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Iowa’s run to No. 1: Some on ’86-87 team tasted NBA life

[ 1 ] January 28, 2012 |

B.J. Armstrong

Brad Lohaus gave serious consideration to skipping his final season of eligibility at Iowa in 1986-87.

New coach Tom Davis convinced Lohaus, who had averaged just 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds the previous season, to give it a shot.

Lohaus, a 7-foot forward, had a solid senior season for the Hawkeyes. He averaged 11.3 points and 7.7 rebounds, and was taken by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1987 NBA Draft.

“The first couple of years I played in the NBA I’d think, “Man, I almost didn’t play my senior year,” Lohaus said. “Then none of this would have been possible.”

Roy Marble

Kevin Gamble came to Iowa as a junior college transfer in 1985-86, and averaged just 8 minutes, 2.6 points and 1.7 rebounds as a Hawkeye junior. He, too, wasn’t real excited about his senior season

but felt he had no options.

“I really didn’t have a choice,” Gamble said. “I was going to play. I was kind of stuck.”

Where are they now: The 1986-87 Hawkeyes

Davis moved Gamble from power forward, where he had played the previous season, to his more natural small forward/shooting guard spot. Gamble averaged 11.9 points and 4.5 rebounds and was taken in the third round of the 1987 NBA Draft by Portland. He went on to play 10 NBA seasons.

Ed Horton

The 1986-87 Iowa basketball team had eight players on the roster drafted by NBA teams following the completion of their eligibility. Seven different players played in at least 29 regular-season NBA games.

B.J. Armstrong and Roy Marble were first-round picks in 1989, while Ed Horton a second-round pick. Marble and Horton had brief careers, but Armstrong played 11 seasons. He was an all-star selection in 1993-94 and was the Chicago Bulls’ starting point guard for three NBA championship teams.

Les Jepsen was the first player selected in the second round of the 1990 draft, by Golden State. The seventh player on that 1986-87 team to log NBA minutes was Bill Jones, who signed a free agent deal with New Jersey in 1989 and played 37 games of the 1988-89 season with the Nets.

Kevin Gamble

Also drafted from that 1986-87 team was Gerry Wright. He was taken in the fifth round by Detroit in 1987, the 111th player selected. And Jeff Moe was selected by Utah in the second round of the 1988 draft, the 42nd player taken.

Moe played for the Jazz in rookie camp, and made the all-rookie team.

“I called my agent and said, “Give me my money. I was an all-star in the rookie camp. Tell me how much I’m going to make,’ ” Moe said.

Moe’s agent called back later.

“I’ve got your contract, but no money is guaranteed,” Moe recalled. “He said, “just go out there and play hard.’”

Moe went to camp with the Jazz, and figured he’d make the team until he attended a team dinner after the first night of practice.

Brad Lohaus

“They had a great team,” Moe said. “I started counting. John Stockton, I don’t think they’re going to cut him. Karl Malone, they’re not going to cut him. Thurl Bailey, Bobby Hansen, Mark Eaton, I went down the line. And I think, “Oh my God,’ they’re got 14 guys under contract. This doesn’t look good.”

Moe played in one preseason game, against the Los Angeles Lakers, and was cut the next day.

“They knew they were going to cut me,” Moe said. “So they made me team captain. I got to meet Magic Johnson, and shake his hand. Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), too. The next day they gave me my ticket home.”

Moe, a 6-foot-4 guard, played one season in the CBA and another in a 6-4 and under league, then gave up professional basketball.

Bill Jones

“Those guys who play professionally, they earn every penny,” Moe said.

Jones, Wright, Kent Hill, Michael Morgan and Al Lorenzen all had professional careers overseas. Lorenzen played in France, Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Venezuela as well as the CBA. Wright, a three-time European all-star, played in Spain, Germany, Belgium and Sweden.



B.J. Armstrong


Les Jepsen

Kevin Gamble

Ed Horton

Les Jepsen

Bill Jones

Brad Lohaus

Roy Marble


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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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