Thursday, September 08, 2005
After yesterday's disappointment, it's probably a good idea to look ahead to some brighter points. As was often the case in recent years, that means focusing on the play of native Iowans Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner. Despite all the injuries, departures, and felony charges of their teammates, these two have remained steady forces on and off the court. Their excellence was recognized by inclusion on last year's All-Big Ten team and with invitations to try out for the USA World University Games team this summer. By the end of this season, their Hawkeye legacies should be displayed in a more permanent arena - Iowa's career record book.
Assuming neither misses significant playing time this year, Horner and Brunner will leave their mark in several areas - career points, rebounds, assists, three point shooting, steals, and blocks. Erek Hansen will also finish second or third on the career blocks list. The discussion of these records will assume that Iowa plays 33 games this year (same as last year), 30 regular season and three post-season.
Since Iowa played 33 games last year and this year, the easiest way to project where these two will finish would be to add last year's points to their career totals. If Jeff scores 463 points again, he'll end his Hawkeye career with 1,558, in 8th place between, fittingly, two of Iowa's best point guards. If Greg again scores 485, his career total of 1,520 points would put him 11th place (assuming Jeff is ahead of him). However, this method might shortchange each player a little, since they played 20 games alongside a big-time scorer in Pierre Pierce. Both of them increased their scoring after Pierce left the team, and since this year's team will basically be the same team that ended last year, we should probably take that into account.
Horner scored 14.8 ppg in the final 13 games of last season. That rate would give him 488 points this year, and his 1583 points would move him past Oliver. Likewise, Greg's 15.9 ppg would give him 525 points over a full season and move him to ninth all-time with 1,560 points.
Note - If Pierce played the 13 games he missed last year, and all 33 games this year, while scoring at last year's 17.8 ppg, he would finish second on Iowa's scoring list.
This table is primed for a big run by Brunner. Just matching last year's 8.3 rpg would make him Iowa's all-time leading rebounder with 951 boards. He only needs to average 7.2 rpg to eclipse Kunnert. Considering that Greg's in better shape than ever before and could play more than last year's 31.8 mpg, 1,000 rebounds isn't out of the question, though he would need to average 9.8 rpg to get there. A deep run in the NCAA tournament would really help Greg's quest for triple digits.
Can I get a "wow" for Andre Woolridge? He's the only player among the top ten in assists who didn't play at Iowa for four years (he played three), and he still runs away with the record. He'll get a challenge from Horner this year. Jeff needs to average 4.0 apg to take first place. He averaged 5.5 apg last year. Matching last year's total of 180 assists would give Horner 623 for his career. Not bad.
Barring some catastrophe, Horner will also finish with more three pointers made and attempted in a career than any other Hawkeye. He needs to make 34 and attempt 133 to claim the records currently held by Chris Kingsbury. There's also room on the steals list. Matching last year's total of 47 would give Horner 172 for his career and move him into seventh place.
Erek Hansen is already in fourth place on the career blocks list. He won't be passing Acie Earl without another year of eligibility (woo hoo!), but he can pass Greg Stokes for second place by blocking 107 shots this year. Getting to Stokes is just a matter of playing time, as Hansen swatted 5.2 shots per 40 minutes last year. He had 83 blocks on the season.
Brunner can also climb the blocks ladder. He's on pace to finish sixth in school history.
Well, there you have it. Iowa fans might not have a lot to cheer about in a couple years (we'll see), but this year's squad includes several players who will go down among Iowa's all-time best. You will likely have two of the top ten scorers, the all-time leaders in rebounding and assists, as well as the most prolific three-point shooter and shot blocker playing together. To me, that is a team that should make some noise this winter. Is it November yet?