The Iowa Hawkeye men's basketball team had an up-and-down year during the 2023 season, finishing with 19 wins and 15 losses.

They had the 8th-best record in the Big 10 and it was the first time in 4 seasons the Hawkeyes missed the NCAA College Basketball Tournament.

Where the Hawkeyes really struggled was against the top 25 ranked teams in the country. They only beat 1 out of their 7 opponents, who were considered the top 25 best teams in college basketball.

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If the Hawkeyes look to rebound, no pun intended, in 2024 and get back into the NCAA tournament, it sure would help if this guy stuck around.

Payton Sandfort

Payton Sandfort was Iowa's leading scorer last season and in April, he announced his plans to declare for the NBA draft. In the NBA, players are allowed to declare for the NBA draft, talk to NBA scouts, go to the NBA draft combine, and get a feel for if and where they might get drafted.

If a player decides to head back to school, for whatever reason, he is allowed to do so if he withdraws from the draft by the second NBA draft deadline. Payton announced in the middle of the week, on social media, that he has some unfinished business.


Whether Payton was advised by scouts it would be smart to stay in school and build his stock for next year's NBA draft or if he wanted to see how the process works to give him an understanding for next season, Hawkeye fans can be excited that their best scorer is headed back to Iowa City!

According to KCCI, "the Waukee native earned third-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior, starting all 34 games for the Hawkeyes. He averaged 16.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 38% from beyond the 3-point line and 91% at the free-throw line."

The Hawkeyes will need all of that again from Payton, and maybe a little bit more in 2024, if they hope to reach the NCAA tournament again.

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Gallery Credit: Johnny Marks

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