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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where are they now? Jeff Horner

Jeff Horner played point guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes from 2002 to 2006. Horner was born and raised in Mason City, Iowa and starred for Mason City High School. His father Bob was head coach of the Mason City High School varsity team during Jeff’s high school career. Horner was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Iowa in 2002 and finished his high school career as Mason City’s all-time leading scorer, passing Dean Oliver in points scored. Horner committed to play for Iowa as a high school freshman.

Horner was one of two Hawkeyes to start in all 31 games his freshman year of 2002-03. He averaged 8.2 points per game as a frosh and led the team with 140 assists, which was enough to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten. Iowa finished with a 17-14 record after reaching the 3rd round of the NIT before a 79-78 loss to Georgia Tech ended their season. As a sophomore, Horner averaged 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game, and was named 3rd team All-Big Ten. He helped lead Iowa to a 9-7 conference record and 4th place finish in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes once again played in the NIT and lost in the 1st round at Saint Louis, 70-69.

Horner’s best statistical year at Iowa came as a junior during the 2004-05 season. That year Jeff averaged 14 points, 5.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 40.8 % from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes finished the year with a 21-12 record after earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament. Iowa took 7th in the Big Ten with a 7-9 conference record but reached the semifinals of the 2005 Big Ten Tournament after wins over Purdue and #4 Michigan State. Horner scored 16 points and dished out 4 assists in Iowa’s second-round 71-69 win over Michigan State. The Hawkeyes would lose to #10 Wisconsin 59-56 the next afternoon on a last second bank-shot three-pointer by Alando Tucker. Iowa was picked as a 10-seed in the 2005 NCAA Tournament and lost 76-64 in the 1st round to 7-seed Cincinnati. As a senior, Horner scored 13.6 points per game and led the team in assists for the fourth consecutive year with 169. He was named 3rd team All-Big Ten again and also honorable mention All-America by the AP. The Hawkeyes had their most successful season under coach Steve Alford in 2005-06 finishing with a 25-9 overall record (17-0 at home) and finished 2nd in conference with an 11-5 record in Big Ten play. Iowa went on to win the 2006 Big Ten Tournament after a 67-60 victory over Ohio State in the Championship game. Horner scored 16 points and dished out 10 assists in that victory en route to earning the Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player. After that game, Iowa was named the 3-seed in the Atlanta Region of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes would lose in the 1st round 64-63 to Northwestern State on a Jermaine Wallace buzzer-beater. Iowa led by 17 points with 8 ½ minutes to play but were outscored 25-9 in the final eight minutes of that upset. The Hawkeyes have not been back to the NCAA Tournament or any kind of postseason play since.

After college, Jeff Horner signed to play professionally overseas for Euphony Bree in Belgium. After a year in Belgium, Horner moved to France and played with Paris Basket Racing before signing to play with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League in October of 2007. Jeff played 50 games for the Energy in 2007-08 averaging 11.5 points and 6.3 assists per game. Horner is currently in France playing for Olympique Antibes. Antibes is 10-11 on the year and tied for 8th place out of 18 teams in the France ProB League. Horner has played in seven games, scoring 7.9 points per game for Olympique this season.

Horner recently gave an interview with the Big Ten Network about Iowa’s 84-82 double-overtime victory at Indiana in February of 2004. That game was shown this year as one of the Big Ten’s Greatest Games and that interview can be read here.