Jordan Bohannon brings swagger to No. 3 Iowa men’s basketball team

The senior point guard sees the Hawkeyes as the best team in the nation and expects to see that portrayed in the rankings soon enough.


David Harmantas

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon #3 pushes the ball up court during a basketball game against Michigan State on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes 82-67.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Jordan Bohannon never hides his confidence, whether that’s hoisting up deep 3’s on the court or speaking honestly off of it. That was no different Wednesday on an Iowa men’s basketball Zoom conference.

Monday’s AP poll ranked Iowa as the third-best team in the country, two spots up from its preseason position in the poll. Bohannon, the Hawkeyes’ starting point guard, sees another boost in the rankings coming.

“I still think we’re number one,” Bohannon said. “And I think we will be pretty soon here in the next couple weeks.”

The 6-foot-1 fifth-year senior, who missed all but 10 games last season because of hip surgery, is now fully healthy. With Bohannon back on the floor, Iowa has another shooting threat, as well as a brash leader.

Leaving his shoes on the court in Ames after defeating Iowa State and staring down crowds across the Big Ten after hitting clutch shots has earned Bohannon a reputation, but one that he embraces.

“I consider myself really confident on the floor, and people might say that I’m cocky at times,” he said. “But I think that’s what’s great about basketball is you can kind of have that thin line that you can cross from being cocky and confident. I’ll continue to bring that swagger to this team, and I think a lot of guys can feed off that.”

The next team up for Iowa on its way to achieving Bohannon’s prediction is Western Illinois.

The Hawkeyes and the Leathernecks tip off at 7 p.m. Thursday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in a game that Iowa is heavily favored to win. But Bohannon followed up his belief that the Hawkeyes are the best team in the country with the point that it’s important that Iowa continues “the mindset that it’s one game at a time.”

Which is about all Bohannon can say ahead of playing a team that went 5-21 last season.

The Leathernecks haven’t competed yet this season, and have 11 players new to the program on their roster, as well as a new head coach. But looking ahead to the rest of December, Iowa is scheduled to play opponents such as No. 14 North Carolina, Iowa State, currently top-ranked Gonzaga, and three Big Ten teams.

All of those games are opportunities for the Hawkeye to add to their résumé, a résumé that to this point is based more on the team’s potential than what it has accomplished so far this season.

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“Ratings are what fans and people talk about,” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “It’s a conversation piece. Does it really matter where you’re ranked the first week of December? Probably not. It probably should be something talked about more toward the end of the [season] because that’s a reflection of your body of work.”

Iowa jumped up to No. 3 — the teams highest ranking in nearly five years — in the poll following losses by Villanova and Virginia in the opening week of the season. The Hawkeyes are 2-0 after victories over North Carolina Central and Southern.

“I think it’s cool that we’re ranked this high,” Bohannon said. “It’s a testament to the work we’ve put in these last couple years as we’ve tried to build ourselves to this point. Having the best player in the country in Luka Garza is definitely an advantage for us.”

Bohannon has 11 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds in Iowa’s first two games. His 513 career assists rank sixth in program history, and he’s also contributed 11.6 points per game and hit 40.1 percent of his shots from beyond the 3-point arc in his Hawkeye career.

With the National Player of the Year favorite leading the way statistically, and Joe Wieskamp — another member of the John Wooden Award watch list — also in the Black and Gold, Bohannon may not stand out on the stat sheet at times.

But his confidence is always apparent.

“I think we’re going to go 1-an-0 — how many are we going to play? — 35 times,” the guard said. “So, we’ll go 1-and-0 35 times. That’s the goal.”