Another Hawkeye from a glorious era gone way too soon
Former Iowa guard Michael Reaves passes away at 54 in Georgia
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Another piece to a glorious age of Iowa men’s basketball is gone way too soon.
Former Iowa guard Michael Reaves passed away on Saturday at the age of just 54 at his home in Milledgeville, Ga.
He was surrounded by family, and was loved by his Hawkeye family.
“Michael was the first person I met when I set foot on campus and we quickly became like brothers,” former Iowa player Michael Morgan said to Hawkeyesports.com about his former college roommate and close friend. “Michael was a great teammate and a great person.
“The one thing I will always remember about him was in infectious smile and laugh. He had the ability brighten your day. He will be dearly missed.”
Reaves was recruited to Iowa by George Raveling in 1984 and played his final two seasons as a Hawkeye under Tom Davis.
Reaves never became a star, or even a starter at Iowa.
But he was an important piece to a star-studded cast of players.
Reaves did the so-called little things that helps a team win.
He took charges. He directed the offense. He helped on defense. He clogged passing lanes. He pressured the ball at the point of attack. He fed his open teammates. He cheered from the bench.
And in the 1987-88 season, Reaves set the school record for the best 3-point field-goal percentage by a senior, making 29-of-61 attempts, which is nearly 50 percent.
We are saddened of the passing of former Hawkeye Michael Reaves.
— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) February 20, 2021
Reaves was a role player who did whatever his team needed him to do. And there wouldn’t be star players without role players because role players are the glue.
Sadly, Reaves is the second former Hawkeye from that era to have passed away with Roy Marble having succumbed to cancer in 2015 at the age of just 48.
Again, way too soon.
Marble is about to lose his title as Iowa’s all-time leading scorer, and it likely will happen against Penn State on Sunday with senior center Luka Garza just 14 points from surpassing him.
But Marble’s total of 2,116 points has stood since 1989, and it was teammates like Reaves who helped Marble score that many points.
Reaves played his final two seasons in the shadow of emerging star B.J. Armstrong at point guard, but he accepted his role off the bench and was productive and a highly respected member of the team.
Reaves played at a time when Iowa was loaded with talented players, from the high-flying Marble to Gerry Wright to Ed Horton to Kevin Gamble to Bill Jones and Armstrong; it was a Who’s Who of Hawkeye greatness.
The players also came from all over the place.
Reaves was from Georgia, while Morgan was from Louisiana. Gerry Wright was from California, while Marble, Armstrong and Jones were from Michigan, and Horton was from Illinois.
In some ways that era feels as if it happened just yesterday because the memories are so spectacular; most notably the 30-win season in 1987 that was capped by an appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight.
Reaves picked a good time to be a Hawkeye, and he played for two head coaches who are widely admired and respected.
But to pass away at 54 is just too young.
It’s also a reminder to cherish each day, and take nothing for granted.
Roy Marble was immensely talented and a physical freak, but he was also human and vulnerable.
Maybe he and Reaves are together again and reminiscing about one of the greatest and most exciting eras in Hawkeye men’s basketball.
Because they both played a part in it.