Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Nov. 12, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Random thoughts on the day after an usually warm day in the Heartland…


Two games to play and the Hawkeyes are two wins away from being bowl eligible. Yes, that’s a pretty steep mountain in front of Kirk’s squad. My advice to any fan of the Hawkeyes willing to listen is to not write these final two games off and move on to the basketball and wrestling seasons. No, I remember as if it was yesterday the emotion immediately after that remarkable end to the Capital One Bowl, for example, and how “Great it was to be a Hawk” at that moment in time. For me, as I’m cheering from the grandstands in the Big House next Saturday afternoon and from my various perches at Kinnick the day after Thanksgiving, I’ll be looking at the game before me as an important piece of the foundation upon which another similar moment of black and gold pride and excitement and exhilaration is built. How about you?

Perhaps I shouldn’t go here…but I think I will anyway…. A certain coach who works on the West Coast continues to embarrass his institution and his peers and, by doing so, drags college football, specifically, and intercollegiate athletics, generally, through another puddle of Cardinal and Gold mud. You can read about his program’s latest dip into a gray area HERE. And, here’s a link to a not-so-surprising poll on the topic of discussion related to the aforementioned: HERE. My point? This situation, for me, is another reason why I’m so glad the University of Iowa has the man it has at the top of our football pyramid. You can take the rabbit rock star if that’s your preference. I’ll take the tortoise who may be a little more old school than some would like who also understands the meaning of integrity. Remember, too, which one won the race.

The University of Iowa and so much and many more lost a real gem Thursday morning when “Mr. University of Iowa” – Sam Becker – passed away. Sam was everything you’d want in a faculty member, staff member, administrator, citizen, son, husband, and father. It’s pretty safe to say you’re cut from some special cloth when your name lands on a building on our campus, e.g. the Samuel L. Becker Communication Studies Building is a beauty tucked just north of the UI’s Main Library and immediately east of the Iowa River. That recognition just scratches the surface of the man. There is so very much more. Here’s a link to a very nice summary of Sam’s career and life courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen: HERE.

I think it’s Dove soap that is currently marketing its men’s products under the theme, “Comfortable in your own skin.” So I ask, is there anyone more comfortable in their skin these days that Zach McCabe of the Iowa men’s basketball team? “Coach, want me to bang down low? Sure.” “Coach, want me to pop a few three’s from the perimeter? OK. I’m in.” “Need a few rebounds? Yeah. I can do that.” Here’s a link to the box score from Friday’s night’s season opener for Fran McCaffery’s. Take a look at the line for the 6-foot-7 junior from Sioux City. It’s impressive. Zach is definitely comfortable in his own skin these days…and that’s a good thing for the good guys.

Here’s a little something I noticed in that box score: Eric May, Iowa’s lone senior, and Mike Gessell, one of Iowa’s highly-touted “Freshman Five,” led the team with 24 minutes played. It jumped at me as, perhaps, a “symbolic statistical passing of the torch”…but that’s not entirely correct because that infers we’re at the end of this season and, as we know, we’re just one game into it. Nonetheless, the pair was two of five Hawkeyes who logged at least 20 minutes of court time and two of 10 who saw their game clocks reach double-digits. Fran’s got some depth to play with for sure. It’s reasonable to assume one of the many benefits/by-products of the depth would be fresher legs come crunch time in March. We’ll see.

Lastly, I’m a big fan of Melsahn Basabe. I like his name as much as I like his game. Mel-sahn Ba-sa-be…it just kind of rolls of the tongue. Like many, I was curious to see just how he’d “fit” Friday night. Well, the fit was pretty darn good, me thinks. I’m no basketball genius but I am a good listener and, I believe, when Fran looks at Melsahn, he sees rebounds first, blocked shots second, and points third. The junior’s line in the opener? 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 9 points. I think if you were to give Fran the option of banking a game like that 30-plus times between now and late March, he’d smile and bark, “Give me the contract. I’ll sign it right now.”

Here’s a link to a transcript of Fran’s post-game press conference on Friday night: HERE. Enjoy it. As always, it’s filled with little nuggets – and a few big nuggets – of candid analysis of the game, his team and its players.

Here’s our take on the opener: HERE.

I was surprised when Jaime Printy took to Mediacom Court Friday night in the season opener for Lisa Bluder’s Hawkeyes. I came to Carver thinking she’d likely be resting her tweaked hamstring and that her many fans would have to wait another game or perhaps two before officially welcoming the senior back from her second season-ending knee injury. It’s a long season afterall. No reason to rush a known quantity. I wasn’t surprised later in the night when surveying the box score. Jaime was the Jaime we’ve come to love: 3-of-4 from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 from the stripe…11 points and three assists in just 16 minutes of court time. Good stuff.

They say good things happen to good people. Need more evidence of this truism? Click HERE.

Here’s a link to our take on the opener for Lisa’s squad: HERE.

They say good things happen to good people. Need more evidence of this truism? Click HERE.

That, my friends, was a pretty big flag at Kinnick yesterday. Again, a heartfelt thank you to our Veterans and a nod of acknowledgement to our very own Jim Albracht of the Hawkeye Radio Network for the recent loss of the Vet most important to him.

Saturday was also a tough day for Tracey Griesbaum’s field hockey squad. The nationally ranked Hawkeyes lost a heart-breaker at Virginia in first round action of this year’s NCAA Tournament. You can read the details HERE. There’s also some video available HERE.