Is there anything Caitlin Clark can do at this point that would surprise you?
The nation’s best player put in 45 points on Sunday afternoon during a road loss to nationally ranked Ohio State.
She played 43 minutes, dished out seven assists and the Hawks scored 92 points. But it wasn’t enough on the road against the Buckeyes.
Losses happen. And Iowa wasn’t going to go undefeated in the Big Ten anyway. Clark and the Hawks did all they could in a game that went overtime despite head Lisa Bluder saying after the game that half of the roster was either sick or had food poisoning.
When it comes to Iowa fans, Clark can do no wrong. When it comes to anyone else, they seem to find something to complain about.
She takes too many shots. She doesn’t pass it enough. She’s not a team player. She only cares about herself. The list goes on. And there’s no real proof that any of that is true.
Even national-champion winning coaches have issues with Clark. South Carolina’s Dawn Staley has had issues with the Hawkeye guard ever since the Hawks upset her Gamecocks last spring. And LSU head coach Kim Mulkey also seems to say something controversial about Clark.
Both of them have no reason to hate Clark. What she is doing is only good for the game of women’s basketball.
But because those two coaches are not the ones everyone is talking about, they seem to be finding anything they can to bring her down.
One of them recently talked about how no one on their team takes 40 shots per game so their statistics aren’t as good. That seemed to be a direct jab at Clark even though she’s never taken 40 shots in a game before.
In fact, she’s leading the nation in scoring despite only averaging 22 shots per game. And she needed only 25 shots to score 45 points on Sunday.
Every fan base has idiots. That goes without saying and it’s hard to deny.
Living in Iowa, it stands out even more when an Iowa State fan tries to downplay how good Clark is, too.
I saw a tweet on Sunday that was about Iowa State standout freshman Audi Crooks but the post had more hate toward Clark than positive information about Crooks.
The post had a picture of Crooks and read “no assaulting opposing fans, no attention seeking, no bullying other players and no State Farm commercials. Just pure, unadulterated ball.”
Crooks is impossible to hate. Like Clark, she’s an Iowa girl who found immediate success on the floor for a D-1 program in the state.
The only issue I have with the post is, why do we have to put someone down to prop someone else up?
I get it. When someone or something gets too good or too popular negativity always follows.
Let’s address each one of the things from the above tweet.
Clark assaults opposing fans? Clearly, this is in reference to the drama after Sunday’s game at Ohio State. Buckeye fans stormed the court after the overtime win and while Clark was jogging off the floor, an Ohio State fan collided with her while videoing herself running onto the floor.
The most important thing here would be to hope that both parties are not seriously hurt. That seems to be the case.
But some have tweeted Sunday they think Clark was the one who shoved the fan and then flopped on her way down to the floor.
Again, if you are not a fan of Clark, you will find anything to make your case.
Next up is attention seeking. I don’t see this one. I see passionate basketball player who does everything to help her team and when you are the best player in the country, all eyes will be on you.
That leads me to bullying players. I don’t watch every women’s basketball game. But I have never seen her bully anyone. That makes no sense to me.
As for the State Farm commercials, yes, Clark has become quite wealthy with NIL endorsements. That is really none of our business though. If Nike, Hy-Vee, State Farm, Buick or Gatorade (just to name a few of the big ones) want to use Clark to help promote their product or business, who am I to stop them? And there’s not an athlete out there who won’t try to take advantage of this kind of stuff to enhance their brand.
Clark is already the GOAT of Iowa women’s basketball and probably women’s college basketball period. She will break the all-time scoring record before this season ends and maybe she comes back for one more year.
The only question left to be answered is whether or not Iowa fans will have the opinion of her being the GOAT of Hawkeye athletics period.
There have been some good ones but Clark certainly belongs in the conversation. Especially if she can lead them back to the Final Four before her time at Iowa is finished.
Contact Troy Hyde at firstname.lastname@example.org