Iowa Men's Basketball

The return of Jordan Bohannon, big-game player

A year after second hip surgery, Bohannon has 24 points for Iowa in win over North Carolina

IOWA CITY — Jordan Bohannon had a total of 11 points in Iowa’s first three men’s basketball games this season.

Two seasons and two hip surgeries ago, Bohannon scored the final 11 points in the Hawkeyes’ 77-72 win at Indiana. He had a lot of other heroics in his three full seasons with the team.

Tuesday night, that guy was back. The fifth-year senior drained seven 3-pointers for the first time in almost three years, and had a game-high 24 points and six assists in No. 3 Iowa’s 93-80 win over No. 16 North Carolina.

It was his highest-scoring game since that night in Bloomington, when he had 25. He played just 10 games last season before calling it a season and scheduling surgery on the opposite hip from the one he had surgery on in the spring of 2019.

“Everything I’ve lived for and worked for my entire life is just being able to play in these big-time games and wanting to play against these top schools and do well,” Bohannon said, “and try to do everything I can to help my team win.”

“When he gets open shots he’s going to make them,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “I don’t care who we play.”

It all sounds just that easy, but the path from hip surgery to scoring 24 points against North Carolina is a rough one.

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“The last year-and-a-half, two years have kind of been hell,” said Bohannon. “I know there’s obviously worse things than having surgery and missing basketball games. But there’s been a lot of soul-searching of myself, a lot of spiritual aspects of my life I had to kind of shift these last two years.

“I was in a really dark place, but my teammates, my close friends and my family picked me up and got me through these times. I really worked my butt off to get in the shape I am now and get back from a second hip surgery. It makes me happy, so I am going to celebrate that aspect of being able to come out and play and not worry about any pain.”

Now comes a game Bohannon loves, Friday night here against Iowa State. He closed his 2019-20 season by leaving his shoes on the Hilton Coliseum court at ISU last December following an Iowa victory and heading to the surgeon shortly thereafter.

“I’m really excited to play Iowa State,” Bohannon said. “I’m glad it’s not in Ames this year. I don’t think I’m allowed in that city for the rest of my life.”

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

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