The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye guard Brock Harding provides huge spark as playmaker as Iowa tops Alabama State

The first-year cored five points and tallied a team-high seven assists in 15 minutes of play against the Hornets on Friday.
Carly Schrum
Iowa Guard Brock Harding shoots a three with a defender in his face during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Alabama State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hornets 98-67. Harding had seven assists against the Hornets

First-year guard Brock Harding finished with five points and a team-high seven assists in 15 minutes as Iowa men’s basketball earned a 98-67 victory over Alabama State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday. In just 26 regular-season minutes donning the Black and Gold, Harding as 14 assists. 

Harding’s presence was immediately felt the moment he checked into the game. He came up with a steal on his first defensive possession and would score on a floater in the lane the next minute. 

The very next possession after his first score, Harding came up with another steal that led to second-year guard Josh Dix’s fast-break layup off Harding’s assist on the other end. He would continue to find his teammates on offense as he would set up grad forward Ben Krikke for back-to-back and-one layups. The Hawkeyes went on a 10-5 run in Harding’s first three minutes into the game.

Harding put on a show in the second half. He would check in the game around the midway point in the second half and immediately put points up on the board with a pull-up three in transition. After going silent for a couple of minutes, Harding would provide the play of the game with an alley-oop assist to first-year forward and high school teammate Owen Freeman.

He would then put on a passing clinic, throwing three no-look dimes to three different teammates for wide-open dunks and layups. 

“Our coaches are great at watching film – watch film of the team that we’re playing so I can kind of see where I think spots are gonna be opened going into the game,” Harding said in his postgame media availability. “We got a lot of guys scoring the ball … We got shooters all around and it makes my job easier as a point guard itself.”

Even after a stellar performance, the point guard refused to settle. After his press conference, he was on the court with an assistant coach running drills and putting up shots postgame. In the Hawkeyes’ previous contest against North Dakota, Harding finished with a minus-one plus-minus rating but was also seen alone on the court working out afterward. 

Such work ethic, regardless of individual performance, does not go unnoticed by Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. 

“He’s really smart, that’s just who he is,” McCaffery said of Harding. “He has a really keen ability to be on the bench, watch the game, and figure out what he needs to do when he comes in to affect the game in a positive way. He will never be tentative. He can’t spell ‘tentative,’ and that’s what I love about him.”

The McCaffery family has known Harding for many years prior to his days as an Iowa basketball player. Despite the lack of size, McCaffery believed that the six-foot guard would be a special player down the road with growth. He described Harding as a player who “had that kind of feel as a youngster with creative confidence.” 

Son of Fran McCaffery and current Iowa teammate Patrick McCaffery has known Harding since the guard was 11 years old, and over that time, has developed an admiration for the point guard as a player and person. 

“That’s what I love about Brock, just his confidence and his moxie,” Patrick McCaffery said. “I think that’s what you need to play at this level … That’s my guy. I will always be there for him and I’m excited to go to war with him … I’m excited for his future here.”

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About the Contributors
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Carly Schrum, Photojournalist
Carly is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and potentially majoring in sustainability. She works at the Daily Iowan as a photojournalist.