Jordan Bohannon wants his 'dog mentality' to carry over to rest of No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes
IOWA CITY, la. — Maybe it’s because he’s the youngest, and shortest, of four brothers who played Division I college basketball.
Or maybe it was being a 6-foot tall, lightly recruited guard out of Marion trying to prove himself among the big boys of the Big Ten Conference.
Whatever the reason, Jordan Bohannon has carried himself with a bit of a snarl ever since arriving at Iowa in 2016. Former Hawkeye shooting guard Peter Jok, then a senior, noticed it right away.
“He kind of called me a dog, a dog mentality I had when I first came in,” Bohannon said Wednesday. “I think I kind of went with that mentality.”
A fifth-year senior returning from hip surgery, Bohannon has always been calculated about what he says and how he says it. It’s allowed him to get under the skin of opposing fan bases. It’s gotten him 24,000 Twitter followers and his own podcast.
Although he does enjoy those interactions, there’s another reason Bohannon isn’t afraid to be brash. He wants his Hawkeye teammates to play with as much confidence as he does, especially this winter when they were ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll and picked to win the Big Ten. Bohannon, who believes in his heart that Iowa is the best team in the country, wants the Hawkeyes to carry themselves accordingly.
“I consider myself really confident on the floor, and people might say that I’m cocky at times. But I think that’s what’s great about basketball is you can kind of have that thin line that you can cross from being cocky and confident, and I always have been right on that line,” Bohannon said. “I’ll continue to bring that swagger to this team, and I think a lot of guys can feed off that.”
Iowa is off to a 2-0 start, rising to third in The Associated Press' poll. Next is a 7 p.m. Thursday home game against Western Illinois, which has yet to play this season. The game can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
Bohannon has 11 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in the first two games. He also has an unrelenting faith in his team, and in himself. He thinks that’s vital for a point guard.
And, make no mistake, Bohannon does consider himself a point guard despite his 287 career 3-pointers, the most in program history. He gets defensive when questioned about it.
A point guard is a leader. Bohannon sees himself as exactly that.
“I know I’m a point guard at heart and what I’m able to bring to the team at every practice and every game,” he said.
“I consider me being a point guard, and I guess my opinion is the only one that matters.”
Bohannon’s opinion is that Iowa center Luka Garza is the undisputed best college player in America. Bohannon’s opinion is that Hawkeye small forward Joe Wieskamp is also deserving of his spot on the 50-player preseason “watch list” for the John Wooden Award.
Bohannon has been happy to see that Wieskamp, a junior from Muscatine who typically likes to let his play do the talking, is starting to behave like an elite athlete. Wieskamp isn’t shying away from the accolades, and the expectations that come with them.
“Absolutely,” Wieskamp said Wednesday when asked if he sees himself as a top-50 player in the nation. “I have a lot to prove this year, but I feel like I’ve earned that based on my play previously.”
Wieskamp averaged 14 points and 6.1 rebounds last year and was named third team all-Big Ten.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has been happy to see Wieskamp flourish as a strong second option to Garza in Iowa’s offense.
“He’s pretty confident in his own skin,” McCaffery said of Wieskamp. “I think he deserves to be on that watch list. That’s not a popularity contest. You earn your way onto that list. It says a lot about him and his work ethic.”
And that brings us back to Bohannon, who said he also considers himself a top-50 player in the country, even if his name isn’t on any official list. He has 513 career assists to rank sixth in program history, plus a scoring average of 11.6 points per game on 40.1% shooting from the 3-point arc.
“It does definitely drive me,” Bohannon said of perhaps being overlooked on a team with two bigger stars. “That’s the kind of energy I feed off of ever since I’ve started at Iowa is these preseason awards. I feel like I’m one of the best point guards in the country, and I feel like my teammates around me feel like that as well. So I’m going to do whatever I can to be one of the best point guards in the country and do whatever I can to help our team win.”
He found a way to mention twice in one answer that he is a point guard. As usual, Bohannon made his point.
Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.