Iowa men’s basketball wins 2021-22 Daily Iowan Men’s Team of the Year

After they were projected to finish ninth in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes won their first conference tournament title since 2006.


Casey Anderson, Sports Reporter

In 2021-22, the Iowa men’s basketball team put together a historic season.

While their run in March Madness was cut short, the Hawkeyes still managed a very successful season that included cutting down the nets after the Big Ten Tournament.

After a 2020-21 campaign led by the Naismith Player of the Year Luka Garza, the 2021-22 season was not expected to be a championship year for the Hawkeyes.

RELATED: Former Iowa men’s basketball player Keegan Murray wins Daily Iowan Male Athlete of the Year

Before the 2021-22 season, Garza was drafted as expected, but to some surprise, Joe Wieskamp also entered the draft and was selected by the San Antonio Spurs.

Two other key Hawkeyes also departed through the transfer portal. Center Jack Nunge and sharpshooter C.J. Fredrick transferred to Xavier and Kentucky respectively, following Iowa’s second-round exit in the 2021 NCAA Tournament

After four of the Hawkeyes’ most reliable players left the program, head coach Fran McCaffery leaned on veteran Jordan Bohannon heading into 2021-22. Bohannon returned to the team for his sixth and final year of NCAA eligibility. In Bohannon’s college career he averaged 11.4 points per game and 3.9 assists.

As the season progressed, the Hawkeyes’ sophomore forward Keegan Murray, who some thought would become a first-team all-conference performer, lived up to expectations.

Going into his sophomore year at Iowa, Murray ended the 2021 season showing signs that he was going to be one of the top players in the Big Ten in 2022. Putting together a season of 23.5 PPG alongside 8.7 rebounds, Murray solidified his name in the upcoming NBA Draft and is projected to be a lottery pick.

After tripling his scoring numbers from 2020-21, Murray was named the Big Ten Tournament’s most outstanding player, Power Forward of the Year, and a finalist for the Wooden Award.

Murray’s 23.5 points per game ranked fourth nationally and he became only the second player in NCAA men’s basketball history to score over 800 points, record 60 blocks, and make 60 3-pointers in a single season. Kevin Durant was the first to accomplish that feat.

It remains very early in the offseason but there are still options for Head Coach Fran McCaffery to consider for the upcoming season.

Looking ahead to the 2022-23 season, the Hawkeyes will likely need players to step up and fill the holes left by Murray and Bohannon. Kris Murray has announced his return to the team for the upcoming season, alongside a progressing Payton Sandfort entering his sophomore year.

Beside Kris Murray and Sandfort, Connor and Patrick McCaffery will be on the court together for the 2022-23 season. Iowa may also turn to the transfer portal to add an experienced player to its roster.

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