24: Making Every Day `May Day'

Dec. 17, 2010

Worth Watching: E. May

Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Friday, Aug. 13, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2010-11 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — When it comes to recruiting, the University of Iowa men’s basketball program owes an assist to Lindsey May. Lindsey is a former UI soccer player and the older sister of Hawkeye sophomore guard Eric May, and even though a gift to her brother years ago didn’t seal the deal to attend the UI, it certainly didn’t hurt.

“My sister had gotten me an autographed Dean Oliver (No. 20) jersey,” May recalled. “That was like the coolest thing ever to get something like that. I was big on watching (Greg) Brunner, (Adam) Haluska, (Jeff) Horner and all those guys play. Those were really good times for Iowa basketball. It was exciting.”

Oliver scored 1,561 points with 561 assists from 1998-2001 for the Hawkeyes. During 1998 to 2007 when the Iowa rosters included those four players, the Hawkeyes posted 20-win seasons five times. May has outgrown the No. 20 jersey from his youth, but he now dons his own Iowa version of 24. Thanks in part to his growth as a player, some exciting times are returning to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Dubuque, Iowa, is looked upon to blaze a trail in just his second season of collegiate basketball.

“Being one of the few returning guys we have, I have more of a leadership role,” May said. “There’s a difference in the offense, too. Last year it was more stand-still shooting. This year it’s getting to the basket a lot more and being a leader on offense and defense.”

May’s season statistics offer support. After 10 games, he leads the team with 29.7 minutes, 11.9 points and 2.4 steals per game. He has made 47 of 100 field goals, including 12 of 23 from 3-point range. Those numbers have increased from his freshman season when May averaged nine points and 1.1 steals.

“I’ve challenged him to trust his talent, to get out there and attack the rim and be aggressive,” UI head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He needs to be a guy that we can count on every night to at least be the most aggressive player on the floor on both ends. If a couple of shots don’t fall or if you have a turnover, that’s going to happen when you’re aggressive and I’m going to live with that and encourage him to keep doing it.”

May is one of six returning letterwinners for the 2010-11 Hawkeyes. The others are senior Jarryd Cole, juniors Devon Archie, Andrew Brommer and Matt Gatens and sophomore Cully Payne.

“It’s kind of unique because it’s a different coach, so it’s new for everybody and all the stuff they’re asking of us is new,” May said. “It’s not like we have any more knowledge of the drills than the (newcomers), but the guys returning kind of know what to expect in games and know how to prepare for games, so that’s how we help them out.”

It’s more than a week before Christmas and the Hawkeyes are already halfway to matching their win total from a year ago. McCaffery replaced Todd Lickliter as head coach in March after Lickliter compiled a 39.6 winning percentage in three seasons.

One area where May’s game has taken off in the new playing style is in steals. He had 34 in 32 games last season, but already has 24 in 10 games as a sophomore.

“That’s how coach wants us to play. He wants us up toward the ball, ready to get steals, ready to get tip-outs or at least go put pressure on them,” May said. “I think it has a lot to do with the system and the way he wants us playing and reading plays.”

“Eric is a guy from the beginning of the season that has affected the game on both ends of the floor,” McCaffery said. “He had seven steals (against SIU Edwardsville) — he gets rebounds, he can score inside and out. His 3-point percentage is good, so I encourage him to shoot more. Rarely do you have to encourage people to shoot more.”

A two-sport standout at Wahlert High School, May, a quarterback, also received looks for football from Northern Iowa and Iowa, to name a few.

“I never felt the need or desire to play football in college,” May said. “Toward the end when Iowa started talking to me, that kind of got me excited about it. It had me thinking about it, but my mind was leaning toward basketball.”

May was a high school teammate of Hawkeye freshman kicker Mike Meyer. As a senior, May threw for 2,125 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 850 yards and eight more scores. Still, it was on the court where he made an even bigger impact. He earned all-state and all-conference honors in Class 3A as a junior and senior and was named Class 3A Player of the Year by the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association. May averaged 24.3 points and 9.1 rebounds during his final season with the Golden Eagles.

One thing May looked forward to was an intracity battle against Hempstead or Senior. That has carried over to the intrastate rivalries of Northern Iowa, Iowa State and Drake. The Hawkeyes play their third and final leg of that series Saturday in Des Moines against the Bulldogs. Iowa defeated Northern Iowa 51-39 on Dec. 7 and dropped a narrow 75-72 decision to Iowa State on Dec. 10.

“You know a lot of kids from the other schools and the rivalry is more intense than playing games like Idaho State,” May said. “I look forward to competing in and winning those games.”

May also enjoys being part of a roster of seven native Iowans — Gatens (Iowa City), Cody Cox (Waterloo), Zach McCabe (Sioux City), Jordan Stoermer (Coralville), T.J. Sayre (Cedar Rapids), Darius Stokes (Cedar Rapids) and Branden Stubbs (Pleasant Hill).

“Coach is always talking about pride and this makes it more evident that people have pride in the school,” May said. “There’s excitement on the bench, excitement on the court and a lot more excitement with everything.”

May is pursuing a major in the field of business. Currently he has an emphasis in accounting.