Iowa Men's Basketball

Iowa Hawkeyes join salute to life of Tyler Trent

Iowa and Purdue will be #TylerStrong before their men's basketball game Thursday

Tyler Trent at a Purdue football game earlier this season. (USA TODAY Sports)
Tyler Trent at a Purdue football game earlier this season. (USA TODAY Sports)

Before Iowa competes against Purdue in men’s basketball Thursday night at the Boilermakers’ Mackey Arena, the two teams will be united in sentiment.

Both clubs will wear #TylerStrong shirts in pregame warmups to commemorate the life of Tyler Trent, the 20-year-old who was a Purdue student and big Boilermakers fan. Trent died of bone cancer Tuesday.

He became known to the nation over the last couple months, starting when he was prominently featured on ABC’s telecast of Purdue’s 49-20 football win over Ohio State on Oct. 20. People were inspired by his attitude. Trent used his sudden fame to urge people to donate to cancer research organizations.


The Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment will help provide funding for the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. Over $100,000 has already been raised.

Wednesday, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery spoke via teleconference about his team showing its respect for Trent and Purdue.

“The players wanted to do it, and I’m really proud of that,” he said. “It’s something that’s very close to me.

“When you look at him and the way he handled himself … it was so inspiring to others who are going through the same thing.

“We wanted to honor that.”

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McCaffery can relate all too well. He lost both parents to cancer. One of his sons, current Iowa City West senior Patrick McCaffery, had thyroid cancer in March 2014 as a seventh-grader.

Patrick had the thyroid removed. About three months after he was diagnosed and had iodine treatment, he was cancer-free. He will join brother Connor McCaffery on their father’s team next season.

For the last seven years, the McCafferys have hosted a dinner to benefit the University of Iowa Hospitals’ Adolescents and Young Adult Cancer Program, with a total of about $1 million raised.

In the more-trivial segment of this story, there is a ballgame to note. While Iowa is 11-2 and ranked 20th, it is 0-2 in the Big Ten. Going to Purdue isn’t the best possible way to get to 1-2, though the Boilermakers haven’t been overwhelming at 8-5.

Purdue (1-1 in the conference) has played a strong schedule. Through it, junior guard Carsen Edwards has been superb. He averages 25.8 points per game, second-most in the nation.

“They clearly have one of the best players in the country,” McCaffery said.

Iowa could use help from 6-foot-11 sophomore Luka Garza, second on the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg. Garza missed the Hawkeyes’ last two games because of a sprained ankle.

“He’s a lot better,” McCaffery said Wednesday morning. “He’s going to try to go tonight at practice.”

The Hawkeyes were 1-8 on the road in Big Ten last season, and got thumped 90-68 at Michigan State last month in their only true road game to date this season.

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“It’s a big game,” McCaffery said. “It’s a league game. It’s an important game.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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