IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa basketball player Peter Jok remains in close contact with old pal Amara Darboh, and this week their conversations have become a little more animated.
Darboh, a senior wide receiver at Michigan, grew up in West Des Moines and attended Dowling High School. Jok, a senior shooting guard with the Hawkeyes, attended multiple high schools before settling at West Des Moines Valley. They’ve known each other since the fifth grade.
No. 3 Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) travels to Kinnick Stadium to face Iowa (5-4, 3-3) at 8 p.m. ET Saturday (ABC). Jok will be in attendance.
“I told him I’m going there to support him,” Jok said Wednesday. “I’m going there for Iowa football. But at the same time, he’s like my brother. I hope he does great, and I hope it’s a great game. I told him we were going to upset them, but he just laughed and said, ‘We’ll see about that.’ ”
Both athletes were born in Africa and both lost their fathers in different wars. Both immigrated to Des Moines in early childhood and entered the sporting world as they approached middle school.
“We first met each other in an AAU tournament,” Jok said Wednesday. “We played against each other. Then, after that, we became best friends. We talk about everything. In basketball season, he talks to me and tries to keep me motivated. In football, I’ve been talking to him, too.”
Both are among the best at their positions in the Big Ten. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Darboh has caught 42 passes for 741 yards and six touchdowns this year. His 82.3 yards per game ranks second in the league. This is his first trip back to Iowa City for a game. Darboh missed the 2013 season, which was the last time Michigan played at Iowa.
Jok, who stands 6-6, was a second-team all-Big Ten performer last winter after averaging 16.1 points per game. Jok helped the Hawkeyes sweep the Wolverines in their two basketball meetings last year with a combined 26 points.
With close friends on the football team, Jok’s emotions will be pulled in multiple directions Saturday.
“I’ve told them, ‘(Darboh is) my brother, so I’m going there to support him individually,’ ” Jok said. “But at the same time, I want us to win.”