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The Floor General

BY MATT CABEL | NOVEMBER 14, 2013 5:00 AM

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Since Sam Logic started playing the game of basketball, passing has always been her passion — but as her involvement in the game has evolved, so has her role on the floor, from passer to dignified general of the court.

Lisa Bluder knew exactly what she was going to get when she recruited Samantha Logic to come be the point guard for the Iowa women’s basketball program.

A McDonalds All-American, Gatorade and Associate Press Player of the Year in the state of Wisconsin, the No. 10 recruit in the nation from ESPN HoopGurlz, and native of Racine, a city on the shore of Lake Michigan known primarily for being home of Johnson & Johnson.

“She’s a blue-collar player,” Bluder said, in reference to bringing Logic to Iowa City. “An I’m-not-afraid-to-get-dirty, get-the-job-done [player]. I’m going to be physical, I’m going to be tough, I’m going to compete every single time.”

It didn’t hurt that her soon to be point guard could score, rebound, steal, and had a tendency to dish dimes before taking shots — all perfect qualities for replacing the departed Kachine Alexander and senior Kamille Wahlin, who Logic would benefit from playing alongside and learn from for one season.

“We’ve always valued the assist,” Bluder said. “Our program has always been in the top in the country in assists — that’s been very important to us. So she was a natural fit for our program with that mentality.”

Upon her arrival, Sam Logic was designated a starter, but the floor was not yet hers to own. That responsibility fell primarily to Wahlin and shooting guard Jaime Printy, two of the team’s bona fide leaders.

“We all have respect for each other we try not to think of what grade you’re in,” Printy said. “It’s more ‘Who’s going to step up and make those plays?’ and we all had that confidence in Sam right away.”

But midway through the season, Printy went down with an ACL tear. The team needed players to step up to replace its shooter, particularly the highly touted first-year guard. A postseason berth looked out of the question.

“I kind of talked Sam into that leadership role,” Printy said. “…She was going to have to step up, obviously, play some more minutes, and be that leader on the court. She definitely did that for our team. That was a huge step for her, a huge step in her progress that she’s made [at Iowa] — she had to become a leader that much faster than everyone else.”

Logic was instrumental in helping the team reach the postseason again, leading the program to what was then its fifth-consecutive appearance.

“You have some rough games as a freshman,” Logic said. “It’s a big learning curve, and [Coach Bluder] stuck with us. She’s always played a lot of freshman — she’s had to sometimes, with injuries our team has had. It’s helpful to have that game experience.”

A pass-first mindset

Logic comes from what one may call a basketball family.

Her father played in college at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, she is the starting point guard for the Hawkeyes, and younger sister Brette is a freshman point guard at St. Ambrose University, in Davenport.

Logic’s father Steve never played professionally, but his love for the game didn’t stop after college. He continued to play in city leagues and at the YMCA and brought a young Samantha with him to watch. The young point guard-to-be would shoot baskets on the empty side of the court, and dribble between chairs scattered around the gym. 

That continued, and Logic grew to love the game, starting to play city-league basketball in third grade. She eventually started playing on traveling teams around sixth grade, which was also around the time she started to fall in love with the orange sphere.

“I really had a lot of fun in middle school,” Logic said. “People enjoyed [basketball], but I seemed to like it a lot more and really wanted to do it a lot more. In high school, it really hit me. When you start playing AAU, you start seeing other courts with college coaches, and you start getting that idea that maybe you could [play in college].”

Sam Logic and Brette Logic played pickup games against each other in the front driveway frequently. One summer, they would play to a score of 100, taking a half time break of sorts when one of them scored 50. Although the games were sisterly competition, the skills they gained were beneficial for both as players.

“It definitely made us tougher,” Brette Logic said and laughed. “We never called any fouls.”

Steve Logic coached both of his daughters when they were young, and his main agenda for members of his team was finding the open teammate, a value instilled in his daughters for life. It has shown, as Logic was the Big Ten’s assist leader in 2012-13, and broke the single season assist record with 198.

“Getting other people involved is so much more fun,” Sam Logic said. “You can have someone that can dominate the whole game, and literally just score, but I never really enjoyed watching them. Obviously, great moves you like watching, but I really liked watching great passing. I’ve always liked that. “My sister’s like that, too. She had a game where she actually scored all the points for her team in fifth or sixth grade, but you would have never guessed… She has the [pass first] mentality too. She’s not going to score unless she has to. We were brought up around basketball that way, from how we watched it. You would never guess that she scored all the points, and she wouldn’t have ever wanted to. But she wanted to win, too … it’s just kind of how we are.”

Shooting is confidence

Unbeknown to many, Iowa’s single-season assist-record holder used to be a golfer.

Many high-school athletes compete in track during the off season for their main sport, but after basketball season ended, Logic would trade her jersey and high tops shoes for a polo and cleats and hit the fairway after the final bell.

Logic also played softball in her high-school days. But she plays neither sport now, except for the occasional trip to the driving range. She quit both before her senior year of high school to focus on basketball, despite being a two-time all-conference selection for softball and letter winner in golf.

But she had another reason for quitting golf: Her results didn’t meet her expectations.

“I wasn’t very good at it,” she said. “And I don’t like not being good at things.”

It’s something that shows to this day, three games into her third season of Division I women’s basketball. The junior struggled scoring, particularly from beyond the arc, when she was thrust into action as a true freshman, affecting games more with her passes than with baskets.

Now, things are different. Logic, as an upperclassmen, a captain, a leader, is asked by Bluder to do more. She’s one of only nine healthy scholarship athletes, which means that the head coach needed the point guard to score more points. Logic attempted 49 and 51 3-pointers in her first two seasons and only made 15 in each.

So Logic hit the gym to improve her shooting from beyond the arc during the off-season. She put up thousands of shots from downtown during the team’s eight weeks of summer workouts and practice in order to fill the void left by Printy.

Twice against Dayton, she put up 3-pointers directly in the face of her defenders — once with two of them — and both hit nothing but net. It seems she embraces her shot from beyond the arc with a confidence normally reserved for NBA sharpshooters. Logic has hit 4-of-5 shots from deep so far in the young season.

No shot she’s hit all season, possibly even in her career, was bigger than her overtime-forcing 3-pointer on Sunday against Dayton, a situation and outcome reminiscent of Ray Allen in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals,. Theairra Taylor dished to her teammate at the top of the key, and Logic took the shot with no hesitation, “hoping that it would go in.”

“That’s Sam,” Printy said. “…I was listening to [the game] on the radio, and they said she went down and I said to everyone around me right away, ‘Oh, she’ll be fine, it’s Sam.’ And of course she hops up with a chipped tooth and hits the game-tying 3 [pointer].”

After the ball sank through the net and the Carver crowd rose to its feet, Logic was one of the first players across the court, backing up to make sure her shot wasn’t in vain.

“For her to come in and be able to focus three and a half minutes after losing half a tooth, that takes a lot,” Bluder said. “A lot of people would be thinking about your tooth instead of thinking about win this game for my team. It shows what a competitor she is. It shows what kind of focus she has.”

The floor general

Now that Logic has added a 3-point shot and the ability to finish in the lane, she’s not just as passing point guard.

She’s the Iowa floor general.

It’s Logic’s responsibility to set up the offense, to make sure her teammates are in the correct positions, to understand the game going on around her and what the coaching staff is looking for, Bluder said.

“There are things that you can see on the court that you can’t see on the bench,” the 14th-year head coach said. “I’m not scared to ask in a huddle, ‘What do you see out there? What can we use offensively? How are they playing us?’ They have a better sense of that being on the course than I do.”

The role is one that Logic has flourished under. To go with her 16 points against Dayton, Logic also passed for 14 assists, a personal record and tied for an Iowa school record. In the season opening win against California-Riverside on Nov. 8, Logic scored a career high 28 points. With Printy and center Morgan Johnson gone to graduation, the leadership role now falls to her and Taylor.

‘She’s super competitive,” Taylor said. “You can just look at her face and know that she’s like, ‘We need to pick it up.’ That’s just something she’s born with. That’s something that goes down through the mind of the team. We see that, and we all pick it up a little bit.”

Iowa’s up-tempo offense flows through Logic, beginning with a pass at the top of the key and ending with a layup underneath the basket.

“I trust Sam doing just about anything,” Bluder said Nov. 6. “If I needed my oil changed, I’d trust Sam, and I’ve never seen her do anything like that … In my opinion, Sam can really accomplish anything. When I told her that we were going to be more of an up-tempo team, her eyes just got big. She had a big old smile on her face, and she was ready to go. This is Sam’s type of game.”


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