Iowa men’s basketball player Jordan Bohannon explains decision to come back for sixth season

Bohannon said the departure of guard CJ Fredrick via the transfer portal opened the door for him to return to Iowa for a sixth season.


© Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 20, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Jordan Bohannon (3) brings the ball up court against the Grand Canyon Antelopes during the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Chloe Peterson, Sports Reporter

When sophomore guard CJ Frederick entered the transfer portal on April 19, point guard Jordan Bohannon saw an opportunity to return to the University of Iowa for his sixth season in the Black and Gold.

In a virtual news conference with reporters Tuesday, Bohannon said he originally was not going to take advantage of the free year of eligibility the NCAA gave all its winter sports athletes because of COVID-19.

Bohannon said he did not want to steal any opportunities from sophomore guard Joe Toussaint in 2021-22.

“One of the reasons why I kind of made the decision early on that I wasn’t going to come back is because I didn’t want to impact Joe Toussaint and his development as a player,” Bohannon said. “I wanted him to get back to, or go into the spotlight he had when I was injured [in the 2019-20 season] and go into that point guard role and help the guys around him become a better basketball player.”

“CJ’s decision definitely played somewhat a part,” Bohannon added. “My ability to move off the ball, and not have to worry about if I came back, that I’d impact Joe Toussaint’s trajectory as a player in college … So, CJ’s decision to decide to transfer reopened that gate.”

As a freshman, Toussaint started at point guard for most of the 2019-20 season, as Bohannon played ten games and then redshirted to undergo hip surgery.

With Bohannon back on the court in 2020-21, Toussaint worked primarily from the bench, playing 348 minutes on the season.

In 2019-20, Toussaint played 553 minutes.

To account for Toussaint on the court next season, Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery is planning to move Bohannon out of the true point guard spot — the “1” —  and into the combo guard spot — the “2.”

“[McCaffery] wants me to be more of a combo guard,” Bohannon said. “So, I would start at the ‘2’ this year, and let Toussaint take over that role of being the point guard and running the team that way.”

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Next season, Bohannon will provide the Hawkeyes with some much-needed veteran leadership and depth.

Luka Garza, the 2020-21 consensus National Player of the Year, will not return to Iowa next season as he begins to pursue a career in professional basketball.

Like Fredrick, 6-foot-11 sophomore Jack Nunge elected to transfer from Iowa at the end of the 2020-21 season. Nunge landed at Xavier, noting he made the decision to transfer with proximity to his family in mind.

Guard Joe Wieskamp’s future at Iowa is also unknown, as he is currently working through the 2021 NBA Draft process.

With the departures of Garza, Nunge, Fredrick, and potentially Wieskamp, McCaffery made the pitch for Bohannon’s return.

“I definitely want to provide leadership to those young guys,” Bohannon said. “… Fran basically was re-recruiting me these past two weeks, which is very weird because, you know, I’m 23 years old and I’m being re-recruited to be back in college … I really wasn’t planning to come back, but a couple things happened, and things kind of fell in line for my opportunity to come back.”

In making his decision, Bohannon leaned on his family. All three of his older brothers played NCAA Division I basketball. Jason and Zach Bohannon played at Wisconsin from 2007-10 and 2013-14, respectively, and Matt Bohannon played at the University of Northern Iowa from 2012-16.

“My family played a huge impact on me deciding what I decided,” Jordan Bohannon said. “All my brothers said, looking down the line — even Jason, the oldest one in our family, he was saying that if he had a chance to go back for one more year of college, he would do it in a heartbeat.”

So, Bohannon’s plans to take his game to the professional level will wait another year, as he goes through his final season as a Hawkeye.

“Myself and Connor [McCaffery’s] leadership, Keegan [Murray] has been through the ropes already this season by playing a lot of minutes as a freshman,” Bohannon said. “I think what we have is a great combination of leaders as well as young talent that can make an impact, and I think that will be really exciting for Hawkeye fans to watch.”

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