Bohannon bounces back against SIUE after hip surgery

Iowa's Jordan Bohannon has been through a lot in the past five months, but he's showing the pain was worth it on the floor.

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Bohannon bounces back against SIUE after hip surgery

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon attempts a 3-pointer during a men's basketball game between Iowa and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cougars, 87-60. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon attempts a 3-pointer during a men's basketball game between Iowa and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cougars, 87-60. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon attempts a 3-pointer during a men's basketball game between Iowa and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cougars, 87-60. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Shivansh Ahuja

Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon attempts a 3-pointer during a men's basketball game between Iowa and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cougars, 87-60. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

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Coming into the season, no one knew if Jordan Bohannon would grace the floor for the Iowa men’s basketball team at all during the season.

He underwent hip surgery in May, putting his season in jeopardy after helping the Hawkeyes to the second round of the NCAA Tournament just three months prior.

Bohannon averaged 11.6 points and 3.4 assists per game last season while shooting at a 38.3 percent clip from beyond the arc.

That’s why it was such a big deal when Bohannon knocked down his first shot attempt of the season on a 3-pointer from the left corner in Iowa’s 87-60 season-opening win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Friday.

“It felt like a lot of the work and adversity and everything I went through was lifted off my shoulders,” Bohannon said. “That was kind of the deal with the last shot I made in the exhibition, the very first one — kind of the same thing. I was able to get some more rhythm down, get some young guys involved, and just try to contribute as much as I can.”

While up 26-22 with just under four minutes remaining in the first half, Connor McCaffery found Bohannon sitting wide open in the left corner.

With the defense slow to close, Bohannon pulled the trigger, doing what he does best: draining shots from 3-point land.

What followed was a loud pop from the crowd, which has been by Bohannon’s side through his journey.

“That’s so cool to have Iowa fans like that,” Bohannon said. “I think they know the struggle and adversity I went through. Obviously, having hip surgery is nothing compared to what a lot of people are going through, so I’m thankful for them to kind of realize that struggle I had.”

Bohannon finished the game with nine points on 2-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes of action. He also dished out four assists, including a dime to C.J. Fredrick that cut ahead of the Cougar defense.

Bohannon tied for the team lead with his four dimes, another sign that Iowa is a much more cohesive team when he’s on the floor.

“He’s just a leader out there,” Iowa forward Joe Wieskamp said. “I think he just makes everyone feel more comfortable, especially me just playing with him all last season. He just has this presence about him that makes you feel comfortable out there.”

Despite the uncertainty that surrounded Bohannon entering the season, he hasn’t changed who he is as a player, and it’s showed in the times he’s taken the floor.

“He had a really good week practice-wise,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s being aggressive and taking shots. He’s so rock-solid with the ball. He gives us so much versatility because he can play three different guard spots.”

Just as he did in Iowa’s exhibition game against Lindsey Wilson College on Monday, Bohannon entered the game as Iowa’s sixth man.

A key difference is the scoring load doesn’t solely on him in that role. Instead, other players can get off to a hot start, allowing Bohannon to settle in once he checks in.

That’s exactly what happened Friday with Luka Garza and Wieskamp.

Garza scored 20 points and Wieskamp added 16, as both made life difficult for the Cougar defense in the early minutes.

“I think that helps a lot, too, knowing the kind of adversity I went through these past five months and not being able to come back and have to worry about [scoring],” Bohannon said. “Because I’m still not sure what I might be able to do toward the end of the 15 games where I have to make a decision on redshirting or not.

“Luka and Joe, they were phenomenal tonight. They did what they should do. They played like veterans. They went out, and they cheered for their teammates, and that’s what it’s all about. To have guys like that you can lean on to, it’s really important.”

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