Matt Gatens is about as Iowa as it gets. He's an Iowa City native, former state Mr. Basketball, his father Mike played for the Hawkeyes while his mother Julie was a cheerleader. Gatens never would've looked quite right in anything except Hawkeye black and gold.
After a stellar senior season that earned Gatens second team media and third-team coaches all-conference honors, he's gone.
Gatens finished sixth in Iowa history with 1,635 points. He's also one of only two Hawkeyes to finish with more than 1,600 points, more than 400 rebounds, more than 250 assists and over 125 steals. During his final season, he averaged 15.2 points and 1.4 steals per game while shooting .410 from beyond the arc.
"Matt Gatens is one of the greatest Hawks of all-time," coach Fran McCaffery told The Hawkeye. "I'll always remember him."
With McCaffery in his second season, Gatens looks to be a catalyst for change. After five consecutive losing campaigns, Iowa finished a game over .500 this season at 18-17.
Another cog in the wheel of change, freshman Aaron White, called Gatens the best teammate with whom he'd ever played.
But it wasn't just players and coaches who loved Gatens. Hawkeye fans understand what they'll be losing as Gatens moves on.
As he left the court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for the last time last week, fans gave him a resounding ovation. Gatens clapped back at them, as if to thank them for the support over the years.
"I'm really going to miss playing here," he said after the game. "The fans were incredible."
Iowa has a history of retiring numbers. It's done so nine times already. Surely, Gatens will be seriously considered to become the tenth.