Nile Kinnick started for Iowa last time Hawkeyes’ basketball season ended in February

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ANSWER: The last time Iowa’s men’s basketball team failed to play a game in March was in 1938 when the Big Ten season ended on Feb. 28 for the Hawkeyes. But it wasn’t like Iowa was horrible in 1938. The Hawkeyes were 11-9 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten action to finish fifth.

The final game was a figurative barn burner between Iowa and Minnesota before 12,000 fans at the old Iowa Fieldhouse. The Gophers rallied late to win 30-29. Only three players scored field goals for Iowa. Ben Stephens, who was a first-team all-Big Ten forward, led the Hawkeyes with 15 points. Football tight end Erwin Prasse, who doubled up as Iowa’s basketball center, scored a basket late in the game.

The only other Hawkeyes player with a field goal that night was sophomore forward Nile Kinnick, who scored 6 points on 3 buckets. Kinnick averaged 6.1 points a game that season. In Big Ten action, Kinnick finished 15th in scoring with 75 total points (6.3 points per game).

That was the only season Kinnick earned a basketball letter at Iowa. Of course he was a little busy the rest of his college career. Kinnick was student body president in 1939. He also played football that year and became the school’s only Heisman Trophy winner. He led the Hawkeyes to victories against national powers Minnesota and Notre Dame in a 6-1-1 season. Kinnick also was named the Associated Press’ male athlete of the year.

In 1941, Kinnick postponed a law career to enlist in the Navy. Tragically, Kinnick was killed June 2, 1943, during a World War II training exercise off the Venezuela coast. In 1972, Iowa Stadium was renamed Kinnick Stadium. He’s revered as the most iconic figure in state history, and Iowa was robbed of his leadership.

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This quote about Nile Kinnick appears at the Big Ten offices in Rosemont, Ill. (Scott Dochterman/Land of 10)

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The post Nile Kinnick started for Iowa last time Hawkeyes’ basketball season ended in February appeared first on Land of 10.

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