
“Everybody who has ever played basketball is much more of a fan of getting up and down the court and creating exciting plays, creating turnovers, being aggressive on defense,” said Cole. “That is basketball. It is going to be a great time for us. It is going to be fun for us and fun for the fans. Hopefully we will get some of the seats filled up.”
Cole, playing for his second head coach at Iowa, committed to more than just a coach when he chose the University of Iowa.
“I have enjoyed my time,” said Cole. “When I committed here, I didn’t just want to commit to a coach or to a certain group of players. I wanted to commit to the program, to the community, to the Hawkeye family. It wasn’t just the coach. I love that the fans have showed me that much support. I just want to give back to them. That is why I stuck it out.”
Cole is excited to get the season under way and more importantly, finish his career on a strong note and give back to the Hawkeye family.
“I want to have a real strong season and leave a real strong legacy,” said Cole. “I want to leave the place better than I found it; that is my goal. The guys are on board, the coaches are on board. Hopefully that just carries on and all the optimism becomes contagious and everybody grabs on and holds on for the ride.”
The ride begins Sunday. Cole and the Hawkeyes open the season with an exhibition against Illinois-Springfield at 3:35 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Black and Gold open the regular season Nov. 14 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, hosting South Dakota State. The contest is scheduled to begin at 2:05 p.m.