Iowa basketball got some bad news on Monday afternoon -- though not necessarily some unexpected news. Jordan Bohannon announced plans to shut things down for the rest of the 2019-20 season, effectively immediately. This decision isn't just a matter of Bohannon dealing with pain from the surgery on his right hip during the offseason and needing additional recovery time. Bohannon is also going to have surgery on his other hip (the left one), so there's zero chance of him getting the itch to come back and play for Iowa in January or February. We have seen the last of Bohannon in an Iowa jersey for this season.
In all likelihood, though, we have not seen the last of Bohannon in an Iowa jersey overall. Bohannon is in his fourth year of eligibility this year, but he and Iowa will pursue a medical hardship waiver for him to gain an additional year of eligibility for the 2020-21 season. Bohannon is considered very likely to receive that fifth year of eligibility, as The Des Moines Register's Chad Leistikow explained. In order to qualify for a waiver, a player needs to play in no more than 30% of his team's games (in this case, 10 games; Bohannon played in exactly 10 games this season) and he cna't play in the second half of the season (all 10 of Bohannon's games this year came in November and December, well before the halfway mark of Iowa's season). Bohannon's situation appears very much like a similar situation for another in-state player: Iowa State's Naz Mitrou-Long. Mitrou-Long played in 8 games in 2015-16 (with his final appearance coming in the Iowa-Iowa State game -- just like Bohannon) before ending his season to continue rehab from offseason hip surgeries. He received a waiver and returned to play a full season in 2016-17.
Bohannon's ongoing health issues are a bummer and a sour note for an Iowa team that's really started to click over the last few weeks, but it shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone who's been following Iowa basketball this season. Even before the season, the possibility of Bohannon seeking a medical redshirt was floated as a strong possibility and while he had some good outings over Iowa's first 11 games, it was also clear that he was still not the same player that lit up the scoreboard for Iowa over the past three seasons. He hit double-figures in scoring in just four of the 10 games he played in this season and he was posting career lows in both 2FG% (21.7%) and 3FG% (32.8%). Word came out a few weeks ago that Bohannon was still dealing with considerable pain and not practicing at all, which made an eventual redshirt seem even more likely. Now, knowing that Bohannon needs another hip surgery, it makes even more sense that he was struggling so much to find a rhythm in the first part of the season and makes the redshirt decision seem even more obvious.
Now Bohannon has around 11 months until his next appearance in an Iowa uniform, which will hopefully be plenty of time for him to get fully healed and return better than ever for his final season. As Leistikow noted, when Mitrou-Long came back for his fifth season, he had his best season at Iowa State, scoring a career-high 15.1 ppg and helping Iowa State to a Big 12 Tournament championship. We would certainly welcome a similar final season for Bohannon. Iowa looks set to return a very experienced and talented team next season, with only Ryan Kriener and Bakari Evelyn slated to depart from this year's squad. The possibility of a healthy Bohannon teaming with experienced versions of Joe Wieskamp, Luka Garza, C.J. Fredrick, Connor McCaffery, and Joe Toussaint -- plus whatever Iowa is able to get from Jack Nunge, Cordell Pemsl, and their incoming crop of freshmen -- is a pretty tantalizing one.
We'll cover what Bohannon's absence means for this year's team in another post. For now we'll miss seeing him for the rest of this season, but we're grateful for the performances he was able to provide in this abbreviated season; his scoring was crucial to Iowa's wins over Texas Tech and Syracuse, his assists were a big part of Iowa's blowout win over Minnesota, and he made some key plays in Iowa's win over Iowa State as well. Get well soon, JBo -- we wish you a full and speedy recovery.