Africa has a population of roughly 975,000,000.
Iowa has a population of roughly 3,000.000.
Yet, according to painstaking research the Hlog completed Monday afternoon, both will have 11 natives representing them in this week’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Now, you may say basketball is a game with which Iowa has a long tradition and history, while the sport is pretty spotty in Africa. But I ask you this:
Has Iowa ever given the world a center with the ability and prowess of Hakeem Olajuwon or Dikembe Mutombo?
Africa has six players from Nigeria, two from Cameroon, and one apiece from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Tanzania on NCAA tourney rosters this week.
Iowa has seven natives playing for Northern Iowa, and one apiece with Gonzaga, Morehead State, North Dakota State and Wisconsin.
Three of the 11 are redshirts, including Linn-Mar’s Grant Gibbs of Gonzaga. One, Carlton Reed of UNI, missed the entire season because of injury.
The state’s big guns are junior starting guard Jason Bohannon of Wisconsin, and UNI starters junior center Jordan Eglseder of Bellevue and junior guard Ali Farokhmanesh of Iowa City.
Farokhmanesh isn’t an Iowa native, technically, since he moved to Iowa City from Pullman, Wash., before his junior year of high school.
But since I don’t have birth certificates of any of the 11 Africans, we’re counting Ali as one of ours.
What does any of this really mean? I don’t know. I do know there are as many players in the Big Dance, as they call it, from Marion as from Caracas, Istanbul, Perth and Athens.
And there are more players in the tourney from Garnavillo, population 1,000 (Adam Rodenberg, UNI) than there are from Beijing, Moscow, Rome or Sydney.
We are Iowa, and we dominate the world.