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The Sporting Discourse: Hubbard not a gamble for Iowa basketball

BY IAN MARTIN | APRIL 26, 2011 7:20 AM

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On April 23, Iowa men's basketball head coach Fran McCaffery signed his third recruit — a 26-year-old convicted felon.

And that's the last time I hope anyone mentions this man's past, because what really happened goes beyond what a criminal record can and does show.

The Hawkeyes signed a mature individual, one who fits into the hard-but-fun work ethic that McCaffery and his staff have embedded in his men from day one.

Anthony Hubbard is from Woodbridge, Va. Instead of deflecting questions about his past — his three years and 11 months in prison for being convicted of robbery at the age of 17 — he answers them, sometimes getting emotional.

In an interview with The Daily Iowan, he just seemed appreciative even to get offers to play Division-I basketball at his age and with his rap sheet.

"A couple years ago, I couldn't see that in my future," he admitted. "It was breathtaking for me. I was like 'Man, me?' "

Hubbard has handled his situation much better than many previous Iowa athletes who have been in serious trouble.

He immediately pleaded guilty to the crime, served his time, and after being released, worked at getting and eventually received a high-school diploma.

After playing no high school or AAU basketball, he played at two different junior colleges and averaged an impeccable 20 points and 10 rebounds at Frederick (Md.) Community College last year.

No slip ups, now eight years after his major mistake. Even if he wouldn't call it that.

"What I've learned from my whole situation is a mistake is a mistake if you don't learn from it," Hubbard told insidenova.com on the day of his press conference where he announced his college choice. "If you learn from it, it becomes a lesson. If you make the things you consider mistakes in your life lessons, you can definitely learn from them and grow from them."

That's incredible wisdom. The type the team will be losing next year with Jarryd Cole's departure.
Unless Hubbard gets into trouble in Iowa City, something that seems more than unlikely, this is a win-win for the Iowa basketball program.

McCaffery gets a probable diamond-in-the-rough, a 6-5 player who can come from the wing or even play some point guard.

For Hubbard, he continues post-penitentiary life in a way he probably never dreamed of.

And much like he has regained control of all he can the best that he can, Hawkeye fans should do what they can to support him in his continued journey that now leads him to Iowa City.


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