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Editor’s corner: Zach McCabe’s legacy takes a disturbing detour

[ 0 ] May 16, 2014 |

“Give Zach McCabe credit. He’ll never forget his final week at Iowa.”

Zach McCabe walks off the court after his final college game, a loss to Tennessee in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament. (Rick Osentosky, USA TODAY Sports Images)

Zach McCabe walks off the court after his final college game, a loss to Tennessee in the First Four of the NCAA Tournament. (Rick Osentosky, USA TODAY Sports Images)

That was the tweet from Quad City Times reporter Steve Batterson on Friday night after McCabe, the recent Hawkeye basketball player, was jailed for allegedly punching a man in the face then allegedly blowing him a kiss as he left an Iowa City bar.

Iowa fans won’t forget Zach McCabe, either.

Regardless of what happens in the legal process — and it doesn’t look good for the 6-foot-7 22-year-old from Sioux City, considering police say there’s security footage of the assault — McCabe will be remembered for his three-month meltdown.

The Register’s Rick Brown wrote last summer that McCabe was aiming to be Iowa’s next Eric May, a gritty-not-flashy native son who had an embattled Hawkeye career but finished strong as a senior.

McCabe had the embattled part down. But unlike May, whose tenacity and shot-making led Iowa to the 2013 NIT title game, McCabe’s career trajectory went due south.

After his air ball in the final minute of a Feb. 22 loss to Wisconsin drew social-media ire, McCabe responded with a vulgar tweet toward Hawkeye fans who were criticizing him. That led to a team Twitter ban from coach Fran McCaffery.

Fans rallied to support McCabe after the Twitter attacks. His competitors did, too. It felt as if McCabe had a second chance to end his career on a high note.

But in a March 6 game, McCabe sullied his image with a dead-ball throwdown of Michigan State player Travis Trice. Pair that with Friday’s incident at the end of UI’s finals week, and McCabe appears thuggish.

McCabe ended his durable college career having played 137 games, the most of any Hawkeye ever.

Fair or not, his legacy is instead an air ball, a tweet, a punch and a blown kiss.

Contact Register sports editor Chad Leistikow at cleistikow@dmreg.com or on Twitter: @ChadLeistikow. His column appears weekly in the Des Moines Sunday Register.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Chad Leistikow: View author profile.

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