It’s been a tough season so far for Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon, but was he able to turn the corner against the Penn State Nittany Lions?
Despite being handed “the keys to the ship”, as Fran McCaffery put it prior to the start of the Iowa basketball team’s 2018-2019 season, Jordan Bohannon has struggled to find his identity this season in an evolved offense. Fresh off a sophomore season that saw Bohannon hit 42% of his overall field goals and 41% of his three-point attempts good for an average of 13.5 points per game, expectations were high for the shoot-first point guard from Lin-Mar.
With the continued progression of Tyler Cook and Luka Garza down low along with the addition of Joe Wieskamp and Connor McCaffery to the rotation, however, Bohannon’s numbers have been off the mark this year compared to last.
Through 18 games, he is hitting just 37% of his field goal attempts and just 33% of his three-point attempts. His free throw shooting has even dipped five percentage points from last season’s 90% mark. Moreover, his assists totals are 2.1 per game less than last year.
It’s not just the stat line that is down, the eye test hasn’t been pretty either. With McCaffery running the point, the ball movement has been great and the offense rolls but when Bohannon has been running the point, the offense struggles. According to advanced metrics, Bohannon is also ninth on the team in win shares per 40 games (an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player in 40 minutes) at .139.
While we have been noticeably tough on Bohannon (great players are held to higher standards), and despite him having a few high-scoring outputs, it wasn’t until the Iowa basketball team took on Penn State Wednesday evening, where we got vintage Jordan Bohannon. In fact, I would go as far to say that Jordan Bohannon got his swagger back in the game.
Against the Nittany Lions, with star forward Tyler Cook out with an injury, Bohannon balled out scoring 19 points on 6 of 10 shooting including going 5 of 8 from three. He also dished out six assists and had just one turnover in the game. What really stood out, however, was his killer instinct and willingness to take the tough shot with the game on the line.
With 36 seconds remaining in the game and Iowa up by one, Bohannon drilled a very deep three to essentially close out the game. Announcer Shon Morris’ reaction says it all.
"Oh my goodness Jordan Bohannon! No conscious at all!"
After the game, Fran had the opportunity to speak to the media and basically confirmed what we all knew, Bohannon has the green light to shoot at will for a reason. Here’s what Fran had to say about the shot.
"Yeah, I think we all thought it was going in, and it was kind of a weird play. They were up on him, and then we moved it, and everybody kind of settled back for a second, and then he was open. You know, but he was so deep, I think they thought he was — he won’t pull from there. But he did. And we all knew he would."
For a guy who has struggled to find his shot at times this season, Bohannon came up huge for the Iowa basketball team against Penn State, and if his play didn’t do enough talking, he had a few things to say on twitter afterwards.
Got to love the confidence in Jordan Bohannon.
As an Iowa basketball fan, it was great to see that Bohannon return on the court against Penn State because as the Hawks get into some of their toughest conference games, they will need to him to continue making those big shots.