Iowa men’s basketball forward Jack Nunge to transfer

Nunge cited his desire to play closer to his home in Newburgh, Indiana, as the reasoning for his departure.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa forward Jack Nunge looks to pass during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Gophers, 86-71.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa men’s basketball forward Jack Nunge has notified the program that he intends to transfer to a school closer to his home in Newburgh, Indiana, after the 2021 spring semester.

Nunge’s father, Mark Nunge, died unexpectedly at the age of 53 on Nov. 28. Three months later, Nunge tore the meniscus in his right knee, his second season-ending knee injury in as many seasons.

“This has been an incredibly emotional and difficult year for me and my family,” Nunge said in a release. “I want to transfer to a school closer to home so I can be near my mother and siblings. I have nothing but fond memories of the University of Iowa, my teammates, coaches and fans these past four years.

“I sincerely appreciate Hawkeye Nation’s overwhelming support during my time in Iowa City. I wish my teammates the best of luck in the future and appreciate everything the University of Iowa has done for me.”

The fourth-year sophomore played in 22 games for the Hawkeyes last season before he suffered his knee injury, averaging 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game off the bench.

Nunge started 13 games his freshman season in 2017-18. After redshirting the 2018-19 season, Nunge tore the ACL in his right knee in his fifth game of the 2019-20 season.

Nunge finishes his Hawkeye career having appeared in 60 games (19 starts).

In a conversation with coach Fran McCaffery on Tuesday, Nunge informed the program of his intent to transfer. Nunge’s name has officially entered the transfer portal and he will be immediately eligible to play with two seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school.

“No person should ever have to go through what Jack has endured the last 16 months and my heart aches for him,” McCaffery said in a release. “Jack expressed his desire to continue his education and complete his eligibility at a school closer to his family. My staff and I fully support his decision and will help every way possible with his transition. Jack is beloved and respected by everyone in our program and has been a valuable teammate the past four years.”

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Nunge — who could have started for Iowa next season — is another departure from last season’s Hawkeye team. Senior Luka Garza’s time in the Black and Gold came to an end with the team’s loss to Oregon in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Another senior, fifth-year point guard Jordan Bohannon, was also thought to have wrapped up his Iowa career. But Bohannon said in a Twitter post Tuesday that he will return to Iowa for another season — which he can do because the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to athletes because of the pandemic — if the Iowa state senate passes Senate File 245.

If the bill were to pass, Iowa colleges and universities could not prevent athletes from receiving compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness.

A return may still be unlikely to happen, as Bohannon, the program’s all-time leader in 3-pointers and assists, said the bill is “looking like it will die Thursday.”

Joe Wieskamp may have also played his last game at Iowa. The junior second-team All-Big Ten shooting guard has declined to address whether he will return for his senior season at Iowa or move on to the NBA.

The Hawkeyes entered last season ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Poll and finished the season with a record of 22-9 after losing to the Ducks in the Round of 32. After Nunge’s departure, freshman center Josh Ogundele is the only true post player on Iowa’s roster.

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