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Schwartz: 10 Sentences – Three Cheers For Joe Toussaint Edition

February 9, 2020

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

Ten sentences to celebrate the most exciting thing about this year’s Hawkeye men’s basketball team not named Luka Garza:

1. My favorite play from Iowa’s 96-72 win Saturday night over Nebraska happened near the end of the first half and, as plays go, it had minimal impact on the game’s result.

2. Joe Toussaint stood in perfect position to secure an offensive rebound when teammate/ogre/basketball superhero Garza came barreling in and smashed into Toussaint in a play that would have been called over-the-back had Toussaint been on the other team rather than Garza’s.

3. Garza went up with the offensive board, got fouled, and scored – and the first guy pumping his fist in celebration was Toussaint, whom Garza had inadvertently treated as roadkill not 3 seconds earlier, and not that we needed a reminder, but Toussaint this season as a freshman has revealed himself as what appears to be an awesome teammate, the kind of player who’s unselfish and talented not because a coach somewhere along the line told him to be unselfish and supportive, but because he genuinely plays the game like someone who would be ecstatic to have a final box score of 0 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds, and the victory.

4. There’s always the chance that what we see on television or at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is not reality, and maybe Toussaint is a decent enough teammate just like anybody else, but I don’t think so; he legitimately seems to get a charge out of watching his teammates succeed and getting to be a part of that.

5. And THEN I thought, man, what Toussaint really needs is a consistent outside jump shot, and THEN I remembered that he’s a freshman, and when Garza and Peter Jok and Aaron White and others were freshmen, there’s a lot they couldn’t do well either – unless your name is Zion, these things take time.

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6. But imagine Toussaint as a 40 percent three-point shooter: Defenders couldn’t play off of him, because then he’d hurt you with a three, but they couldn’t play too far up on him, either, because with his speed he could go around you to find an open teammate or attack the basket.

7. He already has excellent court vision, anticipation, and a high basketball IQ, and we’ve seen him work hard this year to improve his situational decision-making.

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8. The Hawkeye program has benefited from his presence, and in a year in which, justifiably, the bulk of the national attention on this team has gone to Garza suddenly hulking up, from a local perspective it’s vital to acknowledge how much Toussaint means; credit to Fran McCaffery for successfully recruiting him and credit to Toussaint and his teammates for all they do together on the court.

9. Who knows where the Iowa men’s basketball season goes from here, given this program’s tendency to pee down its leg at the Big Ten Tournament yet somehow regroup for semi-successful appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

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10. One thing, however, is certain: this year’s team has found something important – not unique to college basketball, but important: chemistry, and Joe Toussaint appears to have as much to do with that as anyone on the roster.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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