|Acie Earl played center for the Iowa Hawkeyes from 1988-93. Earl came to Iowa from Moline High School as a key recruit for Dr. Tom Davis, ranked in the top 80 nationally by Street-Smith’s Magazine. After redshirting his first year at Iowa, Acie played in 22 games as a freshman during the 1989-90 season. Earl scored 6.0 points per game and led the Big Ten with 50 blocks on the year, despite playing only an average of 16 minutes per game. As a sophomore, Earl saw his playing time and production increase. He led the team with 16.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He also led the Big Ten again in blocks with 106 and was named 2nd team All-Big Ten. At season’s end, Iowa made it to the 1991 NCAA Tournament, beating East Tennesee State in the first round before losing to eventual National Champions Duke in the second round. Acie started in all 30 games for the Hawkeys as a junior, averaging 19.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. Earl was named 1st team All-Big Ten and honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. The Hawkeyes finished 5th in the Big Ten with a 10-8 conference record in 1991-92 and once again were selected to play in the NCAA Tournament. Iowa defeated Texas in the first round before losing again to Duke in the second round. As a senior during the 1992-93 season, Earl led Iowa in scoring for the third straight year with a 16.9 points per game average. Acie also pulled down 8.8 rebounds per game as a senior. The Hawkeyes finished that season 23-9 and 11-7 in conference play (3rd in the Big Ten). Iowa earned another berth to the NCAA’s and defeated Northeast Louisiana in the first round, but once again lost in the second round, this time to Wake Forest, 78-84.|
Acie Earl ended his college career as Iowa’s and the Big Ten’s all-time leader in blocked shots with 365. He also ranked second all-time at Iowa in points scored with 1,779, behind only Roy Marble. His 365 career blocks also ranks seventh all-time in the NCAA.
The Boston Celtics selected Acie Earl with the 19th pick of the 1993 NBA Draft. He played in 74 games as a rookie and averaged 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. After his second season in Boston, Earl was traded to the Toronto Raptors, where he played for a year before being shipped to the Milwaukee Bucks for what was his fourth and final NBA season. On April 12th, 1996, Earl scored 40 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Raptors in a loss to Boston in what was his best game as a NBA player.
After his NBA career, Earl played for a number of years overseas in France, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Australia, Serbia, and other countries in Europe. Since the end of his playing days after retirement in 2004, Acie has coached at a number of different levels. He currently resides in Iowa City and coaches freshman boys basketball at Solon High School. Earl also works for Sellers and Seekers Real Estate Company in Iowa City.
Hawkeye Sports News recently caught up with Hawkeye great Acie Earl and asked him about his college and professional careers, as well as his thoughts on this year’s Hawkeyes. Here is a copy of the full transcript from our interview with Acie Earl:
Hawkeye Sports News: What are some of your favorite memories you have from your playing days at Iowa?
Acie Earl: 1-My 1st day of practice and how hard it was.
2-Playing with future pros: Roy Marble, BJ, Les Jepson, Matt Bullard, Ed Horton. To sit and watch them and learn from them helped me be a future pro.
3-The travel of how good the places we’d go and play in: Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Europe, etc. Also played at Duke and North Carolina.
4-To play in front of the sellouts. I often tell people that I never played in an empty Carver, or semi-full Carver. So we always had 15,500 there.
5- The NCAA Tourney. In my 4 years of playing I went to the NCAA my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. Not every college player or even Hawkeye can say that.
HSN: After college and the NBA, you played many years overseas. When did you decide to retire? And what was your favorite country/league to play for?
AE: On retirement, I retired because I tore my Achilles tendon in Croatia the 1st week I was there in August of ’04. I then came back to have surgery and while I was rehabbing I was on the Internet applying for jobs: high school, college, pro, semi-pro. I got a head job in the ABA, in Mexico, and then after I left that in January, I came back to Iowa City to rehab more to maybe play again, but I went to the Final 4 and got some coaching leads and thought I’d coach in college soon after, so I stopped playing professionally.
My favorite country was Australia. I loved it. Nice weather, low stress, but low money as well; it’s like USA but not as much. You'd still miss the USA a lot if a person went to live there.
HSN: Where are you currently residing and what is your current occupation?
AE: I live in Iowa City full time. I sell real estate, coach frosh boys at Solon HS, and I train kids on the side.
HSN: How closely do you still follow the Hawkeyes and what are your feelings of the team's future?
AE: I watch as much Iowa as I can, but I’m a fan of hoops and BCS football first so if Carolina vs Duke is on I’m watching that, or USC vs Penn state, etc. I want Iowa to do well since I travel and a lot of people I know went to Iowa, so of course I feel for them if they struggle. I feel they are on the right path in both football and hoops. I think it’s a good program.
HSN: What are your opinions of Coach Lickliter and his brand of basketball?
AE: The problem with being in Iowa or affiliated with any program is everyone has an opinion. Mine really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Yes, I played for Iowa, 2nd leading scorer, NBA, overseas, coach, train, etc., but if that was important to anyone at Iowa then I’d be called, emailed, or brought in or asked. I’ve sent my stuff to coach and I’ve even sent in some of DVD’s and bios of some kids I train in the Iowa-Illinois area, and no one has gotten back to me on them. So as I see it, who cares what Acie Earl thinks. I live in the same neighborhood as the basketball secretary, and if they really wanted me to help out then I’d be asked. It’s funny, I'm always asked to come to camps and help out all over the USA and I have, but I haven't been asked to help out with Iowa camps since Coach Davis left, so it’s whatever. ‘Once a Hawkeye always a Hawk’ I was told when I was a frosh, and that rule is never talk in public about a Hawk where others who aren’t Hawks are involved, so I wish them all luck.