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Rebound 04/10/2009

Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
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The page has been turned.  Two weeks after 4 players left the Iowa basketball team (including 2 point guards) word out of Iowa City is that Schaumberg, Ill point guard Cully Payne will commit to the Hawkeyes today.  Payne, a 6′ 1″

New Iowa guard Cully Payne

New Iowa guard Cully Payne

senior, had committed to Alabama, but asked for and was granted his  release  after coach Mark Gottfried was dismissed from that institution.  He had committed to De Paul as an 8th grader, but reopened the recruiting process last year.  Payne was scheduled to attend the Elite camp in Iowa City last year, but that camp was canceled by the floods in the area last summer.  Sully cited the available playing time and his favorable impression of Iowa coach Todd Lickliter as key factors in his decision.  Payne led Schaumberg to a 14-2 record, averaging 22 points per game, before a back problem ended his senior season prematurely. 

Coach Lickliter has 3 more scholarships available and it appears likely that one will go to another point guard, Malcolm Armstead from Chipola (Fla) Junior College,while another may go to his  JUCO team mate, 6′ 6″ forward  Torye Pelhamm.  The two have scheduled a visit to Iowa City April 17.  The signing period begins April 15.  Guards Payne and Armstead are both proficent from behind the 3 point arc.

The shock of 4 players leaving the basketball program has had the radio call in shows and blogs buzzing.  The situation

Kevin Boyle was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1978

Kevin Boyle was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1979

is not that unusual, however.  And with all due respect to the others who have left, the only loss that  hurts the program is Jake Kelly.  For perspective, Steve Batterson of the Quad City Times tells of the loss of 3 players after Lute Olson’s third season as Iowa coach back in 1977.  Things looked bleak back then following a 12-15 (5-13 Big Ten) season but, due in part to the recruits signed with the scholarships freed up by the defections (Kevin Boyle, Kenny Arnold), Iowa found themselves as Big Ten co-champs in 1979 and then in the 1980 Final Four.  (Read the full Batterson article: http://hawkmania.com/articles/2009/04/10/news/doc49d56c251ac60671927736.txt ) 

While I am not predicting  a Final Four anytime soon, the point is that it is way too early to give up on the Lickliter years.  True, Iowa finished 15-17 (5-13 Big Ten) in his second Iowa season, the weeding out process should be over.  There is talent coming back.  And, apparently there is more talent coming in.  As Lickliter said, there are brighter days ahead.

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