ANKENY, Iowa – The Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team faces a monumental challenge at 11 am this morning when they host the #3 team in the country in the Purdue Boilermakers. The Hawkeyes are going to need all the help they can get, and if you happen to be the supersticious, or, dare I say it, religious type then maybe you believe they are in for a little help from above this Saturday morning. The Iowa basketball program will be honoring Chris Street 25 years after his tragic death in a car accident on January 19th, 1993.
There isn’t much that can be said about Chris Street that hasn’t already been said. The young man was the heart and soul of the 1993 Iowa basketball team when he passed. He epitomized what it meant to be an Iowa basketball player. He was a fan favorite because he grew up working on the farm in small town Iowa. He was a tough, hard-working kid, who treated people with respect and did things the right way. He perfectly represented everything that makes Iowans great, and when he was on the basketball court he was a fierce competitor who was relentless with his effort.
Make no mistake, the Iowa basketball team has its hands full with the #3 Purdue Boilermakers coming to town. Given the way the Hawkeyes have been playing, and the roll that Purdue is on, it would be a monumental upset if they were able to come away with the victory. Not many people, including Iowans, are expecting that to happen, but what they can, and what they had better do today is go out on that court and give everything they have. Leave it all out there. That is the best way to honor Chris Street. Anything less than a 110% effort will be disappointing. Honor him by playing the way he did.
You could make the argument that the Chris Street factor is exactly what this Iowa basketball team needs. They need to show more effort. Especially on the defensive end of the court. They need to communicate with each other. They need to rotate on screens. They need to get physical in the paint. They need to move the ball around on offense. They need to play like the care about getting beat. Above all else, they need a LEADER on the court to step up who expects all of the above out of himself and out of his teammates.
The #3 Purdue Boilermakers have a little bit of everything. That’s what makes them a great team. They have size – Isaac Haas is a monster at 7’2 290 lbs (averaging 14 pts and 5 rebounds per game). They have veteran leadership – Dakota Mathias is this year’s version of Jess Settles. It seems like he has been in a Purdue uniform forever. He’s a relentless defender and a knock down shooter (averaging 12 ppg, 4 rebounds, and shoots 44% from behind the arc). Vincent Edwards, a 6’8 senior forward, gives them another incredibly talented veteran. He is averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds per game. As if that isn’t enough, they also have young talent. Perhaps their best player is sophomore guard Carsen Edwards. He is an incredibly athletic guard who is having a monster season. Currently he’s averaging 17 points per game while shooting 38% from behind the arc.
The consensus says this game is going to be a blowout. Iowa has been playing awful basketball lately. Their defense has been nonexistent. Purdue is on a roll. They’ve won 14 games in a row and the majority of them haven’t been close. On paper, the Boilermakers are lightyears better than the Hawkeyes. The only thing the Hawkeyes have going for them this morning is the Chris Street factor.
The Hawkeyes will come out swinging today. They’ll lay it all on the line in honor of Chris Street, and we hope their effort will make him proud as he watches from the best seat in the house. Unfortunately, that effort probably won’t be enough in this one. Purdue is just too damn good.
RIP Chris. Your legacy lives on. Go Hawks!