It was a low-stakes, highly gratifying week for the Hawkeyes, one of those weeks when we just kind of walk around with a half-smile permanently plastered across our faces. Ten sentences to commemorate nothing horrible happening:
1. It’s not something that leads SportsCenter, nor will it be the first or third or fifth thing out of our mouths whenever we’re able to safely gather again to talk about and argue over Hawkeye sports, but it is worth noting that last week the University of Iowa’s athletes once again performed well academically (don’t laugh: this matters).
2. Sixty-nine Hawkeye athletes were named to the Big Ten’s winter academic all-conference team; Iowa athletic director Gary Barta and his staff correctly point out how Iowa’s athletes regularly finish among the nation’s best academically, and he’s right – with the stupid amount of time NCAA athletes are required to devote to training for sports, the ability to find time to turn in homework at all, much less pull high grades, deserves a round of applause.
3. OK, applause over – let’s move on.
4. One of life’s little pleasures is when you stumble across praise for the Hawkeyes, either directly or indirectly, from someone without any professional or emotional ties to the university, such as when ESPN’s Mina Kimes dropped this reaction Thursday to watching game film on the 2019 Denver Broncos:
gonna sit on my thoughts re: Lock for a bit but I’ll say this—Noah Fant ????
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) May 15, 2020
5. Noah Fant’s name randomly popping up in my Twitter timeline brought a smile to my face, and not just because Kimes, who along with Adrian Wojnarowski and Scott Van Pelt is one of the most important personalities at ESPN (and therefore all of sports media) happened to be the one who sent the tweet.
6. It also gave me the warm fuzzies because, honestly, I’ve been worried about Fant’s NFL potential since his final year at Iowa, when his performance oscillated between tight end with Hall of Fame potential and tight end known for easy drops and brain farts.
7. He was only 21 then, so really it probably isn’t fair to entirely pass judgment on any college student’s professional potential at that stage of their career, or pre-career; imagine telling an electrical engineering major she’ll never lead a team at Dell Laboratories because she flubbed an easy question on an exam during her junior year.
8. And as if that wasn’t enough happy Hawkeye news for one week, along came word that not one, but two men’s basketball players – Jordan Bohannon and Jack Nunge – were granted hardship waivers by the Big Ten, meaning last year’s lost seasons to injury are no longer losses, but mere detours during their college careers.
9. I am so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so excited to get another year of Bohannon in a Hawkeye uniform – not just because we’ve been showing his Instagram ball-handling drills to one of our kids during social distancing, but because the thought of him re-joining the Hawkeye offense alongside made-the-leap Luka Garza is nearly too much for me to emotionally handle; and Nunge, well, I have vague memories of him having potential, but it’s been so long since we’ve seen him play that he almost feels like a new recruit, and we wish him nothing but good health.
10. Lastly, we got this gem from Travis Kvach, which I will watch daily for the rest of my life:
Found what MJ was really laughing at pic.twitter.com/2UyTNTtkJe
— Travis Kvach (@traviskvach7) May 11, 2020
• Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.