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Oglesby hopes to keep hot streak going

[ 0 ] January 16, 2014 |

Josh Oglesby takes it personally that 3-point shooting is considered perhaps the biggest weakness of the Iowa men’s basketball team.

The Cedar Rapids native feels partly responsible as a shooting guard for creating that negative perception after suffering through a season-long shooting slump a year ago.

“I think a lot of it was (mental), especially getting off to a bad start and never getting over the slump,” Oglesby said of last season, when he shot only 26.9 percent from 3-point range and just 27.4 percent overall. “And then every game was just like, ‘Well, am I going to make a shot? Or am I going to have another bad game?’

“I was just thinking way too much last year. I’m not trying to do that this year.”

Instead, he’s giving defenses something to think about for a change.

Oglesby is showing signs of becoming the reliable 3-point shooter that 14th-ranked Iowa needs. He has played in only five games this season after returning from a foot injury, but is shooting 53.8 percent from 3-point range (7-of-13) heading into Sunday’s contest against Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

What’s even more encouraging is that last Sunday, Oglesby made arguably the two biggest 3-point baskets during his Hawkeye career, helping Iowa to pull off an 84-74 upset of third-ranked Ohio State on the road.

He also made 4-of-5 3-point shots in his season debut against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22, but there was little pressure in that game as Iowa coasted to an 86-61 victory against an over-matched opponent at home.

“He makes four 3s in his first game, but it’s against a team we should beat,” coach Fran McCaffery said. “And you can see it now. He’s getting into shape. He’s getting comfortable.”

Oglesby now hopes to feed off his success from a signature win in which his 3-point shooting had a positive impact.

“I think it’s just a confidence booster for me moving forward,” said Oglesby, who scored five crucial points down the stretch against the Buckeyes. “My foot is continuing to get better and better each day. And I’m trying to shed a few pounds, too.”

McCaffery has been Oglesby’s biggest fan, even during last season’s slump, saying over and over that Oglesby rarely misses a 3-point shot in practice.

The praise continued this summer as McCaffery raved about Oglesby’s performance in practice and during Iowa’s six-game exhibition tour in England and France.

“I was not exaggerating. Before the season, he was playing as well as anybody we had,” McCaffery said. “Overseas, those six games, he was beyond spectacular.

“And that sounds like you’re just kind of saying that. But he was terrific. But he breaks his foot and he comes back and you don’t know where he’s going to be.”

Oglesby credits McCaffery’s patience and persistence for helping him fight through his shooting woes. McCaffery has told Oglesby to keep shooting because he figured it would be only a matter of time before Oglesby’s natural ability had a positive impact.

“That’s one of the things I’ve been trying to work on, especially in the off-season when we went overseas, not worry about my misses and just believing that the next shot is going in,” said Oglesby, who led the state with 87 3-point baskets as a senior at Cedar Rapids Washington in 2011. “When I miss in practice, coach is always really good about ‘Just keep shooting, the next one is going in.’ He’s helped a lot. But I think I’ve grown up a lot in that area, too.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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