IOWA CITY, Iowa – It’s taken more than two years, but Iowa’s Ryan Kriener is finally coming into his own.
The junior with big contributions on both ends of the floor in his past two games, including the Hawkeyes’ win over Nebraska.
“I had those jitters at the beginning of the game,” Kriener said. “It was really awesome to get my first start at my dream school.”
Kriener’s first start is a high mark in a career that’s been filled with low points. He says support from the entire program helped him stay the course.
“Coach McCaffery was telling me a lot, ‘Hey trust your talent, you’re a player. I’m gonna keep coming back to you, don’t worry, you’re gonna get through it’. And the guys, their confidence in me was never wavering,” Kriener said. “They were always telling me, ‘Be aggressive, do your thing.”
“I think we’ve all known this was coming,” McCaffery said. “We’ve seen it before. He’s a skilled big guy. He can score. He can pass and catch. He’s really a good defender, he slides his feet, he’s got great length. He’s a tough guy, so he’ll stick his nose in there.”
Kriener scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the first time ever as a Hawk. Jordan Bohannon says that’s the player he remembers from their days playing AAU.
“I’ve been telling him that he has a chance to be a fantastic player by the time he graduates,” Jordan Bohannon said. “There’s a reason why he had a lot of schools looking at him back in high school. It was so much fun to play with him because he just screens the crap out of guys on the court.”
“We have a lot of talented guys on this team and if I can get them open, that helps our team a lot,” Kriener said. “I think that guys, you know, kind of feed off my screening action or my cutting action …stuff like that.”
Tyler Cook said after the win that Kriener was so amped up for his first start, that he actually asked him to tone down his pregame hype session. Whatever he did, it certainly worked.