Freshman Jinaya Houston to take leave of absence from Iowa basketball

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

Update: In late September, Houston said in an email to the Quad City Times that she was leaving Iowa's basketball program because she lost her love for basketball. 

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Hawkeye freshman Jinaya Houston is taking a leave of absence from the Iowa women's basketball team, head coach Lisa Bluder announced in a release Friday afternoon.

Davenport North's Jinaya Houston (top) signed her National Letter of Intent for the Iowa women's basketball team this week.

"We feel it is best for Jinaya to spend some time away from the court in order to focus on some personal and health-related issues," Bluder said in the statement. "She will remain at Iowa for the time being. Jinaya’s health and well-being is our primary concern."

It's not immediately clear how this will impact Iowa. Last spring, assistant coach Jan Jensen told HawkCentral the staff was hoping for "great contributions" from Houston this season.

Houston, a 6-foot-1 guard from Davenport North who drew comparisons to Ally Disterhoft, was one of two incoming freshmen for Bluder. The other is Paula Valiño Ramos, a 6-foot-3 post from Spain.

ESPN gave Houston three stars and a grade of 90, and it ranked her the No. 19 wing of the 2017 class. Blue Star pegged her as the 118th-best 2017 recruit in the country. 

Houston averaged 18 points on 56.7 percent shooting, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals for 18-5 Davenport North last season.

Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBain_.