Street Smarts

Street Smarts

With the Chris Street Memorial Game coming up on Saturday, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery educated his players on the fallen Hawkeye Legend.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - Trying to link the past with the present, Fran McCaffery on Tuesday showed his team a documentary of the late Iowa basketball player, Christ Street. The coach shared a legacy of one of the most revered Hawkeyes in history.

"We brought that over (from the Iowa hall of fame) and showed that to them so they could hear people talk about him, they could see footage of him, and they could try to get a feel for what it was like when everyone found out," McCaffery said.

Street died 20 years ago this Saturday. The then Hawkeye junior was killed when his vehicle was hit by a snow plow in Iowa City following a team dinner.

"It's always been amazing to me that everybody in the state seems to know where they were when they heard the news that he was gone," said McCaffery, who was a Notre Dame assistant at the time. "I think when that meeting ended (Tuesday), (the current Iowa players) had a pretty good feeling of what he meant to this program and how he's still very much a part of the family."

Iowa will honor the Indianola product's legacy on Saturday with the Chris Street Memorial Game against Wisconsin in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. A ceremony will take place at halftime of the contest.

Street is remembered fondly for his hard work, determination and love for the Hawkeyes. He led by example.

"We didn't really know the whole story," said lone Iowa senior, Eric May, a Dubuque native who was one at the time of Street's passing. "We knew what it was about, but to see how many lives he affected and how he did it was special for us to watch."

Sophomore Aaron White had researched Street since his arrival to Iowa from Ohio. He hadn't seen the documentary until Tuesday.

"I've tried to learn more about him because how highly he's been talked about," White said. "Watching a video like that, you see that not only was he a great basketball player with the potential to be an NBA player, he was a great person that left a great impact on a lot of people.

"You never know who you're going to come in contact with and he always seemed to reach out to sign autographs, talking to fans, anything. That's great to see from a player that was that big around the state."

Melsahn Basabe grew up in Glen Cove, NY. The Iowa junior said he learned a lesson beyond basketball from watching the Street film.

"I think the spirit is still alive," Baseball said. "From what I've heard he was a good person and he had a good, positive energy and he worked hard. That's good for anybody to see because that's how we all should live our lives."

Roy Devyn Marble is an Iowa basketball legacy. The Iowa junior's father, Roy Marble, is the school's all-time leading scorer. The young Marble appreciates what Street represented.

"It was just his determination, the heart that he played with and just the passion he had for the game," Roy Devyn Marble said. "That's really why a lot of people loved him and loved to watch him play. That's a big reason why he's a legend."

At the end of each season, the Hawkeyes hand out the Chris Street Award, given to the person(s) who best exemplifies the spirit, enthusiasm and intensity of the fallen Iowa star whose life ended far too early.

"The fact that we're celebrating his life more so than remembering his death, I think that's the critical thing," McCaffery said. "I think that's what the Street family wants us to do, and I think what our guys will do is we'll try to play the game the way he played it."

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