Shooting Guard, 2001-2002
Few Hawkeyes have had a better performance in the Big Ten Tournament than Luke Recker. Heck, few players at any Big Ten school could say they’ve played to Recker’s level in the conference tournament.
The former Hawkeye from 2001-2002 still holds the Big Ten tournament record for most made field goals (30) and most points scored (91) in a single tournament, and his back-to-back game-winning shots in the quarterfinal and semifinal games in 2002 are still fondly remembered by fans of the Black and Gold.
Fifteen years have passed since Recker led Iowa to its second-straight appearance in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game, and the former Hawkeye is still in the Iowa City area — laying down roots with his family, growing in his career and cheering on the Black and Gold.
Recker, 38, lives in Coralville with his wife, Megan, and two children and works as a Regional Manager for Stryker Instruments. He has spent the last seven years at the medical device company, working with surgeons and hospitals to provide technology that aids in procedures for neuro, spine and ENT (ear, nose and throat). He previously served as the sales representative for the state of Iowa, but in December 2016 was promoted to Regional Manager — overseeing sales in seven states.
“It’s a great industry where I get the opportunity to meet and associate with a lot of different people,” he said. “The medical industry isn’t going anywhere. It has evolved quickly with new technology and it’s a chance to change people’s lives in a positive manner.”
The former Indiana “Mr. Basketball” played his first two seasons of college hoops for Bob Knight’s Hoosiers before electing to transfer to Arizona in 1999. But in July 1999, Recker was one of more than a dozen people involved in a devastating car accident with a drunk driver. He recovered from his injuries, but decided to transfer again before ever playing a game at Arizona, opting to return to the Midwest and be a Hawkeye.
Recker said he doesn’t think about the accident anymore, but noted it has helped shape him as a person by making him more humble and thankful for each day.
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“I made a few stops in my college career, and when I think about my time at Iowa I think about everything that had to happen for me to get here,” he said. “The adversity I faced with the car accident led me to this wonderful place that I now call home. So many things had to occur for me to become a Hawkeye and I’m thankful for how everything turned out. I’m certainly a Hawkeye for life — having the opportunity to represent the people of Iowa and the University was fantastic.”
On the court, Recker became one of the Hawkeyes top scoring threats, averaging 17.5 points per game in his two seasons at Iowa. He led the team in scoring during his senior campaign in 2002 and his record-setting performance in the Big Ten Tournament landed him a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Few expected the Hawkeyes to make a run in the 2002 Big Ten Tournament. The team went 5-11 in the Big Ten during the regular season and entered postseason play with just one win in its last seven games. But the ninth-seeded Iowa squad rattled off three straight wins thanks to game-winning shots by Recker against top-seeded Wisconsin in the quarterfinals and Indiana in the semis before falling to Ohio State in the title game.
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“To win against Wisconsin on a last second shot and do the same thing against Indiana the next day was pretty special,” he said. “Beating Indiana was especially emotional for me having played there, and having taken some criticism for leaving there. It’s fun now to see my kids watch highlights of those games.”
After Iowa, he spent seven years playing professional hoops, including stints in the NBA D-League and internationally in Italy and Spain. But since his playing days at Carver-Hawkeye arena, Iowa has continued to hold a special place in Recker’s heart. He met his wife at the University of Iowa and the couple always dreamed of returning to The Hawkeye State to start a family.
“It’s such a wonderful community to raise a family,” he said. “The people make it a very special place to live, and being around the University of Iowa provides easy access to athletic and cultural events. There’s so many wonderful things in this community that we thought it was a no-brainer to put some roots down and hopefully be here for a long time.”
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Family means everything to Recker. The majority of his time away from work is spent with his wife Megan and their 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. His main focus and his goals in life now revolve around them — and the former Hawkeye couldn’t be happier.
“Personally my goal is to be the best father and husband I can be,” he said. “At the end of the day that’s the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life. From a work perspective I want to continue to develop and grow in the business world. I love the company and the people I work with. I just want to continue to enjoy life. We’re very fortunate and blessed, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”