IOWA CITY, Ia. - Anthony Tucker's decision to leave the Iowa basketball program last week caused few fans to shed tears. I don't think the response reflected personally on Tucker, although some felt he needed to go before he made his decision.
No, the Hawkeye faithful is looking for hope. It peers into the future searching for better times. It anxiously awaits the 2010 recruiting class of Cody Larson, Zach McCabe, Devin Marble and Ben Brust.
Tucker's exit opened up a scholarship. That fact excited fans for what the Hawkeyes might do with it.
Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter was asked about filling Tucker's ride shortly after the sophomore's departure was announced on Friday. He said it would take a special player to come in next fall or he would bank the scholarship.
I wouldn't read too much into that statement, which leads the reader to say the odds are tilted greatly toward using it in '11. I'm pretty sure Lickliter thought Tucker was special when he recruited him and that word can mean a lot of different things.
While I think it's more likely that the Hawkeyes wait until next year to fill the scholarship, they're going to comb through this spring's available players and take a hard look. They'll search the junior college ranks first. They'd like an experienced guard.
Two of the names making the rounds right now are Kurt Alexander from Iowa Central and Kaylon Williams of Kirkwood. Here is a story with Central Coach Dennis Pilcher talking about his sophomore guard and Iowa's interest.
Alexander's recruitment is heating up after he scored 43 points against Kirkwood earlier this month. Williams seems to like Iowa as you can see in this video. The Cedar Rapids Kennedy graduate wants to play closer to home after leaving Evansville following a strong freshman year.
Iowa would prefer Alexander to Williams, but there will be more competition for the Canadian from Central. The Hawkeyes are recruiting Williams after passing on him in the past. That says something.
Hawkeye Assistant Chad Walthall watched Scout County (MO.) Central point guard Bobby Hatchett Friday night. While the Iowa staff has been impressed with the prep senior, a few things have worked against him.
Hatchett plays in the smallest division in Missouri and some analysts scouting him wonder if he's a BCS level player. He might need to go the JUCO route to prove himself. And, again, Iowa would prefer to get a player with college experience to spell Cully Payne and its other guards.
Expect some names to pop up as the Iowa assistants hit the road for the end of the JC regular season in the next few weeks and then the regional and national tournaments. They'll also need to dig back into the '11 class to see what's available.
Randle and Zeller will be tough to reel in as some strong programs are in the mix. Gant and McDonald, both forwards, seem more attainable for Iowa right now.