116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
“A premier name in basketball,” is part of Danny Manning’s Twitter profile.
He’s not wrong. Manning did lead Kansas to the 1988 NCAA basketball championship, and his 2,951 points and 1,187 rebounds are still the most by a Jayhawk. He went on to a 14-year NBA career, scoring 12,367 points.
As a coach, though, there has been no glory. After two years at Tulsa, Manning spent six seasons at Wake Forest. His teams went 78-111, with just one winning season.
Now, he has found himself with another chance, one that seemingly came out of the blue. Eleven-year Maryland coach Mark Turgeon left that job on Dec. 3 in what the school’s athletics department called “a mutual decision.”
The Terrapins were 5-3 at the time. They were a disappointing 17-14 last season after winning at least 23 times in five of their previous six seasons, but had gotten no deeper in the NCAA tournament than one Sweet 16.
Manning was promoted from assistant coach to interim head coach. The Terps are 3-1 since, including a win over then-No. 20 Florida. They come to Iowa for their first true road game of the season. Both clubs seek their first Big Ten victory.
“I like their team,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Sunday. “They have a lot of really good players. Multiple guys can score. They make 3s. They play fast.”
The player to watch is point guard Fatts Russell, a fifth-year senior who transferred from Rhode Island. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Russell has played 131 games, and is 12th in steals, 26th in points and 36th in assists among active college players.
“Fatts is a game-changer in terms of speed,” McCaffery said, perhaps the first time that has been said about someone nicknamed “Fatts.”
Iowa began its Big Ten slate with two tough December losses against two of the Big Ten’s best, Purdue and Illinois. It obviously doesn’t want to take an 0-3 mark to Wisconsin Thursday.
Southeastern Louisiana and Western Illinois are in the rearview mirror. This is the first of 18-plus consecutive games against the big boys of the Big Ten.
“Our guys know what this is,” said McCaffery. “All of them have been through that, with the exception of Payton (Sandfort) and Riley (Mulvey). We have the ultimate respect for every team in this league. We’ll get ‘em ready.”
The coach made it sound like his son, junior guard Connor McCaffery, would be good to go Monday. He reinjured an ankle in Iowa’s 92-71 win over Western Illinois last Wednesday.
“Connor looks pretty good,” Fran McCaffery said.
Fran McCaffery said backup center Josh Ogundele, who sprained an ankle Dec. 21, is “not there yet.”
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