IOWA CITY, Ia. – Mike Gesell never watched film to critique his game in high school. Now, it’s hard to get him
away from it.
“I’ve watched more film since the season started than I did my whole life, and I really like it,” Iowa’s freshman point guard said. “I’m able to really see what I’m doing in games and practices, seeing what I’ve been doing well and things I’ve been doing that I shouldn’t be.”
Gesell is his own worst critic, meaning film of the last two games hasn’t been kind. He got in early foul trouble against Wichita State in the championship game of the Cancun Challenge. Facing Shocker senior Malcom Armstead, he played just 12 minutes and finished with two points and no assists.
Gesell went against another senior, Virginia Tech’s Erick Green on, Tuesday. He had five points and two assists in 19 minutes.
“It’s going to make me a lot better,” Gesell said. “Any time you go against competition like that, it’s wonderful. Personally, I felt like I didn’t shoot the best. But I’ve got to stay confident. Guys like that, you’ve got to keep attacking them. You can’t let them decide what you’re going to do. You’ve g
ot to be confident in your game that you can compete with them.”
Iowa lost both the games Gesell struggled in. The Hawkeyes will take a 5-2 record into Saturday’s noon game against Texas A. and M.-Corpus Christi at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“The first game, he got in foul trouble,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “That was a big part of it. In his case, both instances were against a talented senior point guard, if you look at Green and Armstead. That’s what this level is. He understands that. We’re thrilled with him and remain very positive with him.”
If Gesell isn’t watching film, he’s huddled with a member of the coaching staff in the basketball suite at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, talking through the game and trying to get better.
“I try to talk to the coaches quite a bit,” just making sure everyone is on the same page,” Gesell said. “As a point guard you’ve got to know exactly what the coaches want, and you have to try and be a leader out there. That’s definitely one of my goals, even though I’m a freshman. I’m taking pointers from them and they’re critiquing me on my game. They’re telling me what I did good, too.”
Gesell knew the transition from Class B basketball in Nebraska to NCAA Division I and the Big Ten wouldn’t come without a few bumps.
“I know that there’s going to be highs and lows each season,” said Gesell, who scored a career-best 19 points against Western Kentucky in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge. “The coaches told me that coming in. You can’t expect to play great every game. But you’ve got to give it your best effort. If your offense isn’t flowing, maybe you get it done on defense. I can learn from everything.”
Gesell, who had a 4.0 grade-point average at South Sioux City High School and ranked No. 1 in his class, has made a seamless transition in the classroom.
“The academic side of it has been fine,” Gesell said. “I feel I’m a pretty smart kid, and I’m able to get it done in the classroom.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball