NBA: Not the Place to Find Former Iowa Collegians

Remember Jamaal Tinsley? If you followed Iowa State basketball almost a decade ago, you surely do. He played two years for the Cyclones at point guard and they won two Big 12 Conference titles.

You haven’t seen that happening with an ISU team lately, have you? And those championships came two decades after Iowa’s last Big Ten title, in 1979.

Anyway, Tinsley is the only Iowa State player currently on an NBA roster. He’s in his eighth season with the Indiana Pacers. The trouble is, the Pacers don’t want him anymore. Too many on-court and off-court incidents. Three of them came in about a year’s time, all involving nightclubs and disturbances. Someone shot at him in Indianapolis in the middle of the night last season.

The Pacers have said Tinsley won’t play another game for them. They’re trying to trade him, but his salary is making that difficult. This is a guy who averaged 8.4 assists a game last year, but no one wants him really bad. He’s been injury-prone as well as antic-prone.

The University of Iowa, meanwhile, has only three former players spread across the 30-team NBA. Ricky Davis played one year at the school and Reggie Evans two. Ryan Bowen is the only four-year Iowa college player in the league.

Bowen and Evans were undrafted free agents who have carved out long NBA careers. Davis was a first-round draft pick back in 1998. He was, in fact, the last Hawkeye to go in the first-round. Since he skipped out on Iowa after just one season (wisely, as it turned out), he isn’t the most-beloved player in Hawkeye history.

Just four of the almost 450 NBA players are from Iowa schools, and one is getting paid to stay away. Weak.

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One response to “NBA: Not the Place to Find Former Iowa Collegians

  1. Wow. This is a bit rough. Mike, you’re usually better than this.
    I’m thinking your reader(s) wonder things like: How many NBA players represent other teams in the Big10(11) and Big 12(more like 6)?
    Could we get some more information regarding this?
    For instance, how many division 1 schools are there that play basketball? Then, take into consideration that there are ONLY 450 slots to fill in the pros.
    I know it’s just in my head, but 4 sounds pretty good.
    Or, look at it another way. 50 states into 450 slots. Quick math shows 9 per state. Yes, we do look weak in that regard. Now, let’s cut that down and just say 25 states that actually have former players in the NBA. Does Iowa look so bad then?
    I do get your point though and am optimistic that fortunes for our state schools will be turning soon.
    On Iowa!!!

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