Sunday Morning Read: Dreaming of Wadley-Butler, and Ricky Davis Returns!

July 9, 2017

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

The thought of Akrum Wadley and recently acquired James Butler in the same Hawkeye backfield has us giddy.

This is college sports’ unofficial dead time. That period when nothing notable is supposed to happen outside of high school recruits pretending we care that they’ve received their 23rd offer and that they’ve narrowed their top choice to nine schools.

But this Butler acquisition is huge for Iowa. It holds major ramifications for the Big Ten’s West Division. If the Hawkeyes don’t have anyone to throw the ball to, at least they’ve loaded up their backfield enough to strike fear into any sensible defensive coordinator.

Wadley, already one of the most elusive running backs in the Big Ten, now gets to play alongside Butler, one of the most elusive running backs in all of college football.

As college football fans, we’re allowed to dream. So let’s dream. Potentially, the Wadley-Butler combo has the potential to be more explosive than Wadley-LeShun Daniels, or Albert Young-Damien Sims. Potentially, the Wadley-Butler combo is Iowa’s best backfield since Sedrick Shaw-Tavian Banks in the mid-1990s.

Let’s not worry about getting ahead of ourselves. Overly rational folks will complain, “Let’s wait and see what happens on the field this fall. It’s too soon to get excited.” Which is BS, of course, because if you can’t excited about Wadley-Butler, as a fan what can you get excited about? Getting excited feels good. Hope is real. Anticipation is half the fun! Why else would anyone buy those odd college football preview magazines that come out in March?

Could the Hawkeyes stink this fall? Could Iowa’s decimated receiving corps be so bad and so shallow that opponents stack the box and render Wadley-Butler ineffective? Sure. Of course that could happen.

Opportunities such as what Iowa has in its backfield, however, come around only so often in college football, so if someone can’t get excited about two potential 1,200-yard rushers, well, I don’t know if there’s anything anyone can tell you to help you change your mind.

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Former Iowa basketball player Ricky Davis resumed his professional career recently in the Big3, a half-court, 3-on-3 basketball league featuring some notable retired NBA stars, including Allen Iverson and Chauncey Billups.

Davis is co-captain of a team called the Ghost Ballers. His 12-year NBA career spanned six different franchises, and while he scored a lot of points – nearly 10,000 for his career – he was known more as a stat hog than a team player. (Davis famously went out of his way to secure a triple-double while a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.)

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His Ghost Baller bio ends with this hysterical line: “His 2000 NBA All Star dunk contest appearance against Vince Carter remains one of the most watched contests to this day.”

Carter’s 2000 dunk-contest performance ranks among the most iconic in the history of the contest, alongside earlier performances by Dr. J and Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. Check it out on YouTube. The 2000 contest also included future hall of famer Tracy McGrady and one-time stars Jerry Stackhouse and Steve Francis. Framing the contest as one between Vince Carter and Ricky Davis is like saying Raiders of the Lost Ark is a great movie starring Harrison Ford and Tony Vogel (look it up).

Anyway, Ricky Davis is back, Hawkeye fans. Check him out while you can. And – no sarcasm intended – the Big3 league is actually kind of fun.

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After an eight-game dry spell, former Iowa baseball player Jake Adams finally hit his third homer for the Class A Tri-City ValleyCats on Thursday night.

He’s gone 5-for-19 over his last four games to raise his average from .176 to .208 and man I can’t wait for college football to hurry up and get here.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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