What do you know about the Sean Sonderleiter situation? Do you expect him to come back?
I don't know if I would expect to see him in a uniform. We have to prepare as if he is not going to come back. Sean his a good friend of mine. He made a decision. It's just what he wanted to do.
So, he's decided to leave the team?
I don't know if he's left the team, but he's taking an absence right now. Nobody really knows what's going on. It's kind of hard to get ahold of him.
How did you guys handle the news that he was leaving?
It was tough. Coach told us, and everybody was just kind of in shock. But we had a game in two days, and we had to get passed it.
Did it rally you guys together? It seems like every week you guys go through something like this?
Yeah. Exactly. I think it's been since I got here that something happens. Our team has just been put through a lot. We're just some strong kids, and we just have to get through stuff like that.
Can you talk about Sean's situation?
Our hearts definitely go out to Sean. We hope everything goes well with him. But tonight, we had to come out and play a basketball game. We wish the best for him, but we've got to move on.
Will he be back do you think?
I have no clue. I haven't talked to him, and I'm his roommate. He hasn't talked to any one of us, that we know of. We hope everything goes well for him.
When was the last time you talked to him?
Last time I saw him was after the Michigan game.
Did you know that this was going through his mind at all?
No. I think it shocked everybody. It came out of nowhere. We got to practice (Thursday), and we found out that he quit. But he has to do the best thing for him.
Had you seen any signs that he might be undergoing some stress?
No. He was laughing and joking with his teammates as he normally does. He seemed like himself. But Sean is the type of person that keeps a lot of things to himself. So, he shocked everybody.
Is he still going to class?
I don't know. I don't tag him around. So...
Do you feel like the loss of players has brought the team closer?
The things that have happened are not the fault of any of the guys in the locker room. That's what I told them. "You can't control the happenings of academics. You can't control the happenings of family issues. And you can't control injury. You can just control what you have the power to control." That's the attitude that these guys are taking. And they've got to take it (that way). The first half was about as good as we've played all year long. And that's the shortest we've had as far as a bench goes.
How emotional was tonight for you?
It's emotional from the standpoint of it being the second game that dad hasn't been on the bench. We're dealing with a death in our family. We're dealing with the end of a generation in our family. Seeing your dad hurt, that's never easy. We haven't got closure from a personal family issue. That makes it emotional. But having your team rally when they know that I've had a lot of emotion going on the last 48 hours, that's very satisfying.
Is there anything more than what you said (Friday) on the Sonderleiter situation?
No. I've only spoken to him on Thursday. He's trying to handle his issues, and obviously we were preparing for a game. I have nothing else to report.
Do you expect to see Sean in an Iowa uniform again?
I don't know. Again, I haven't talked to him since Thursday.
INSIDER NEWS AND THOUGHTS
From what I could gather over at the arena, it appears that the players do not feel that Sean is coming back. If you read one of Worley's quotes, he says that Sean "Quit" the team. And when Horner said, "I don't know if I expect to see him in and Iowa uniform," it was said in a voice inflection that indicated he thought Sean was done.
I also poked around and talked with a few people close to the team. From what I could gather, Coach Alford got into Sean's face with some yelling during or after the Michigan game in the locker room. Probably not something he hasn't done before to Sean or other players, but this appeared to be the last straw for Sondy. He has gone through a lot with his family. It goes beyond his sister.
I believe that Sean definitely has family issues, but his basketball environment was not helping him. A lot of times you see people running to the court to get away from personal problems, but Sean's inclusion on the Hawkeyes created more damage.
I played sports through high school and for a couple of years in college. I had teammates for which I would have come close to dying. While I appreciate the sentiments of Coach Alford and the two players quoted above, they don't seem overly simpathetic to Sean's situation. They seem disappointed him.
Coach Alford said on Friday that Sean was still in classes. Worley said that he lives with Sean, but hasn't seen him since Michigan. Maybe one or the other has a honey that he's staying with because nobody is sleeping outside in this weather. Whatever is going on, it's weird that nobody on the team has talked with him. Maybe Sean doesn't want to talk. But if I'm his friend, I find him and make sure he's OK. That's just me.
We will keep digging into the story and keep you updated.