I tripped to Iowa City on Monday to meet my friend for lunch ands drinks at the Wig & Pen. Josh Clark was there with friends from the North Dodge Athletic Club. After greeting Josh, I sat down with Wig owner Dick Querry while waiting for The Shadow to arrive. I had a couple of brewskis with Dick and said goodbye to Josh before he finally arrived. "Sorry I'm late, but I was on the phone getting some good information" he said as we slipped into a booth in the corner. He had my full attention as he ordered the Wig's specialty sandwich, the Guinea Grinder, which features spicy sausage from Chicago.
After washing down the grinder with several Budweiser's, he started to tell me the following tidbits as soon as his first Tangueray Gin & tonic was delivered:
1. The Iowa-Iowa State game was scheduled at 5 p.m. for more than the obvious reason of TV money. Being shown nationally, on ESPN2, at that time will enable Iowa prospects across the nation to view the game. "More than the eyes of Texas will be upon you that day. Eyeballs in New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania etc. will also be focused on the Black & Gold" he added
2.New Jersey is the Garden State and Iowa coach Darrell Wilson is displaying a "green thumb" as he is being very attentive to this garden. Coach Wilson spent seven highly successful years as coach at Camden Woodrow T. Wilson High School. He "cultivated" a lot of friendships in the area and the Hawkeyes will reap the benefits. It's a bumper crop in the garden this year and many prospects will explore the possibilities of relocating to Iowa City. Andre Tippett, Keith Hunter and Norm Granger were all New Jersey natives making the trek west to star in Kinnick Stadium. Look for some similar Jersey athletes to be in the class of 2003.
3. Florida will not be forgotten either now that Brett Bielema is at Kansas State as Co-Defensive Coordinator for former Iowa offensive coordinator Bill Snyder. Coach Wilson and coach Phil Parker are hitting Florida hard. Phil will add South Florida to his area while Darrell is recruiting in Central and North Florida. "My fishing buddy in Tallahassee (that means drinking buddy) called to tell me that he met Coach Wilson and was very impressed. Plus, he's recruiting the cream of the crop, not the stragglers. He and the Hawks will do very well down here" his friend added.
4. The defection of Shane Power from Iowa State must have added a little pressure on Coach Eustachy as rumor has it that ISU coaches had to "baby-sit" the academic progress of Jerome Harper at Indian Hills and Jackson Vroman in Utah. Coach Eustachy's stated goal of making Iowa State like Cincinnati may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you know what I mean.
5. Speaking of Iowa State, a Cyclone football aid was regaling some supporters recently over some (read many) cocktails. He promised the Clones would blow the Hawkeyes in Kinnick in September. He added that Iowa State has better players at every position. Does this guy need AA or what? Is there a bulletin board handy at the Hawkeye Football Office? Hello, Rita!
6. Although The Shadow loves Adam Haluska, he feels that Calvin Davis got shortchanged in the coverage of the Iowa State Track Meet by "The Newspaper that Iowa Depends Upon." That slogan is a little out-dated, as the Register's circulation chart in Eastern Iowa resembles an Enron stock price chart, going down! I reminded him of this as the probable reason they gave such front-page coverage to Haluska despite inferior times to those of Davis. Calvin saved his best performance for the 4 by 200 relay as he came from 15 meters back to breeze home easily. My dark friend feels that Calvin will be "something special" for the Hawkeyes. Davis has been hitting the weight room and looks ripped compared to last year. Remember that his father, Bruce, was an offensive lineman at Iowa. Therefore, Calvin could fill out and be the tall, fast, muscular receiver that Kahlil Hill wanted to be.
7. Jermelle Lewis has benefited from a telephone conversation with his Mother. She did not mince words with him over his academic performance. Jermelle reacted like most young men after being admonished by their mother as he "geared up" for finals. Word is that Jermelle is AOK! So look for Jermelle to be a factor in the offense next fall. Thanks, Mom!
8.Yao Ming. Does this guy have bust written all over him, or what? The 7-5 native of China will likely be the first pick in the NBA draft by the Houston Rockets. That would mean that Jay Williams (Dookie Boy #1) or Mike Dunleavy (Dookie Boy #2) would likely fall to the Chicago Bulls. Not even Jerry Krause can screw up this pick, or can he? Unfortunately, Tim Floyd will not be around to benefit from Dookie Boy leadership instead of another high school pick.
"Can't you just see Shaq and The Admiral pummeling Ming as Houston pushes Yao too soon? Yao Too Soon" he repeated, as he chortled. Pretty witty stuff for my political correctness challenged friend. I was expecting much worse.
I'm sure that he was still pounding the gin long after I headed my car West to Des Moines. That marked the end of another long afternoon with my friend. Look for The Shadow to appear here again in the near future.