By Pete Ruden
The tweets flow into Jordan Bohannon’s mentions on what seems like a daily basis. Messages of undeserved hate and insults are hurled at the sophomore point guard day in and day out.
He’s undeserving because Bohannon continually gave his best to the team and its fans, putting up solid numbers throughout the season, despite increased attention from opposing defenses.
This season, Bohannon averaged 13.5 points per game, good for second on the team behind Tyler Cook, and 5.4 assists per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten. He also shot 43 percent from behind the arc and 90 percent from the charity stripe.
His stats are up from last season in all of those categories, proof that he continues to play with the fearlessness that brought him to Iowa — something he didn’t always think he could do.
“I did a lot of wondering even before Coach [Fran] McCaffery gave me this opportunity to play here; I even had doubt in myself that I could play at this level,” Bohannon said at the team’s media day in October.
“It took a lot of prayer, a lot of working every day just to realize I can do this.”
Perhaps the best example of Bohannon giving his all was the game after one of his worst performances of the season. Against Penn State on Feb. 3, Bohannon had only 3 points on three shot attempts, which is not enough for an offensive catalyst.
It was later revealed, though, that Bohannon was battling an illness, which made him a game-time decision against No. 4 Michigan State the following Tuesday.
Bohannon came through on Feb. 6 with a “flu game” of his own, dropping 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting from deep and 6 assists, even though he was not completely healthy.
That performance gave fans a glimpse of the type of competitor the Linn-Mar product really is.
“He’s always been a tough kid, so I knew when he hit the floor tonight, he was going to be at his best and give it 100 percent,” Cook said after the game. “That’s the kind of guy he’s been since the day I met him. I’m so proud of the way he came out and played today through what was going on in his body … I don’t know a lot of guys that could’ve done that tonight.”
He also showed what it means to be a Hawkeye in a story that made national headlines.
In a game against Northwestern on Feb. 25, Bohannon tied the record of legendary Hawkeye Chris Street, who died in a car accident 25 years ago, with 34-consecutive free throws.
What happened next exemplifies what Bohannon is about: selflessness and believing there are things more important than basketball.
Bohannon pointed to the sky and intentionally missed his next foul shot to honor Street.
With a 14-19 record, the season didn’t go the way the Hawkeyes wanted. But Bohannon gave his all — a version of himself that is much better than what the overall record shows.
“The circumstances under which a family member of ours is taken from us, we remember that,” McCaffery said. “I didn’t know he was going to do it. He points to the sky and missed it; it says a lot about him.”