Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter confirmed Friday that four players with eligibility have asked for — and received — their release from the basketball program.
Those players are sophomores Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson, and juniors David Palmer and Jermain Davis. Those players combined for 65 starts last year.
At least two of the remaining Iowa players stand behind Lickliter — at least publicly — and support him as the team tries to move past the turmoil.
“We’re behind coach, and I’ve enjoyed learning from him,” Iowa freshman Matt Gatens said. “He’s a great teacher of the game. It’s a been a joy playing for him. I’ve learned a lot of new things and tools, a lot of things I never even knew about the game and the system. It’s been a joy, and I think we all feel that way.”
Gatens was the only player to start every game for Iowa. Freshman Anthony Tucker, who joined Gatens and other players in attending Lickliter’s news conference. Tucker was ruled academically ineligible for the second semester and missed Iowa’s last 14 games.
Tucker supports Lickliter and said he’s excited about next year.
“I’ve heard some people said your best player left, your starting point guard left, but I wish them the best,” Tucker said. “I don’t feel like we’re going to struggle as much as everyone thinks we are. We’re all excited to play next season.”
“We’ve got guys who want to be here, who want to work hard and are proud to be Hawkeyes. So I don’t know if we’re suffering at all.”