Bohannon dazzles as a newbie

Each year, the Daily Iowan Sports staff votes on a number of awards. Newcomer of the Year, Coach of the Year, Female Athlete of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year, and Team of the Year are awarded. Today, we hand out the Newcomer of the Year award.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon attempts a layup during a men's basketball first round National Invitation Tournament game against South Dakota in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Coyotes, 87-75. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Jordan Bohannon didn’t enter the basketball season as the top player to watch.

Peter Jok’s senior season and the arrival of high-profile recruit Tyler Cook dominated preseason headlines, overshadowing the 6-foot, 182-pound point guard, who came off the bench for the first six games.

A lot can change during one season, however, and Bohannon is The Daily Iowan’s Newcomer of the Year.

Bohannon earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Freshman Team and finished as one of two freshmen nationally to record 175 or more assists and 85 or more 3-pointers in the last 25 years. He also broke Iowa’s single-season freshman record for made 3-pointers (89) and freshmen record for assists in a season (175).

When he finally got his turn in the starting rotation, he did not disappoint observers. Instead, he gave Hawkeye fans a taste of his sharpshooting ability.

Iowa traveled to South Bend, Indiana, for the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Nov. 29, but before tip-off, the Hawkeyes announced major changes to their starting lineup: Bohannon, Cordell Pemsl, and Isaiah Moss received their first college starts against Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish toppled the Hawkeyes, 92-78, but the freshmen, specifically Bohannon, found their way into the national spotlight.

The Marion native scored 23 points (up until this game, he had never scored more than 8) on 7-of-15 3-pointers, keeping the score manageable in an up-tempo battle.

He also committed only 1 turnover in his 32 minutes of action.

In Iowa’s next game, Bohannon drilled 6 3-pointers in a loss to Omaha.

In two of Iowa’s biggest wins of the season, the 3-point specialist came up clutch.

Iowa hosted No. 24 Iowa State for the annual Cy-Hawk series, and a deep 3-pointer from Bohannon sealed Iowa’s victory.

It was a crucial play in a statement game.

Bohannon possesses the intangibles that freshmen shouldn’t have; just ask Wisconsin.

No. 21 Wisconsin led 57-56 with fewer than 20 seconds left when Peter Jok pulled up from the free-throw line, attempting the go-ahead jump shot. His miss clanked off the front iron.

Pemsl secured the offensive board and kicked it out to Bohannon, parked outside the 3-point line. The freshman canned the triple, putting Iowa ahead, 59-57.

The Badgers missed their final shot, giving the Hawkeyes their first win in Madison since 2011 and their fourth victory in the Kohl Center in program history.

There’s a difference between a good shooter and a hot shooter; Bohannon, who fueled Iowa’s 83-69 victory at No. 24 Maryland, couldn’t miss, hitting 8 of his first 9 3-pointers.

“We all know he can shoot,” Jok said after the game. “We just told him to keep shooting.”

Aside from knocking down the most 3-pointers in a single game by a freshman in school history (one make shy of the school record for anybody), he also dished out 5 assists and turned the ball over only twice.

Bohannon recorded three-straight double-doubles to conclude Iowa’s season.

In the Hawkeyes’ loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament, Bohannon scored 24 points and tallied 10 assists.

His first college postseason action came in the NIT. Against South Dakota (19 points, 11 assists) and TCU (25 points, 13 assists), he proved to be arguably the most impactful Hawkeye on the court.

His marks against the Horned Frogs were career highs.

“He’s a tough guy,” McCaffery said after the Hawkeyes’ win over South Dakota. “He’s also really smart. He knows who’s with him and how to get those guys the ball, what we need to be done. It makes a difference for everybody out there when you have a guy that thinks like that.”

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