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Matt Gatens walks in Chris Street’s footsteps

[ 0 ] April 25, 2012 |
Matt Gatens, Mike Street and Iowa coach Fran McCaffery (Iowa Athletic Communications)

Matt Gatens was born on June 13, 1989. Chris Street passed away on Jan. 19, 1993.

Two born-and-bred  Hawkeyes, decades apart. Street committed to the Iowa basketball program before his junior season at Indianola High School. Gatens committed to Iowa as a high school freshman at Iowa City High.

Tuesday night, Gatens was presented the Chris Street Award at Iowa’s basketball banquet in Coralville. The award is presented annually to a Hawkeye player who best exemplifies the spirit, enthusiasm and intensity of Street.

Chris Street’s life was cut short in an automobile accident on the outskirts of Iowa City. He was “Emotion in Motion,” a 6-foot-8 package of hustle and desire. Players like that don’t come around too often. Gatens is one of those players.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery called Gatens “the epitome of class and character.”

When Street passed away, his coach, Tom Davis, said, “Chris represented all that is good about the Midwest and the state of Iowa. He was open, caring, honest, loving and lived life to the fullest every day.”

Shortly after Street’s death, Davis announced the program would honor a player annually with an award in Street’s name.

“We want to remember everything Chris represented,” Davis said. “He was one of the greatest Hawkeyes of all time.”

Tragedy left Street’s career numbers an open book. He was averaging 14.5 points and nine rebounds as a junior at the time of his passing. Street started 15 of 28 games as a freshman, then every game of his sophomore and junior seasons.

Gatens averaged  15.2 points as a senior, and moved from 30th to sixth on Iowa’s career scoring list with 1,635 points.  Gatens started all 128 games of his Iowa career.

Numbers are nice. But Street and Gatens will be remembered for more than scoring averages and free-throw percentages.

It was the way they played, putting team in front of self, that endeared them to coaches and Hawkeye fans alike.

And now they are joined. Gatens has the hardware. He followed in Chris Street’s footsteps.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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