RECKER ENJOYING MADISON ;
FORMER IU AND IOWA STAR WORKING OUT WITH PENNEY
Madison Capital Times; Madison, Wis.; May 12, 2003; Rob Schultz The Capital Times;
Luke Recker was dining at a Mexican restaurant in
"Are you Dave Mader?" a gentleman asked Recker.
Recker smiled and told him politely that he wasn't
The visitor to Recker's table refused to believe
the former star guard for Indiana and
"I had to argue with this guy for five minutes telling him I wasn't Dave Mader," said Recker, who couldn't convince the guy that the only beans he was full of were from his burrito.
"Finally," Recker continued, "he said, 'You're Luke Recker, aren't you?' I said, 'Yes.' And then he didn't believe me again. I had to get out my ID to show him."
Recker enjoyed telling that story because he is
enjoying living in relative anonymity in
"People recognize me here, but they don't believe it. A lot of people don't recognize me at all, too. And that's kind of nice," said Recker, whose storied college career included a shocking transfer from Indiana after playing two years with the Hoosiers, a horrific car accident that left him seriously injured and his former girlfriend paralyzed, and two seasons at Iowa, where the Hawkeyes failed to live up to expectations.
But Recker admits he would like be back in the spotlight again - in the National Basketball Association. He almost made it this past season but was released in a heartbreaking last-minute roster decision by the Miami Heat just before the season opener.
That's why he is spending his time wisely in Madison working out every day at the Kohl Center with former UW star Kirk Penney, who has NBA aspirations of his own and hopes to be selected in that league's draft in late June.
"This is a great place for me to be. I love the area, I love the
community. People are great. And the facilities here are unbelievable," Recker said after concluding a long Friday afternoon
workout with Penney at the
Ryan, who knows the family of Recker's fiancee, was more than happy to help out.
"He's marrying my next-door neighbor's daughter," Ryan said of the
player whose late-game shooting explosion led
Recker and Penney have similar frames, games and
friends. They were brought together by Heat forward Sean Marks. Penney and
Marks are both from
"Sean gave Kirk my number and Kirk called me and we decided to hook up and start working out together," said Recker. "We're similar- type players. We're both good shooters, we're both the type of players where if we're in the right situation, we can do really well on an NBA team."
They were hoping to be joined by Reece Gaines, the former Madison West and
Recker and Penney play a little one-on-one and they each shoot at least 100 3-pointers during every workout. They also work on their fundamentals and spend time lifting weights and running sprints at the track.
And they talk. "He's awesome to be around on and off the court," said Penney. "It's been great just to be able to pick his brain."
For instance, Recker gives Penney advice about
preparing for the upcoming
And Recker is hoping for one more shot to prove himself after coming so frustratingly close to making the Heat's roster last fall.
He wasn't drafted last June, but played well enough during the NBA's summer league that the Heat signed him. It looked like Recker would make the Heat's final roster, but Miami needed a forward more than a guard for its final roster spot because of the unstable status of Alonzo Mourning. So it released Recker.
It was too late to latch on with a team in
Recker, who averaged 8.9 points a game for
"I think I've had enough adversity in my life. I hope I get a break here," Recker said. "I've worked hard and I've given it my best effort. Hopefully that will allow me to reach my dream of playing in the NBA."
If not, Recker said he wants to coach. "I don't think I'd ever leave the game of basketball," said Recker, whose college honors also included being an academic All-American.
"I've contemplated business and I've contemplated the Mike Kelley thing and being an announcer, but I love being in the gym," Recker added. "I definitely want to stick around the game."
Right now, he's enjoying sticking around
"It's impressive what's going on here," marveled Recker. "It's a good place to be."