Point/Couterpoint: Who should have been the DI's Male Athlete of the Year?

BY DI STAFF | MAY 11, 2015 5:00 AM

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Aaron White

In all likelihood, Brandon Scherff will have a better professional career than Aaron White. That’s far from a knock on White but rather a general state of confidence that a 6-5, 319-pound Paul Bunyan look-alike of a man might find success in the NFL.

Despite this, my vote for Male Athlete of the Year goes to White.

It’s hard to make the case for White without repeating what has already been said. He’s perhaps the most important, talented, influential basketball player at Iowa since Chris Street or Roy Marble. He holds or is near the top of nearly every career statistical record at Iowa. And he helped turn a program around that was stuck in the figurative molasses state known as the Todd Lickliter era.

It’s probably unfair, but Scherff is hurt — at least in my eyes — by the fact that producing NFL talent is really nothing new for Iowa football. White is helped by the opposite being true for the basketball program.

Counting this year’s class, Iowa football will boast something around 30 former Hawkeyes on NFL rosters. Iowa basketball has just two players continuing their careers in the NBA, Reggie Evans and Devyn Marble, who are separated by nearly 12 years. White will likely become the third. 

Scherff was a continuation of the Iowa football machine, which spits out a first-round NFL lineman seemingly every year or two. White and what he helped build at Iowa could be the start of something new for the basketball program, which is enough in my book to be Male Athlete of the Year.

— Jacob Sheyko

Carson Schaake

Finishing on top for the Iowa men’s golf team, sophomore Carson Schaake finished tied for first place at the Big Ten Championships, which should have been enough to earn him the title for Male Athlete of the Year. 

Winning a tournament for any athlete is an accomplishment in its self, but winning the entire Big Ten Championship tournament is monumental. 

Schaake shot a season and lifetime best of 65 in the first round of the tournament followed by 70, 76, and 73 to finish the tournament tied for first with Nick Hardy from Illinois. 

The first-place tie also was a great achievement for Schaake because he tied with a player from Illinois, which has been the dominant team all season and placed in first this year at the Big Ten Championships, beating second-place Iowa by 32 strokes. 

On top of tying a player from a school that is arguably the best team in the Big Ten, Schaake came out on top against a total of a total of 70 golfers. Rarely does a single athlete beat so many other players in a single event. 

Schaake’s low total of 284 also helped Iowa advance to the regional NCAAs.  

Schaake has been consistent for the Hawkeyes all season shooting at or below par for 16 rounds, placing top 20 for eight rounds, and placing top 10 for four rounds. 

If Schaake can keep up his consistency, he will only get better in the next two years as a Hawkeye — Schaake will have a good chance to lead the team to a Big Ten championship.

— Rod Engblom

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