Iowa basketball continues dry spell in NBA Draft

Tyler Cook didn’t hear his name called in the 2019 NBA Draft, continuing Iowa’s rough stretch in the event.


Katina Zentz

Iowa forward Tyler Cook dunks the ball during the NCAA game against Tennessee at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The Volunteers defeated the Hawkeyes 83-77 in overtime.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

For the fourth year in a row, no Iowa basketball player heard his name called during the NBA Draft.

Instead, Tyler Cook, Iowa’s only player who entered the draft, signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Denver Nuggets, the Gazette’s Mike Hlas has reported.

Cook, however, will be unable to play in Summer League after suffering a high ankle sprain in a pre-draft workout and will have to settle for an invitation to Denver’s preseason training camp, Hlas reported.

Cook’s not being selection continues Iowa’s dry spell in an event in which Hawkeyes once enjoyed plenty of success.

Iowa has only had three players selected since 1999 — Adam Haluska in 2007, Devyn Marble in 2014, and Aaron White in 2015.

Haluska played one season in the NBA, and Marble played two. White, however, does not have an NBA season under his belt. All three were second-round picks.

Iowa’s draft success in the 2000s took a sharp turn from what it was in the ’80s and ’90s.

The Hawkeyes had five picks in the 1990s, including first-rounders Acie Earl and Ricky Davis in 1993 and 1998, respectively. The five draftees have a combined 31 years of service in the league, with 12 from Davis and 10 from Ryan Bowen, a second-round pick of the Denver Nuggets in 1998.

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Davis scored at least 15 points a game in seven seasons, with three more than 19 per game and one more than 20.

In the 1980s, Iowa had even more success. The Hawkeyes had 20 players drafted in the decade, with B.J. Armstrong and Roy Marble getting selected in the first round.

Ten former Hawkeyes heard their name called from 1985-89, meaning Iowa had more players chosen in the NBA Draft in those five seasons than it has had in the past 29.

Bobby Hansen, Brad Lohaus, and Armstrong each played in the league for at least nine seasons, and Armstrong racked up three NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls from 1991-93 as a teammate of Michael Jordan.

Iowa also sent eight players to the NBA in the 1970s.

There are clearly stark contrasts among the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s in Iowa basketball. Cook proved to be one of Fran McCaffery’s best recruits, yet he couldn’t find a spot among the 60 players drafted on June 20.

Joe Wieskamp, who worked out with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics while testing the NBA Draft waters this past season, could be Iowa’s next best chance at producing an NBA Draft pick.

With the departures the Hawkeyes have faced in the offseason, Wieskamp will be pushed into a leadership position entering next season.

If he keeps stringing together impressive performances, as he did during his freshman campaign, he could be the next Hawkeye to hear his name called in the NBA Draft.

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