VIEWS OF A FARM BOY
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NIV) (Isaiah 41: 10)
Basketball in Iowa is really a big deal. When tournament time arrives March Madness becomes the focal point for many people--including us. We do not actually go to the games anymore but you can be sure our TV is tuned in most of the time. During March, high school basketball is the common denominator that brings so many rural communities, small towns and bigger Iowa cities together as they show support for their family, friends and loved ones. Then as the high school tournaments are over, the college schedule begins. This month I would like to pay tribute to some of our great Iowa basketball teams. I love March Madness.
Why do I always come up with memories? Maybe it is because of my age or maybe that is just who I am. Nevertheless, I couldn't write the story above without thinking back many years ago. These 35mm slides converted to pictures show our kids shooting hoops in our back yard at 1211 68th Street, in Windsor Heights. Those were do-it yourself days for me, so I designed and built this whole setup myself. I was real proud of those arrows which served as a cheat-sheet so even I could hit the basket--once in a while. Yeah! This month we are talking about March Madness, but when you have a basketball court on your back patio the madness lasts all year long.
Views of a Farm Boy--Dedicated to promote Iowa agriculture and Iowa values--Robert Vaughn--Urbandale, Iowa EMAIL:
ISU Cyclones: Coach: Steve Prohm--4th year.
This was a good season for the Iowa State Cyclones. They worked together and put on a real good show at Hilton South (Kansas City) where they brought home the trophy for the Big 12 Championship Tournament. Then they forged ahead to the NCAA Tournament. My guy--LINDELL WIGGINTON. Lindell was coming off an injury and missed the first ten games of the season. He probably thought he would be back to his starter role, but Coach Prohm chose to bring him off the bench as the 6th man in. Some people would consider that a put-down, but he considered it a new challenge. He must have done something right--in fact he must have done lots of things right. Lindell was honored by being the Big 12 "6th Man of the Year."
SUI Hawkeye Women: SUI Cyclone Women: UNI Panther Women, Drake Bulldog Women: We have focused on the mens basketball season for each of these four great Iowa universities. Now let's pay tribute to the women. Each of these teams is well coached and well respected throughout Iowa and the nation.
SUI Hawkeyes: Coach: Fran McCaffery--9th year.
I am an Iowan and I want all of our Iowa sports teams to have a good year. But then, on the other hand, how can I not be a little bit prejudice? I am a University of Iowa alum. This year we had our ups and downs losing some games we should have won and winning some games most people thought we would lose. But, at least the season took us to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 3 years. What a good bunch of kids--I won't list them as you know their names. I was very happy Tylor Cook returned for his junior year and we all loved his slam dunks. However, I have to pick a Bettendorf, Iowa kid as my spotlight player of the year: My Guy: NICHOLAS BAER. Nicholas started his Hawkeye career as a red shirt freshman walk-on, earned his scholarship the old fashioned way--worked for it--and became a team captain his senior year. I do not expect to see Nicholas in the NBA, but I do think he will be a good life example for our youth.
UNI Panthers: Coach: Ben Jacobson--13th year.
The Panthers did not have a stellar basketball season, but it is always good to see their team step on the hardwood with a bunch of quality kids. I think maybe the real story here is the coach. Ben Jacobson has shown so much stability throughout his tenure. He was loyal to the Panthers and did not jump ship during the glory years. To me, that speaks volumes about loyalty and stability. There is one common denominator I have noticed in the Panther teams throughout the years. They always seem to have fun playing together. My guy: WYATT LOHAUS. He is is a 6:2' fifth year senior point guard from Iowa City. I think basketball runs in his veins. He is the son of former Hawkeye--and NBA star--Brad Lohaus.
Drake University Bulldogs: Coach Darian DeVries--1st year.
This may well be another coach story. Drake men's basketball was in a slump when Coach Darian DeVries took over the helm this season. He brought with him many qualities that impress me--most of all loyalty and longevity. Darian, an Iowa native, had just completed 17 successful years as assistant coach at Creighton University. His team made a turn around with a really good season and he was named Coach of the year MVC-2019. My guy: BRADY ELLINGSON. Brady was a 6'4" graduate transfer from SUI. He was the perfect fit for the new coach and existing team and brought a renewed sense of achievement to Drake basketball.
I0WA COLLEGE BASKETBALL--BIG FOUR: Comments--and my players of the year.
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