These have been some of the most interesting, and difficult months of my life. A normal NBA process has an NBA combine, and a plethora of team workouts in a two-month span before a player has to make a decision. I was invited to the combine and would have had multiple team workouts if not for COVID-19. There is a cloud of the unknown that has been hanging over my head since the spike of COVID-19 in late June-early July.
When I was younger, I dreamed that at some point in my college career I would have the opportunity to leave early to pursue an NBA career. Although I dreamed that, I could never have anticipated how many people this decision would affect. Through all of the blood, sweat, and tears that I have given to this game I put myself in a position where this decision was the most talked about thing in college basketball this summer. I am so humbled, and grateful to have these two choices on my plate.
Through my interviews, I am confident that if I were to leave my name in I would be drafted to an NBA organization. If I decided to return, I could play on potentially one of the best teams in college basketball and make a championship run. For most of the process I felt like I couldn’t make a wrong or right decision. However, there is a right decision.
Coach McCaffery saw something in me that a lot of coaches didn’t see or looked past. I’ve built such a strong relationship with him and owe him so much for my development as a player. I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t decide to come to Iowa.
This team contains some of my favorite people, and my brothers that I feel confident that I will know for the rest of my life. My teammates are a huge reason I’m here as well. I have never been a part of a group as unselfish as this one that would put me in a position to help our team win. The rest of our coaches have helped me so much every single day, and I feel lucky to have the people around me that I do.
When I was in the hospital my sophomore year, at the lowest point in my career every coach, player, manager, and staff member was there to see me. I will remember that for the rest of my life.
My family is really important to me, and I am so fortunate to have the family I do. The basketball knowledge that is in my family has shaped me as a basketball player. My Grandpas, Grandma, Uncles, aunts, and cousins inspire me every single day and push me to reach my potential as a basketball player and a person. My mother and sister are the two most beautiful women on the planet. Not just beautiful in looks, but as people. I have never met a stronger woman than my mother. She is my inspiration, and she is the reason I work so hard every day. My sister is passionate, and emotional but she cares for the people she loves. My dad is my best friend, teacher, coach, you name it. He is the reason I am the basketball player and person I am today. There is no better father a son could have.
I mention all of these people because they are the ones that I talked to, to help me make this massive decision. After struggling with this for weeks, I found clarity. It became clear what I had to do. I want to win some Championships and earn a college degree. Hawkeye Nation, how about we run it back one last time?