Basketball took 7-footer Les Jepsen from tiny Bowbells, N.D., to the NBA. He was a four-year letterman at Iowa (1987-90) and was the 28th player selected in the 1990 NBA draft by Golden State.
After drafting the Hawkeyes’ 1990 most valuable player, former Iowa player and Warriors coach Don Nelson called Jepsen “the best rebounding center in the draft this year.’’ Jepsen played two seasons in the NBA — one with the Warriors, the other with Sacramento — before being released.
Now 43, he runs Jepsen Consulting, a financial services firm in the Minneapolis, Minn., area.
Do the people you deal with now know you played in the NBA?
“I don’t know. I don’t walk around saying I’m a basketball player. I am 7 feet tall, so that probably tips the hat. If somebody asks me I certainly tell them. I never wanted to be an ex-athlete. They get a bad rap, a lot of them for good reason. I enjoyed basketball, but you’ve got to reinvent yourself. You either have to go to the gym every day and play or find something else that pays you as much. When I get up in the morning now, the first thing I think about are a couple of clients.”
What are your warmest recollections of Iowa?
“The people were the most important thing. My teammates were terrific, as were the coaching staffs, both George Raveling and Dr. Tom (Davis). Iowa fans are great. I played 22 years ago and people still remember. That’s amazing.”
Does any game as a Hawkeye stand out?
“The one that sets itself apart is the game at North Carolina (a 98-97 win over the sixth-ranked Tar Heels on Jan. 7, 1989). It was a real special game, being able to play against Dean Smith and all those guys from North Carolina. I wanted to play at North Carolina as a kid. I started, but I was probably the fourth, fifth, maybe even sixth look on that team. It wasn’t like I was the main focus. But I had 10 points (first career double-figure game) and 10 rebounds. Everybody played well. It was a fun game.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball