Iowa City, Ia. – If anything offers a glimpse of the competitive nature of Iowa freshman point guard Mike Gesell, it’s this.
“Boy, I really want to get 100,’ ” Gesell told teammate Aaron White as they sat next to each other on the bench late in the Hawkeyes’ 100-54 exhibition victory against Quincy Sunday.
Gesell’s day was done by the time Darius Stokes made a free throw with 23 seconds to play for the 100th point in a game that was never competitive after the Hawkeyes jumped out to a 22-0 lead.
Gesell, who led the Hawkeyes with 18 points, said he never had butterflies during his prep career at South Sioux City High School in South Sioux City, Neb. That wasn’t the case Sunday before an announced Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd of 12.251.
“I had had a little bit of the butterflies in warm-ups, with all those people out there,” Gesell said.
Gesell looked a little nervous, too, when he went to the line to shoot two free throws after a technical foul on Quincy coach Marty Bell, a former Drake assistant. Gesell missed the first.
“First shot of my career,” Gesell said. “I don’t usually miss too many free throws. Can’t make them all.”
That was the only free throw Gesel
l missed in six attempts. He also made five of eight shots from the field, including three 3-pointers in five tries. He added three assists to one turnover and two steals. Gesell’s money shot is a mid-range shot off the dribble.
“There are a lot of three-point specialists, and a lot of slashers,” Gesell said. “If the defense is giving you that (mid-range shot), you’ve got to take it.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has put the ball in his freshman’s hands and told him to be a leader.
“He just doesn’t get rattled,” McCaffery said. “If he makes a mistake, he just keeps coming right back after you. He knows when to shoot it, when to drive and kick it.”
Gesell’s instincts, and ability to contain the dribble drive that haunted Iowa’s defense last season, makes the freshman a valuable pieces of McCaffery’s rebuilding efforts.
“I was thrilled with him,” McCaffery said.
Iowa opens the regular season at 8 p.m. Friday against Texas-San Antonio. McCaffery said he expects to put out the same starting lineup – freshmen Gesell and Adam Woodbury, sophomore Aaron White and juniors Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe – that he did Sunday.
“Every play is for keeps now,” Gesell said. “Everything matters.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball