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MGR Express looks for championship repeat

BY KYLIE SEBERT | FEBRUARY 02, 2010 7:30 AM

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Last winter, MGR Express took the intramural basketball season by storm, winning its first All-University title after two seasons of heartbreak.

Now, after reigning supreme on the Field House hardwood, eyes are on the returning champions, who anticipate a repeat — not another Final Four placing as in 2007 and 2008.

The powerhouse team is primarily made up of seven managers from the Iowa men’s basketball team. An athletics trainer and a video coordinator round out the squad, with Iowa assistant coach Joel Cornette leading the bunch.

“The great thing about intramural basketball at the UI is that it’s a chance to get a great workout, and your team is guaranteed good competition,” he said.

Before becoming an assistant coach for the Hawkeyes, Cornette played at Butler for four years as an undergraduate. A power forward for the Bulldogs, he averaged 11. 6 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 32.1 minutes per game during the 2002-03 season.

He has also contributed to MGR immensely in past seasons. This season, however, his busy schedule has him focused on the Hawkeyes, and he may not be able to play often.

Although he may be absent on occasion, he doesn’t think competition should rest easy.

“I am confident that the group this year will be very competitive in the league, and we hope for a repeat.” Cornette said.

He feels it’s a good way to show appreciation for what the managers do, he said.

“It’s fun to be able to participate in intramural games with them throughout the season and often try to incorporate things we teach the team into those contests,” Cornette said.

Another threat on MGR is Garrett Lickliter, the middle son of Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter.

Garrett Lickliter also attended Butler University but didn’t play basketball.

Instead, he transferred to Marian University, a Catholic and Franciscan institution, also in Indianapolis. There, he played basketball for a year before coming to Iowa for graduate school.

Last year was Lickliter’s first on MGR and his first as a graduate student in recreational sports management. He served as a graduate manager alongside his father as well.

When asked if MGR practices as a team, Garrett Lickliter said the squad doesn’t practice but just shows up to play.

“Even though we don’t practice, we are all together every single day, so we have great camaraderie.” he said.

MGR posted its first win of the season during the team’s first intramural basketball game in the Field House on Sunday night. Lickliter said MGR hopes to repeat as All-University champions this year.

“After winning that title, if we don’t win, anything else is going to be a letdown for us,” he said.

While there are stars on MGR team, UI senior Brandon Morris said success hinges on a balanced effort by everyone on the team.

Morris, who has been working for the men’s basketball team since his freshman year and has been a manager since his sophomore year, has high hopes for the season as well.

“We are looking to repeat this year, but we are also looking to get all of the people on our team involved and playing balanced amounts of time,” he said.


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