If you were to take a guess as to who is leading the charge for the Iowa Hawkeyes during their three game winning streak you probably wouldn't be choosing the pair of guards that are currently pacing the Iowa Basketball team.
First thought probably goes to talented scorer, Peter Jok, but he's been sidelined for 2 of the 3 wins during the streak. Your second pick is probably a toss up between Isaiah Moss and Jordan Bohannon, but even Moss hasn't been the Robin to Jordan Bohannon's Batman over the past week and a half.
It's been Brady Ellingson.
The redshirt sophomore is averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 assists during Iowa's 3 game winning streak and is shooting an astounding 71% from behind the three point arc.
It all started when news hit that Peter Jok would be sitting out the night game against Ohio State on January 28th. It was a giant question mark as to who would step up and fill Jok's shoes scoring the basketball. Ellingson answered the call as he poured in 17 points as the Hawkeyes beat the Buckeyes by double digits. From there, Brady has taken off. He's become an integral part of what Iowa wants to do on both offense and defense.
"He's (Ellingson) smart. He's tough. He's cerebral. He can play any one of three spots. He knows exactly where to go, where to line up every time. He's a much underrated defender," said head coach Fran Mccaffery after Iowa's win over Nebraska on Sunday.
We didn't see much of that in his first two seasons in Iowa City, but it's really starting to show in now his third year in the program.
"We've just been getting good looks," Ellingson said about Iowa's recent winning streak. "And you have to stay confident with your shot. Every shot you take you have to think that it's going to go in," he acknowledged.
That is certainly what it looks like when we watch this team night in and night out. They are playing with a bunch of confidence right now and you can definitely see it in their play.
The sharing of the ball might be the most impressive thing we've seen out of Brady in the last three games. He seems to be picking his spots when he wants to shoot. And when he's not open, he's finding open teammates either via the dribble-drive or just basic passes within the offense. He hasn't turned the ball over since Iowa's loss to Nebraska (8 games) in Lincoln and has totaled 18 assists in the that time.
His teammate, Jordan Bohannon, has been equally impressive.
He is coming off being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after he averaged 16 points, 3 assists, and a steal per game in two Iowa wins.
Up to this point in the season he looks like Iowa's most improved player since the start of the year.
"He's (Bohannon) played really well at both ends of the floor," admitted McCaffery after Iowa's win over Nebraska. "He's played well as a point guard. He's played well as a shooter. You just can't rattle him," admitted McCaffery after Jordan's 15 point performance against the Huskers.
The biggest thing I've noticed is his ability to get his shot off quicker. We all know that shooting the basketball at an extremely high level runs in the Bohannon family, but Jordan is the smallest of all his brothers and might struggle getting his shot off over a larger, longer defender.
He's combating that by getting rid of it at a lightning quick pace and is shooting 56% from three in the past three games.
"The other thing he (Bohannon) has is incredible amnesia," stated McCaffery. "If he makes a mistake, it never lingers on him. That's an important characteristic to have," McCaffery confessed.
One play in particular stood out to me towards the end of the game on Sunday. He collected a rebound and began pushing the ball up court with Nebraska forward, Michael Jacobson, trotting right behind him. Bohannon slowed his pace, which caused Jacobson to run into him. That subsequently led to a foul being called and two free throws for Bohannon, who shoots it at an 88% clip from the charity stripe.
So, essentially, he stole two points late in the game. That's not a move you see a freshman make very often.
The two underclassmen are not the only ones contributing to the cause over the past couple of weeks. This has been some of the best team basketball I've witnessed from Iowa in quite some time, but these two are two of the most important guys on the team right now.
As Peter Jok stills eases his way back into form for Iowa, having both Bohannon and Ellingson playing at such a high level headed into a tough road environment on Wednesday up in Minneapolis, helps Iowa immensely.
Williams Arena or "The Barn" is, in my opinion, one of the toughest places to win for opposing teams in the Big Ten conference.
The teams have split the past four contests in Minneapolis, but the Gophers hold a big time advantage in the all-time series. Minnesota is 62-35 in games up north.
The Hawkeyes and Gophers tip it off at 8:06 p.m. CT on Wednesday evening.