Iowa Hoops Will Be Better (Part III – Dr. Tom & Europe)

October 1, 2009

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“… the totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the parts…” or paraphrased, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” This oft quoted idea by Aristotle paints a picture representative of this year’s Iowa Basketball team.

Scanning the roster, you’ll find guys that can play multiple positions and while they might not be All-Americans, they are still very, very good ball players. With this in mind, what this Iowa team really needs is a way to transform into a cohesive unit. Given extra time to mesh and some advice from a Hall of Fame coach, anything is possible. Iowa received both of those in their trip overseas and visits from Iowa coaching legend, Dr. Tom Davis.

Summer team trips have their way of helping out a team (barring injury), and for the Hawks it was viewed as their postseason. Several good things came about due to the overseas trip. Anthony Tucker was not only able to get back on the floor in a competitive environment, but he was also able to work at the point guard position, as well. Jarryd Cole was given the opportunity to see how his knee would hold up against international competition. Aaron Fuller, taking a break from the weight room, took the opportunity to show that this team can rebound the basketball. Matt Gatens continued to show his leadership skills on the court. Devan Bawinkel built up the courage to swim in the ocean and maybe, just maybe, that will give him confidence to step inside the 3 point arc to take a shot. Andrew Brommer attempted to prove that he can, in fact, make free throws. John Lickliter received more playing time than he will likely see all year, yet he contributed to the team on several levels.

The extra practice time and games can only help this team gel on the court. More importantly, the main sentiment acquired from a trip like this is camaraderie. Anyone who has taken a trip with a bunch of friends can attest to the fact that you form a close bond with those friends. It’s something that lingers long after the trip is over. After losing several teammates to graduation and transfers, this trip could not have come at a better time. In preparation for the trip, something very exciting happened, in the form of an old coach returning to courtside.

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The concept of Dr. Tom lending a hand on the floor of Carver-Hawkeye arena again is simply amazing in itself. First off, for this to happen it would mean that Dr. Tom was able to let the past remain there and forget and forgive the University for letting his contract expire back in late 90’s. Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to envision Dr. Tom on the court of Carver-Hawkeye. Secondly, it means Coach Lickliter was a humble enough man to seek outside advice from Iowa’s winningest basketball coach. There are far too many egotistical coaches at other programs that would be too big to ask for any sort of advice from a former coach. Somehow, someway, Dr. Tom was back at Iowa giving his advice and teaching Iowa basketball players again. Again, nothing but good can come from this.

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With Dr. Tom’s visit, does that mean next season we will see baseline wrap-around bounce passes, full-court presses, and/or jumpshot passes? Highly unlikely. However, the knowledge acquired from coaching 30+ at the college level, stacking up close to 600 career wins, and being a fixture in the NCAA Tournament is something quite difficult to put a value on.

Aristotle’s quote can be classified under the philosophic concept of strong emergence. With a little help from Dr. Tom and the overseas trip, perhaps this Iowa team can follow that philosophy.

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