Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery on a radio broadcaster's shot at one of his players: 'It's inexcusable' Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Iowa men's basketball team hasn't let the regrettable words of its radio broadcaster get in the way of preparation for a defining stretch of games.
That was the word from coach Fran McCaffery and two Hawkeye players Thursday.
"It hasn't been a problem that's really arised in our locker room. We're the same carefree guys," junior point guard Jordan Bohannon said when asked about pointed comments made by Gary Dolphin during the broadcast of Tuesday's win over Pitt.
Dolphin, who has been the radio voice of the Hawkeye men's basketball team for 22 seasons, was suspended from calling the next two games after critical comments that were inadvertently aired. Iowa's next two games are its first in Big Ten Conference play — at home Friday vs. Wisconsin and at Michigan State on Monday. Jim Albracht will provide play-by-play for those games instead.
Dolphin apologized on-air after Tuesday's game, but he hasn't yet spoken to the players.
Dolphin, speaking to broadcast partner Bobby Hansen during what he assumed was a commercial break, was lamenting the Hawkeyes' inability to recruit players that he believed were as talented as Pitt's.
Dolphin singled out Iowa junior Maishe Dailey, a reserve guard.
“We get Maishe Dailey," Dolphin said. "Dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God.”
"When one of our own attacks one of our players the way he did, it's inexcusable," McCaffery said Thursday
"I talked to my team about it. I think the prevailing feeling was to talk about it and move past it."
Bohannon said he wasn't concerned about whether Dolphin issues an in-person apology to the Hawkeyes.
"I love Dolph. I love Maishe," Bohannon said. "We're just worried about basketball right now. That's not really a basketball thing right now for us to worry about. It's off the court. Yeah, he's a play-by-play guy, but at the end of the day we're worried about the next game on the schedule and trying to win it."
Iowa forward Ryan Kriener says the team is fully behind Maishe Dailey after he was singled out for criticism on the radio Hawk Central
After Tuesday's game, Dolphin told the Register: “We want them to win so bad, sometimes we get frustrated when they’re not playing well in certain stretches.”
He has made no public statement since.
The Hawkeyes are ranked 15th in the coaches' poll and are off to a 6-0 start for the first time in five seasons. Wisconsin is ranked 22nd; Michigan State is eighth. After that, Iowa hosts in-state rival Iowa State, which is 6-1. That Thursday home game would mark Dolphin's return.
McCaffery said he pulled Dailey aside after Dolphin's remarks became public.
"It was incredibly unfair. The kid has given his all for us. He plays hard. He's a good person. He didn't deserve it," McCaffery said. "But he's also a young guy with tremendous character. I've been really impressed with how he's handled it."
Dailey was unavailable for interviews Thursday.
Junior center Ryan Kriener said the players had spoken to him about the issue.
"Everybody in our locker room and everyone in the administration has Maishe's back, 100 percent. And really we're just looking forward to move on, to not have stuff blown out of proportion," Kriener said.
"In my mind, it's kind of a minor thing. ... We've got fans tweeting stuff or whatever after a game. It doesn't matter because you have to have thick skin if you're doing it here."
In a news release Wednesday announcing the suspension, Iowa athletic director Gary Barta added a layer of intrigue to the story, saying it was a result of Dolphin's Tuesday comments "as well as some ongoing tensions that have built up over the past couple of years. This time away from the microphone will allow a chance to work through some of these issues."
Presumably, those tensions are between Dolphin and McCaffery.
Barta did not speak to the media Thursday, but said he will address the Dolphin suspension before Friday's 7 p.m. game with Wisconsin.
"I think it's pretty well-known we've had some issues," McCaffery said of Dolphin, who also hosts his weekly radio call-in show during the season. "We've gotten along fine. I"m disappointed in him."