Iowa City, Ia. – With the clock ticking on the start of Iowa’s 2012-13 men’s basketball season, here are 10 things to watch for:
:10 – Mike Gesell. The Hawkeyes’ freshman point guard will be asked to run the team, allowing Devyn Marble to slide down to shooting guard or small forward. Gesell will be Iowa’s first point guard from Nebraska since Andre Woolridge, who was from Omaha. Woolridge transferred from Nebraska after his freshman season and played at Iowa from 1994-95 to 1996-97. He scored 1,525 points. As a senior he became the first player to lead the Big Ten in scoring (20.2 ppg) and assists (6.0).
“He’s got the greatest case of amnesia I’ve ever seen,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of Gesell. “If he does turn it over or misses a shot, it’s like it never happened. He’s on to the next play and the next challenge.”
:09 – Defense. Iowa was the Big Ten’s worst defensive team last season, allowing 71.6 points against Big Ten foes. The Hawkeyes won nine of 11 games when holding league foes under 70 points a game. Iowa allowed an average of 61.6 points in its league wins, 80.7 points in its league losses.
“You can’t turn the ball over and not defend and expect to win,” McCaffery said. “That can’t happen. So if we cut down on a few turnovers, play a little better defense, and allow fewer second-shot opportunities, the shooting percentages are going to go down. Our running opportunities are going to increase and we’ll certainly be better off.”
:08 – Matt Gatens. Iowa’s fifth-leading career scorer is now playing professionally in Spain. Someone will have to fill his void, especially his shooting on the perimeter. “He didn’t have a good senior year McCaffery said. “He had a great senior year.”
:07 – Josh Oglesby. He showed flashes of his shooting ability last season, like at Indiana when he made six of eight triples and scored a career-best 24 points. Oglesby’s touch was also on display at the Prime Time League over the summer. He’s added strength and 15 pounds, a must for Big Ten survival. He’s worked on getting his shot off quicker. Oglesby will be asked to help fill the void left by Gatens ‘ 75 triples last season.
“We’re going to have to make those up somewhere, and Josh is a logical choice,” McCaffery said.
:06 – No one had a more disappointing 2011-12 season that Melsahn Basabe, who didn’t match an all-Big Ten freshman season. He’s said the right things, about dedication and working to get better. Now he’s got to back up the talk. He took a step in the right direction by averaging 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in Iowa’s two NIT games last season.
“I think what I did in those games is I just got back to my determined self and I stopped worrying about what people were saying and stopped being childish,” Basabe said.
Basabe said he’s matured from last season.
“I’ve yet to prove it but I think (last year) is one of the b
est things that happened to me because it woke me up in the sense that if I really want to be good and achieve my dreams, it’s a whole another level of play, dedication and focus. I really needed to learn that.”
:05 – Aaron White was one of the Big Ten’s biggest surprises last season, introducing himself by averaging 11.1 points and a team-best 5.7 rebounds. White was the 11th true freshman at Iowa to average double figures offensively since freshman eligibility was restored in 1972-73. Gatens told White after last season that he’d be a target of opponent scouting reports this season, so he better bring something to the game he he didn’t have last season. For White that’s defense…and a mid-range jumper.
“I don’t think you saw me take one mid-range jumper last year,” White said. “I guarantee you didn’t. This year I’ll shooting at least a couple.”
:04 – The last time we saw Devyn Marble, he was shooting the lights out in a second-round NIT game at Oregon. Marble scored a career-high 31 points, adding fuel to the hype fire. Marble has even talked of the possibility of entering the NBA Draft after his junior season. If his scoring numbers go up this season as they did last season – 5.7 to 11.5 – turning pro might not sound so crazy.
“You can’t be satisfied with what you did the year before,” Marble said. “That’s what makes me want to get better.”
:03 – Tough as nails. That’s the reputation freshmen Patrick Ingram and Anthony Clemmons bring with them. Iowa hasn’t had a defensive stopper on the team forever. Ingram and Clemmons appear to fit that mold. Clemmons could also see significant time backing up Gesell at point guard.
:02 – The big fella. Adam Woodbury is 7 feet of potential. Strength will be an issue as Woodbury gets a full dose of physical Big Ten play as a freshman. Will he have the same impact as Indiana 7-footer Cody Zeller had as a freshman? Not likely. But Woodbury’s ability to run the court and his footwork in the post will let him get some things done.
“He’s a very impressive freshman who a lot of people might expect more of offensively right off the bat,” McCaffery said. “He’s going to be really good, but I think that will be something that continues to improve, whereas the rest of his game will be solid right off the bat.”
:01 – The Big Dance. Iowa hasn’t been to the NCAA Tourament since 2006, when Northwestern State shocked the Hawkeyes in a one-and-done 3-point buzzer beater. Three coaches later, this Hawkeye team looks to have what it takes to make a run at another bid. National pundits predict as many as eight Big Ten teams will get NCAA invites.
“Last year we expected to improve, which we did,” McCaffery said. “We accomplished a lot of things which we hadn’t in previous years and now we want to get better. So if you’re looking at 18 wins and an NIT bid than the next logical step is the NCAA Tournament.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball