In sixth year, Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon is ready to unveil his best version yet
IOWA CITY, Ia. — At 23 years old, Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon found himself in a position he thought he'd never see again: being recruited by coach Fran McCaffery.
Bohannon finished his fifth year in the spring and was full-steam ahead to pursuing professional basketball. Then, after CJ Fredrick transferred to Kentucky, McCaffery reached out to Bohannon to gauge his interest in using his free COVID year for a sixth season of eligibility.
The school's all-time leading 3-point shooter, Bohannon decided to return.
He couldn't be happier with that decision.
"Looking 25-30 years down the line," Bohannon said, "if I had the opportunity to return to college, then why wouldn't I? That's where I stood. I'm glad I made the decision and I'm really happy right now."
Bohannon's presence within Iowa basketball is unquestioned. In addition to total 3-pointers made, he holds school records in games played (143), assists (639) and free throw percentage (.887).
Yet, in his sixth season, a new version of Jordan Bohannon will take the court for the Hawkeyes. He's changing positions from point guard to shooting guard to provide more offense and, as the oldest player on the team, he is bridging the gap for the next generation of players.
"It's another interesting experience from my end," Bohannon said. "I've had a lot of interesting experiences and I try to relay that to them. Even guys like (Ahron Ulis) and (Tony Perkins) who were here last year haven't been to Breslin Center with 20,000 fans. They haven't traveled to Maryland and had the student section yelling on top of you."
Jordan Bohannon's role changing in his sixth year with Iowa basketball
Bohannon's evolution on the court begins with assuming the dominant point-scorer role. For the past five years, he's been the facilitator, setting up players like Luka Garza for baskets when the team needs them. Now, the team will look to Bohannon.
"Now I have to really get to that next level," Bohannon said. "Understanding we don't really have the big guy down low, Luka, to score when we need him too. We don't have Tyler Cook to throw one down when we need a spark. Peter Jok my freshman year was someone who could hit a clutch basket and he averaged plus-20 points per game.
"Now I have to step into that role, understanding less assists but more points per game and doing what I can to be more aggressive and open up more people's games."
Fortunately for him, physically, Bohannon feels better than ever. He missed close to two weeks in the early summer period recovering from a head injury. He's been back for over a month now and feels ready to play in what might be an even faster offense this season, with presumably Joe Toussaint starting at point guard.
"I'd like to say I'm at my prime of being my most athletic, conditioned and skilled in my entire life," Bohannon said. "It's been a lot of fun to feel like I've gotten to another level these past couple of months, excelling to what I think I can be for this team."
Additionally, playing shooting guard will alleviate stress on his body that he's accrued since his freshman year.
"Through the years I've always been face-guarded 94 feet," Bohannon said. "Bringing it down some possessions and working off-ball other possessions will definitely allow my body to endure long conference seasons. I'm really looking forward to it. We have a lot of pieces who can be a threat."
Bohannon is 'a leader' with Iowa basketball
Bohannon began taking an even bigger leadership role immediately after deciding to return. Part of this was personally reaching out to point guards Toussaint and Ulis to assure them that him coming back wouldn't diminish their opportunity to earn more playing time this season.
"Everything was cool; we talked about it," Ulis said. "It's actually good that he's coming back. Some people look at it as a bad thing but it's good. He's a leader, he's older, been around so he knows a lot and he's a great shooter. I'm looking forward to playing with him."
After five years of placing others in positions to score first, Bohannon is now a major go-to option for Iowa's team. He's aware there'll be more pressure, but he's excited to show even more of his game in the upcoming season.
"I'm going to continue to try to be more aggressive this year," Bohannon said. "I realize I'll probably have more pressure on me than ever, but I've been working really hard on the court and in the weight room to be in the best position possible once Day 1 hits."
Kennington Smith is the new Iowa Hawkeyes beat writer for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org