Jan. 17, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- With the 20-year anniversary of former Hawkeye Chris Street on the horizon, the University of Iowa men's basketball team is preparing to celebrate Street's life Saturday against Wisconsin.
"There will be tremendous emotion in the building," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "Anybody that was from that era will remember him, and the fact that we're celebrating his life more so than remembering his death, that's the critical thing.
"That's what the Street family wants us to do, and what our guys will do is try to play the game the way he played."
With senior Eric May being the elder statesman on the team, McCaffery used a portion prior to Tuesday's practice by showing a video from the UI Athletics Hall of Fame to allow the team to get a better understanding of Street's impact.
"It was really good for all of us to see that. I didn't know the full story of it, but I knew what it was about. To see how many lives he affected and how he did it was special to watch."
UI senior Eric May on learning more about Chris Street
"We showed that to them so they could hear people talk about him and see footage of him," said McCaffery. "So they could try to get a feel for what it was like when everybody found out."
The video touched the current Hawkeyes and gave them a better perspective of who Street was as a player and person.
"It was really good for all of us to see that," said May, who was 1-year-old at the time of the accident. "I didn't know the full story of it, but I knew what it was about. To see how many lives he affected and how he did it was special to watch."
Sophomore Aaron White has heard about Street since arriving on campus, and the video reaffirmed his perceptions of the former Hawkeye.
"I've tried to learn about him more than maybe some of the other players because of how highly he has been talked about," said White. "Watching a video like that, you see not only was he a great basketball player with all of his potential, but he was a great person. He left a great impact on a lot of people."
After watching the video, May says it means a little bit more when he walks past the memorial plaque when heading into the locker room each day for practice.
"It means that much more," he said. "You stop a little longer and look at it and really appreciate what he did for this program."
McCaffery says the Hawkeyes have a better understanding for who Street was and what he meant.
"They walk by that memorial right in front of our locker room, and you wonder how much they think about that," said McCaffery. "They see it every day. They knew who he was, they knew what he meant, they've read that. I think they have a much better feeling now."
With a sold out crowd of 15,400 anticipated inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, May says the team can feed off the crowd's energy.
"I am sure it will be emotional," said May. "We have to rise above that and use it as fuel and play even harder."
"It's going to be great to celebrate his life in this game," said White. "We're hoping to remember his name and his life on Saturday."
The game is set to tipoff at 7:06 p.m. (CT), and it will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Brian Anderson and Jim Jackson calling the action.