Tucker allowed to practice, return unknown


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To say sophomore Anthony Tucker has been cleared to practice again with the Iowa men’s basketball team would be an accurate assessment. But whether he returns to the game-time hardwood this season remains to be seen.

Prior to the Hawkeyes’ 58-43 win at Indiana on Sunday, Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter announced Tucker would be allowed to return to practice, and as of Monday, the Minnetonka, Minn., native has been doing that.

Tucker was arrested for a public intoxication on Dec. 20, 2009 — his second such arrest since he arrived on campus in 2008. Since that time, he has missed the Hawkeyes’ previous nine contests as a result of a suspension handed down by Lickliter.

The third-year Iowa coach made it clear during a press conference on Tuesday that Tucker being back on the team does not mean the 6-4 guard will be playing at 7:30 p.m. today, when the Hawkeyes face No. 20 Ohio State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Lickliter said no timetable has been established for when — or if — Tucker will play again this season.

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“As far as the university goes, he would be eligible to play. I’m not comfortable with it,” he said.

In Tucker’s absence, Iowa has gone 4-5, but that includes three wins in the Hawkeyes’ last four contests.

Lickliter said the timing of Tucker’s return hinged on meeting guidelines set forth by administration and that now was an appropriate time to let him practice again with teammates.

“Ultimately, I could say, ‘No,’ ” he said. “But there was administration involved, there was a process he had gone through, and there was an indication to me that he cleared all the hurdles.

“We’ve prepared well. I like the way we’re playing. Anthony can come and help us in practice. His concentration should be on the schooling and the responsibilities he has.”

The players said they are thrilled to not only see Tucker with the team again but be able to move on from the incident.

“I would say he has served his time,” said sophomore guard Matt Gatens, who is also Tucker’s roommate. “Hopefully, he has learned from it and will move on. I welcomed him back with open arms.”

Getting the word out

The excitement level is high among the Hawkeyes for tonight’s showdown against the Buckeyes, and all UI students will be admitted free to tonight’s game.

From the players hitting up sororities to members of the Hawks’ Nest speaking in front of classes to remind students about the game, they’re making efforts to ensure everyone hears the message.

The Hawkeyes hope for a big crowd, especially with the recent success the team has had, winning two of its last three Big Ten contests with the lone defeat coming at Michigan State by seven points.

“I feel like we’re playing very well right now, and I encourage them all to come, especially with the free admission,” freshman Eric May said. “There’s not a big excuse not to come. It’s going to be a good team coming in, and it will be a good game.”

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