Chanse Creekmur remembers cheering on his boyhood idol at the Roundhouse in the winter of 2002. It was there when Creekmur told his father that he wanted to be "just like him."
Consider it no surprise, then, that Creekmur has decided to follow the footsteps put down by Mason City's Jeff Horner some years ago.
Creekmur, whose family moved to Marshalltown from Mason City in the summer of 2003, gave his verbal commitment to University of Iowa men's basketball coach Todd Lickliter on Saturday in Iowa City. The 6-foot, 6-inch swingman, who will be just a junior at Marshalltown High School this year, said playing for the Hawkeyes has been a life-long dream, and the opportunity to do so presented itself following a record-setting sophomore campaign with the Bobcats.
T-R FILE PHOTO
Marshalltown’s Chanse Creekmur goes up for a shot during the Bobcats’ matchup with Linn-Mar at the Class 4A state tournament this past March in Des Moines. Creekmur, who will be a junior at MHS, gave a verbal commitment Saturday to play basketball at the University of Iowa.
"Just growing up an Iowa fan, and being from Mason City I grew up watching Jeff Horner. He's been my idol ever since I was young," Creekmur said. "It was just my dream to be a Hawkeye, I've been a Hawkeye fan ever since I could talk, and growing up in the Creekmur family - you're a Hawkeye.
"When we moved here, that got me closer to my grandma and grandpa (Mark and Jean Creekmur) and I was really excited to be with them, and they're Hawkeyes too."
A two-year starter, Creekmur played small forward for the Bobcats' state tournament team this past winter, scoring a team-high 16 points in a 54-48 overtime loss to Linn-Mar. He averaged 12.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while setting a school record with 305 points scored in a sophomore season.
Creekmur said it was at the state tournament when the offers started rolling in. Creighton and North Dakota State both pitched their programs, as did other smaller schools. But in the back of Creekmur's mind was his loyalty to the black and old gold.
"I've been playing pretty much every weekend this summer, traveling to different cities all over the nation," Creekmur said of his AAU schedule with two teams - Net Gain Sports and Martin Brothers. "I was all over the country this year."
"I'd been talking to (Iowa assistant) coach (LaVell) Jordan since the state tournament actually, and after an AAU tournament in Minnesota Coach Lick called me and that's when they actually offered me," Creekmur added. "He has good goals for the future, he's definitely turning the program around ... and I wanted to be a part of that."
Lickliter's first season at Iowa was a lackluster one, to say the least. The Hawkeyes' 13-19 record included a 6-12 Big Ten mark and a first-round exit from the conference tournament. Creekmur, Iowa's first commitment from the class of 2010, is eager to become of the rebuilding process - but not before getting the Bobcats to a state title.
"It feels amazing, all my dreams have come true," he said.
Horner made his verbal commitment to Iowa and head coach Steve Alford in the fall before his freshman season of high school. He played from 2003-06, graduating as the Hawkeyes' career leader in assists and 3-pointers.
Creekmur intends to become the Bobcats' first Division I basketball player since Michael Bell, a 2002 MHS graduate who played at Fairfield University in Connecticut through 2006.
"I was at the game (at the Roundhouse in 2002) when it was sold out, something like 5,000 people there," Creekmur said of the last regular-season showdown between the Bobcats and Mohawks that year. "I was sitting on the Mason City side though.
"Horner went for like 45 points, it was nuts. That's when I told my dad I wanted to be just like Jeff Horner."
Now, with his early committal to the Hawkeyes, he is.