Oct. 4, 2011
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s basketball team filled out its 2011-12 roster with the addition of walk-ons Kyle Denning and Steven McCarty. Denning is a 6-foot-2, 150-pound freshman from Cedar Falls, Iowa, while sophomore guard McCarty stands 6-foot and weighs 155 pounds.
Denning was a three-sport standout at Northern University High School, excelling in basketball, football and baseball.
One could understand why baseball was one of his passions. Denning’s father was his high school baseball coach, his older brother played baseball at NIACC, and his cousin played for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It wasn’t until his junior year that the guard knew that he wanted to pursue basketball after graduation.
Not only does Denning hold numerous school records in baseball, but also basketball. He was selected as the 2010 Iowa Basketball Class 1A Player of the Year, and is the school’s record holder in career steals (261), assists (264) and 3-pointers (187) and single-season steals (114).
“Luckily, I had a good state tournament, and the Iowa coaches asked for some game film,” said Denning. “We sent it down, talked with the coaches, and it happened to work out.”
Denning, who will don No. 13 for the Hawkeyes, said he wants to push both himself and his teammates.
“I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to make myself the best player I can be,” said Denning. “I’m going to try and be a good practice player and push the guys to get them ready for games.”
McCarty, who hails from Auburn Hills, Mich., is the cousin of sophomore Roy Devyn Marble. McCarty said the two of them started hanging out in middle school and have been close ever since.
The speedy guard led his high school team in assists his final three seasons and averaged 14 points, five assists and three steals his senior campaign. He is ecstatic to finally play alongside his cousin.
“We never really got to play with each other growing up unless it was a pick-up game, but now that we’re on the same team, it’s really special,” said McCarty.
Hawkeye fans were able to get a taste of McCarty over the summer when he played in the Prime Time League. McCarty said the PTL was crucial for him after not playing organized basketball for a full season.
“It was a good experience,” said McCarty. “I got to see how my new teammates play. It was a different pace for me because I had a year off from playing so it was good to get back at it.”
McCarty, who will be wearing No. 14 this season, said the preseason workouts have been going well and is excited for official practice to get under way in a couple weeks.
“Everyone is motivating each other and working hard,” said McCarty. “They are improving each day. It’s become like a brotherhood where I get to see my teammates every day.”
Like Denning, McCarty wants to push himself and his teammates every day in practice.
“I really want to push the guys, make everybody better and be a leader,” said McCarty. “Everyone has to be a leader if we want to be successful this season.
“I feel like I’m living the dream right now. Every day you have to work hard and give thanks.”