Anthony Hubbard left Fran McCaffery red-faced. It's not the end of the world, but it's embarrassing for all involved. The University of Iowa spent significant time and resources vetting Hubbard, a felon who spent nearly four years in prison for his role in the robbery and beating of an elderly man in 2003.
Many critics, including numerous Hawkeyes fans, did not think it was a good idea to give a scholarship to a 26-year old man with Hubbard's past, no matter how desperate Iowa was for a talent upgrade. Head Coach McCaffery and Athletic Director Gary Barta realized and respected all the trepidation, which is why they made a move that would ultimately backfire.
Iowa called a news conference June 15th so McCaffery and Barta could vouch for Hubbard's character. Hubbard represented himself well, and sounded like a guy who learned from mistakes and deserved a second chance. McCaffery talked about the trust he had in Hubbard, and how the junior college transfer fully grasped what he was getting into.
Hubbard now leaves, and no one saw it coming. Hubbard says he wants to transfer "perhaps closer to home", which leaves the door open to a move farther from home.
What went wrong? How did McCaffery misread Hubbbard? More questions than answers.
McCaffery is right when he said in a statement that at least Iowa found out in July, not September. Hubbard was expected to start, but Iowa's not going to the post-season either way, so it's a setback, not a deathblow.
The U of I news release intimates Hubbard was homesick. He's 26. And on its worst day, Iowa City is a heckuva lot nicer than prison. Something doesn't add up.
The curious case of Anthony Hubbard will likely be remembered as yet one more sign that the pursuit of winning often clouds the judgment of people who should know better. A wise man once said, you never have to talk yourself into a good decision.
(photo courtesy of www.hawkeyedrive.com)