Highlights from Iowa basketball’s press conference

A few members of the Iowa basketball program spoke prior to their practice on Thursday.


Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon speaks to the press during the Iowa press conference at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, March 21, 2019. The Hawkeyes will compete against the Cincinnati Bearcats tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Iowa’s Fran McCaffery, Jordan Bohannon, Tyler Cook, and Nicholas Baer all took to the podium on Thursday to field questions ahead of their NCAA Tournament battle with Cincinnati on Friday at 11:15 a.m.

Bohannon on how a tough Big Ten schedule prepared Iowa for the tournament:

“We have eight teams in the NCAA Tournament this year. So that says a lot about what it’s like day to day in the Big Ten. It’s tough to even get a win at home against any Big Ten team. So traveling and away games is going to prepare us for these neutral-site games. And I think our team’s always done pretty well at neutral sites. We’re really looking forward until tomorrow.”

Cook on the difference between a typical road game and NCAA Tournament prep:

“I think the energy has been different. We’re in kind of uncharted territory for myself and Jordan at least. We haven’t been to the tournament yet in our careers. And I speak for most of us when I say that, with the exception of Nicholas. But it’s just been very exciting for us. When Jordan said, when we saw or heard our name called on Sunday, we were all ecstatic. Once we got to work, it just really felt different than the regular season, which it is. So I think like the new energy that comes along with the postseason will serve us well.”

Baer on NCAA Tournament experience:

“I wouldn’t say you necessarily have to have tournament experience. I know a lot of guys on this team it’s the first time going to the NCAA Tournament. But I think there’s certain things you need to be able to do in March that are going to be keys to succeed and to advance. And being able to execute, like, under pressure and being able to stick to your defensive rules, I think those are more important things than having the experience. This is obviously a very unique atmosphere but at the same time a lot of these guys are preparing for this moment their whole lives, and that’s why you come to Iowa and that’s why you play at this level is to play on this platform.”

Cook on his history with Cincinnati’s Jarron Cumberland:

“We don’t have like a super close relationship or anything like that. I met him in Chicago at the Nike Global games. I believe it was my junior year at high school. We played on the same team together. It was me, him… Nick Ward. He played well. It was the first time I saw him play and first time I met him. And from then I knew he would be a really good player, which he is today. That’s the first time I’ve seen him play.”

McCaffery on his relationship with Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin:

“It started many years ago before he even got into this business. I was at Notre Dame and he was a very young coach, and got to know him then and over the years obviously we crossed paths. But we spent a lot of time a few years ago at the Final Four when my son Patrick was sick. That was in 2013 when he was diagnosed with cancer. We have a lot of mutual friends. We talk periodically and so we’re on the road. We spend time together, go out to dinner, that type of thing. Just a coach that I have tremendous respect for — how he does it. I think he is a guy that has great respect for the game and has had an interesting path to the success where he is. He grinded his way up. And that’s kind of who he is. So I would say he’s a dear friend in this business and somebody that I have tremendous respect for.”

McCaffery on preparing to coach against someone he’s familiar with:

“I think it’s about the same [as someone new] simply because we don’t see a lot of teams in that league. We don’t watch them as much. I kind of follow him because of my friendship with him and hope he does well. But it wasn’t until now that we really studied his program. I kind of know they defend, they rebound. They have a toughness about them that’s somewhat unique. But I’ve been really impressed with how they share the basketball. Even with Cumberland shooting as many shots as he shoots, he gives it up easy. He has 123 assists. So I think that’s kind of the beauty of this tournament. You’re playing teams that sort of know you but don’t know you as well because we’re grinding so hard with a 20-game Big Ten schedule.”