The Jeff Horner Blog, Feb. 8

HN.com Senior Writer
Posted Feb 8, 2008


Former Iowa point guard Jeff Horner returns with his latest blog installment for HN.com. This week, the Iowa Energy guard talks about his team's winning streak, its chances in the future, and an event in which his teammate and former Hawkeye, Doug Thomas, will take part.

Feb. 8, 2008

Hello Everyone,

We are now on a four game winning streak, our longest of the season. We played Sioux Falls last night and got a win. They are right above us in the division right now. We play them again on Sunday, so this weekend is pretty big for us. They have two NBA players down right now. Chris Richard, from the Timberwolves and Jemareo Davidson, from the Bobcats.

They had won six in a row before playing us. We just lost Anthony Tolliver, who played at Creighton. He left to go to Germany, which was definitely a smart move on his part. He is a rookie and I am sure he wanted to make some money before the year is done.

Right now we are sitting at 13-15 and are finally playing very well. The great thing about this league is that Dakota, the team with the best record in our division just lost two of their best players so hopefully we can take advantage of that.

I got to go to my second Hawkeye game last Saturday against Ohio State. I went with my good friend and former teammate Jack Brownlee, who lives down here in Des Moines.

We were sitting courtside and were giving Ohio State's freshman Evan Turner a lot of trash talking. It was all in good fun though. We had him talking back to us, which is probably what most freshmen would do in that situation. In the end the Hawks came out on top, so I would say that all parties got the best of him.

The Hawks are playing very well right now and are doing a good job of giving themselves chances to win at the end. They play very good defense and their offense is starting to come around. Hopefully they can get on a hot streak here and make some sort of run at post season play.

That is about it for now. There is not much new in the D-League for this week.

There is one more thing. Doug Thomas will be competing in the slam dunk contest down in New Orleans for the all-star game. He will be going up against Brent Petway (Michigan) and Mike Taylor (Iowa State) so it should be an interesting time down there for him. Until next time…Go Hawks.

Jeff

January 28, 2008

Hey Guys, (Long One)

Let me just start off by saying that we have finally broken our nine-game losing streak and are only one game back of being in second place in our division. That is the beauty of this league.

After the showcase in Idaho, I guess everyone just takes off and goes overseas if they do not get a call up from the NBA. I guess I did it the other way around, I went to Europe first then to the D-League.

Dakota is on top of our league at 16-9 and we are 11-15. However, Dakota just lost two of their best players to Europe.

We just had a two-game home stand with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. We ended up winning both games by a total of seven points. We squandered twenty point leads in both games, but came out on top.

Things are going a lot better now. I am playing the point guard and actually playing pretty well. JamesOn went back up the Bulls and got in a little bit of trouble while he was down here. With him going back up, I now get my chance to play the position I came here to play. I am pretty happy about that, but not at another person’s expense.

For the end of the blog I am going to answer some questions that some readers gave Rob:

1. Does/Did Jeff stay in contact with Dean Oliver? Both are from Mason City and followed each other in high school and at Iowa. Curious if there was ever any bond?

Jeff's Answer: I do stay in contact with Dean. I have not talked to him in awhile, but he lives in Las Vegas now and I got to eat dinner with him and his dad last summer.

I have always looked up to Dean and continue to do so. To do the types of things he did not only as a player, but as a person is just mind blowing. My dad was his high school coach so I was at every practice and was always trying to learn from Dean.

2. With Jeff committing to Iowa as a freshman and with Matt Gatens doing the same...can Jeff offer any view point as to what they both possibly went thru during their four years of school; i.e. were they still contacted by other colleges, animosity by others b/c they committed at an early age, etc.?

Jeff's Answer: I think the big thing about committing to Iowa at such an early age is that everyone is going to expect him to be the savior of Iowa Basketball. That is just way too much pressure to put on an 18-, 19-year-old kid. All he can do is come in and do what he does.

I have played with Matt many times and he has a great basketball IQ along with a lot of tools that you do not see many young kids in this era have. He also has to deal with playing a good game and everyone loving him and congratulating him to when he has a bad game and some of those same people are going to turn their backs on him and say he is not that good or we wasted a scholarship.

I was still being contacted by other colleges after my recruitment and my dad was actually contacted by Lute Olsen and he told my dad that if things do not work out at Iowa, they could find a spot for me at Arizona. Obviously, I would never have changed my mind and I am happy that I went to Iowa. I have had people doubt me from day one. Everyone thought I was too slow, could not get a shot off, blah-blah-blah. It just made me more motivated to go out and prove people wrong.

I think a lot of people probably look at me and see a normal guy out on the court, someone that looks just like them. So then those people think, well why can't I do what he does? I think that has to do with a lot of people being mad about where I have gotten myself too in the basketball world. For every one of those guys though there are a hundred Hawk fans that are going to love you no matter what you do. That’s how it should be.

Don't get me wrong, criticism should happen, but in the end nobody is trying to do poorly if they have a bad game.

3. With Jared Reiner and Paul Shirley having blogs.....will this lead to his next career when basketball is over?

Jeff's Answer: I just got done reading Shirley's book and it was amazing. I felt like I have been right along next to him. I read Jared's blogs as well and I just do not think I can pull off what they do. They are both pretty funny. I will stick to being a coach when I am done, but I enjoy this.

-Jeff

Hello Everyone,

Not much new in the D-League world. We are however on a four-game losing streak. Not really sure what the problem is. Our roster keeps on changing, which might have a little bit to do with it. JamesOn Curry has come back to us from the Bulls so I have moved back to the two guard a little bit more.

It feels like we just keep playing the same teams over and over again. We played the Dakota Wizards on Friday Night. We then play them again Sunday at our place and then again on Monday in Boise, Idaho, of all places. This might be the absolute weirdest (if that’s a word) schedule I have ever played in my life.

Right now I am watching the Iowa/Michigan St. game and Iowa is ahead by four with sixteen minutes to go. Hopefully they can pull this one out and get a win under their belt. Sorry if it just seems like I am writing anything I can to take up space, but sometimes life in the D-League can get a little boring.

As for me personally, I am not having the most impressive season ever. I am averaging right around nine points, four assists, and four rebounds. I am not shooting the ball all that great from the three point line, but it is a heck of a heave from way back there. Now I can see why so many rookies struggle shooting the ball in the NBA.

I hope everyone had a great holliday season and I hope by the time everyone reads this the Hawks have pulled out a W.

Jeff

Editor’s Note: Jeff submitted this blog on Sunday, but we didn’t receive it until today.

1-3-08

Hey, Everyone,

This week’s blog is probably going to be a little short. I have to get ready to go on a beautiful road trip to Sioux Falls, SD and play the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

It has been pretty wild since the last time I wrote. We are now 9-8 and are falling fast. I have decided that we need to get everyone on our team thinking that if we win then more guys will get looked at by the NBA. I know that is the point Coach Nurse is trying to get us to believe and I as well believe this.

For the rest of the blog, I am going to talk about a few other Hawkeyes and let you guys know the whereabouts of some of them.

First, I will start off with Greg Brunner. He is back in Belgium again this year with the team we played in the finals last year in Oostende. He is having a pretty good year, but the coach for some reason is shorting him on playing time. Their team however is in first place and I think Bru pretty much likes it for the most part.

Erek Hansen is over in Spain this year. Last time I talked to him he was hurt and had not played in a long time. Right now he is in the second division, which is pretty good for a second year player.

Jared Reiner is in the first division in Spain right now and is also finding a shortage of playing time.

Doug Thomas is, of course, playing with me on the Iowa Energy. Doug has been playing really well and is starting to come into his own.

Dean Oliver is over in Holland this year. His team is in first place and he is being a great leader for their ball club. Not sure how many more years Dean is going to play. He just had a baby this past summer, and I know it has been hard being away from them for him.

Sorry my blog this week could not have been longer. It is pretty hectic going all over the place and playing a lot of games. I will have some time next week to elaborate more on what is going on with my season.

Jeff

12-20-07

Hello again,

It has been a pretty crazy week for our team. On Friday, we played the Sioux Falls Skyforce. We played really well and were playing together probably the best we played all year in the first half. The second half was a different story. We were up twenty-five and the next thing we knew we were going to overtime. It was one of those games where in the second half it just felt like we could do nothing right. We ended up winning the game and were just lucky to get out of there with a 'W'.

If that was not interesting enough for you, we had to be at the airport by 5:30 a.m. the next morning to catch a plane to Tulsa, who we were supposed to play at 7 p.m. that night. Our plane was delayed four hours and by the time we actually got to Tulsa we had about two hours to rest. Anyways, we came out with no energy and got beat by around twenty. This is something we are going to have to correct if we want to win this league.

I am just going to answer some questions that some of the reader's sent to Rob:

The first question people wanted to know was the Alford/Pierre situations. I am really not going to get into a lot about both of them. Coach Alford and I get along and still talk occasionally. He has always been good to his players and of course people who were in the program are going to have biased opinions towards him. A lot of times when people left they blamed Coach Alford, but the fact of the matter is he gave everyone a fair shot. In the end some of the guys that left just did not fit into his style of play and wanted a change. The situation ended well for both the University and Coach.

I think where things turned around for Coach was probably the Pierre thing. Pierre put Coach in a tough spot and Pierre knows that. It was just shocking news when we heard about the situation the first time because Pierre is a quiet kid.

I talked to Pierre this Summer out in Las Vegas and he is trying to get things turned around. Hopefully he can do that and stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, the decision Coach made was not a popular one with the Hawkeye fan base and I think it kind of haunted Coach for the rest of his time at Iowa. I think Coach Lickliter will do a great job at Iowa and I hope fans can be patient for a couple of years and let him do his thing.

Another question asked about was what chairities and things I am involved in. I did Toys for Tots last week in Des Moines and it was a great experience. When I am done doing things like that it makes me want to help out even more. As of now, the team is setting all of those things up and hopefully in the years to come I can get more involved with things like that. Other than doing those things I have signed jerseys, given tickets, and helped out auctions and things like that in order to help raise money for people in need.

Another question asked was what am I going to do when I am done with basketball. This is a tough question and I have about a million ideas going on in my head everyday. I know I want to be around the game somehow, but I am just not sure at what level. I want to try and get into college coaching for sure, probably sooner than later.

My body is not holding up to well. I think once I get an offer for a good situation to start as an assistant at the college level I will probably more than likely take it. If none of those work out I would love to get something going like Jake Sullivan is running. He is doing a great job of getting a lot of young kids involved with the game of basketball. We will just wait and see. Whatever I do it will involve basketball, that I am sure of.

Happy Holidays,

Jeff

12-12-07

Hello again,

For this week’s blog, I am going to try and give you guys a little bit of an idea of the situation I am in.

Right now we have JameSon Curry down from the Chicago Bulls. He was there second-round pick this past year. The reason I am telling everyone this is because he plays my position and right now I am getting most of my time at the two.

Obviously, I want to play as much as I can and have happily moved over to the two spot since the start of the season. Once JameSon goes back up, I will move back to my natural spot which is the one.

The reason I am talking about this is because this happens a lot in the D-league. You have to be patient sometimes with everything that is going on around you.

The main reason anybody plays in the D-league is because they think they have a shot at getting a call-up to the NBA. Some people obviously have better chances than others, but I know that if I am playing the two this will never happen unless I never miss a shot (too late, ha-ha).

The tough part about my short-lived professional career is the decision I made coming out of college. I hired an agent that did not exactly have a lot of ties with NBA people. I will probably never know how much that actually hurt me.

Do not get me wrong, I know I am not a for sure NBA player. The only thing I ever asked is that I got a fair shot. When you are in a position like mine coming out of college, it is more who you know, not how good you are, somewhat.

I guess that is kind of how the real world is, too. That is just the way it is.

My new agent had me in a summer league this past summer by April, which was definitely a step up from my last one which did not even get me in one or many workouts.

Hopefully the D-league provides me that shot I have been looking for. Right now it is nice having JameSon on the team, but when he leaves is when I will hopefully get a shot. I know I have about a 1% chance of getting called up, but I have to do this for myself so I can say I tried my best.

Our team is doing a lot better since the last time I wrote. We played the worst team in the league last Thursday, Bakersfield, which was a good time to play them. We had been struggling and lost three in a row.

We then traveled eight hours on a bus to Fort Wayne and got a W this past Sunday. Hopefully we can just keep improving and getting wins.

If anyone would like me to talk specifically about anything just let Rob know and he can get back to me on that. Thanks for reading and good luck to the Hawks on Friday.

-Jeff

12-4-07

Hello, everyone. Let me just start off by saying it is great to be back in Iowa and hopefully people can follow along with this blog to keep up with the Energy and me.

I was supposed to write it yesterday, but we did not get in from Fort Wayne until 5:00 a.m. I guess that is just life in the D-League.

If you do not know, I am playing for the Iowa Energy of the National Basketball Developmental League here in Des Moines. Right now, we are off to a 3-3 start and are somehow tied for first place after losing three games in a row.

The D-League is a part of the NBA. You could say it is like Minor League Baseball. We are affiliated with the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. The reason guys play in the D-League is to take a shot at getting called up to the NBA. Obviously, that is my dream and I hope it comes true. If not, I get to play hoops in my home state and get paid to do it.

Throughout the season any NBA Team can call up any player from the D-League. The guys on my team are not just restricted to the Bulls and the Heat. I hope this gives a little more information on what the D-League is.

A lot of you are probably wondering how I ended up here or never really knew where I was in the first place. I have been out of college for two years now after playing for the University of Iowa for four years. Last year I was in Belgium and absolutely loved it. Our team made it to the finals, but lost in the fifth and final game to a team called Oostende, which brings us to this year.

I started off the year in Paris on a two-week tryout for a team called Paris-Levallois. I made the team and started every single pre-season game and the first regular season game of the year.

I am just going to tell everyone the story of why I am here now because I am sure a lot of people are probably wondering what I am doing back in Des Moines. When you play overseas an apartment and a car are negotiated in your contracts.

The Paris team did not give me a place to live for two months and I was the only one on the team in this situation. I actually stayed with Kelvin Torbert and his wife for two weeks and then had to keep switching hotels for the next month and a half.

The kicker in this whole story is the team kept telling me they would have my apartment in a couple days. A couple days went by and there was still no apartment. This kept going on and on. The team kept making excuses about how they were a new team and so I stuck it out for two months thinking it would get better.

Finally, I called my agent and asked him to get me out of there because I did not want to be a part of an organization that was unorganized. Now, do not get me wrong, overseas basketball is not the most organized thing in the world anyways, but I thought this went to a bit of an extreme.

My agent gave their management people a call and the feeling was mutual. The coach liked me a lot, but the management wanted to go in a different direction and get an older point guard. This meant I would get even more money because the team had broken my contract.

As soon as I got the news I told my agent to give Nick Nurse a call because I knew about the Iowa Energy. The next thing I knew I was signing a contract to play in the D-League.

I like it a lot and I am just so happy to be back in Iowa where my friends and family are a short drive from watching me play or just visiting. It is going to be an exciting season, so if you want to keep up just follow my blog.

Jeff


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