Iowa redshirt sophomore forward Jack Nunge will miss the rest of the 2019-20 basketball season after tearing his ACL during the Hawkeyes' win over Cal Poly Sunday, according to a statement by the program:
Hawkeye sophomore forward Jack Nunge suffers torn ACL, Iowa announces. pic.twitter.com/kcBiJpuBSm— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) November 25, 2019
Nunge, of course, redshirted last season after a freshman season where he started hot and faded down the stretch. He struggled in his first two games back -- he posted a zero offensive rating in ten minutes against DePaul -- but double-digit scoring performances against Oral Roberts and UNF gave us some hope of a turnaround. Iowa fans will have to wait another year for that, unfortunately.
The injury leaves Fran McCaffery's team at a true crossroads just five games into the campaign. Since the end of last season, Iowa has lost its best guard, Jordan Bohannon, and now its power forward to injury, and its best incoming recruit, Patrick McCaffery, is currently unable to play due to illness and out indefinitely. There has to be a temptation to shut down Bohannon and the younger McCaffery at this point and use redshirts to get them to a 2020 rebuild. On the other hand, Luka Garza is truly becoming an offensive force, and Joe Weiskamp -- at least on paper the best player on this team -- could well jump to the pros after this season; declaring their seasons a lost cause would be a disservice to them and their teammates. Iowa's performance in Las Vegas later this week could determine the course of the entire season now.
As for the future, it's clear that Nunge is in Fran McCaffery's plans if he comes back, but it would hardly be unusual for an out-of-state player who just went through a redshirt season, now facing another year without much basketball, to leave for something else. Players have left programs for much less than this. We hope he gets healthy and comes back, and is stretching defenses in Carver Hawkeye Arena this time next year.