With an open scholarship for the 2013-14 season, Iowa and head coach Fran McCaffery decided to reward redshirt junior walk-on Darius Stokes with a one-year scholarship this week according to a story from Hawkeye Insider.
A 6’7″ forward and son of former Iowa great Greg Stokes, the younger Stokes isn’t much of a contributor for the Hawkeyes, but his drive to get better is the real story here.
Stokes played 12 games in ’12-13 and only saw 38 minutes of floor time, but the forward continued to play hard in practice and has added 25 pounds of muscle since arriving on campus as a freshman. The additional scholarship opened up with guard Patrick Ingram transferring to IUPUI and the Hawkeyes not finding a transfer or late recruit to fill the spot.
“(McCaffery) said right away that they had been talking about this for awhile and they all felt that I deserved a scholarship for this year,” Stokes told Hawkeye Insider. “It’s a dream come true. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.
“To see how far I have come, how hard I have worked, and to earn a scholarship, it’s an amazing feeling. I look forward to continued improvement and the challenges ahead.”
While Stokes likely won’t see many minutes this season as Iowa competes for an NCAA Tournament bid, it’s nice to see that hard work pays off for some players that do the little things to make a team better.
As a lightly recruited player out of high school, for Stokes to earn a Big Ten scholarship is a tremendous accomplishment.
“(McCaffery said that) they appreciate the effort that I have given everyday in practice and the fact that I have continued to improve every year since i have been here,” Stokes told Hawkeye Insider. “When I told my dad, he was extremely happy and proud of me. He knows how much work I have put in and to see his son reach his dream is a great feeling.”