Bohannon Can Rest, And Then Make Decision

Jordan Bohannon gestures after making a 3-pointer in Thursday's game at Iowa State. (Reese Strickland/USA Today Sports)

John Bohnenkamp

The headline in the Des Moines Register on Feb. 11, 1999, read, "Re-injured back could finish Settles' career."

Jess Settles, a forward on Iowa's basketball team, was bothered by a back injury during most of his college career.

He played in just three games in what would have been his senior season in 1996-97. Granted a fifth year of eligibility, Settles didn't play at all in the 1997-98 season because of the back.

Settles was then given a rare sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, and played in all of Iowa's games that season until early February.

He injured his back in a loss to Michigan State on Feb. 6, playing just 14 minutes. Four nights later, he sat out a home game against Minnesota, and there were concerns that he had played his final game with the Hawkeyes.

"I don't worry now whether it's the end," Settles said at the time. "It's been bothering me off and on for the last three weeks. Whether I play or not, the team is going to do well."

Settles sat out the Feb. 13 loss to Ohio State but, after getting more time to rest, came off the bench in the Feb. 21 game at Illinois and played 16 minutes, scoring 20 points in a 78-72 win.

Settles started the final six games of the season, averaging 16 points while also averaging 27.2 minutes per game, a key piece for an Iowa team that would reach the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

"Right now, I'm playing the best I've played since I was a kid," Settles said before Iowa's tournament opener against UAB.

Go back, though, to Settles' quote when he got hurt.

"Whether I play or not, the team is going to do well."

Jordan Bohannon, in so many words, said the same thing after the Hawkeyes' 84-68 win at Iowa State on Thursday.

It was Bohannon's 10th game of the season, which means he can't play another game if the senior guard wants to get a medical redshirt season.

Bohannon, trying to come back from offseason hip surgery, admitted he's dealing with significant pain. He has started six games for the Hawkeyes, averaging 25 minutes per game.

He has missed just one game this season — a Nov. 24 home game against Cal Poly — because of hip soreness. It allowed him to rest to play back-to-back games in the Las Vegas Invitational that week, and it allowed him to get to the Iowa State game before reaching his limit.

The Hawkeyes are 8-3 right now, and Bohannon has played a large part in that start.

His shot isn't the best — Bohannon was just 2-of-12 from the field on Thursday.

But he's getting everyone else involved — go back to Monday's 72-52 win over Minnesota, when he didn't score but had 10 assists.

"My mindset coming in was to get this team moving in the right direction," Bohannon said.

Bohannon is enjoying being a part of this team, and the way this season has started. In a lot of ways, that's why Bohannon hasn't made a decision, at least publicly.

He could feel better at some point, he said. Maybe this week, when the Hawkeyes get a little bit of a break for finals week.

He knows his decision doesn't need to be made right away.

The Hawkeyes don't play until a Dec. 21 game against Cincinnati at the United Center in Chicago. After that, Iowa is off again until the Dec. 29 game against Kennesaw State at home. The Hawkeyes then get back into Big Ten play on Jan. 4 against Penn State at Philadelphia.

So there's time to rest, even if Bohannon has to miss a couple of games.

That's why Bohannon wasn't willing to close the door on the season on Thursday night. Not yet.

"Day to day," he said again of the decision.

Bohannon knows that's his only approach.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1

Good recall on Settles' final season.