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First of all, it's great to be excited about Hawkeye hoops again. It's great that Coach McCaffery has a buzz around the fanbase and has the program moving in the right direction. I was able to watch about 90% of the game via an online stream so generously provided by our very own UI2015.Now, onto my thoughts on Iowa's exhibition win over D-2 Quincy (Ill.) University:
This freshman class is gonna be good folks. I liked what I saw in limited action from Kyle Meyer and Patrick Ingram. I think both could benefit from a redshirt year, but see Meyer as the one who will receive that based on Iowa's depth in the post. Meyer showed a willingness to step outside and face up the basket. Once he can put on more muscle to go with his 6'10" frame, he'll be a weapon offensively. Patrick Ingram impressed me with his defensive ability and passion. He looks a little out of shape, but he has the build and foot quickness to be a true defensive stopper. His greatest hindrance will be his height at about 6'2"-6'3", but I don't think that will be a major issue. I'd rather have a guy with natural defensive ability who gives up a bit of height than a tall guy who is either unwilling or unable to get scrappy and play good defense.
Mike Gesell was also very impressive. He showed some fantastic hustle and athleticism, and also a sweet stroke from outside. He really does remind me of a more athletic Jeff Horner. He made a few freshman mistakes with his decision making, but that is to be expected. He'll be a big contributer this season and will need to perform well for this Iowa team to make some noise in March.
Anthony Clemmons, another freshman PG, showed a lot of ability as well. He displayed defensive intensity and hustle that you like to see from your (presumably) back up point guard. I expect him to get a lot of minutes this season. Effort is a great way to endear yourself to your head coach and the fastest way to seeing minutes early on. Clemmons also showcased a tight handle on the ball and a good looking jump shot.
Adam Woodbury looked a little lost at times defensively, and also struggled getting good position on rebounds at time, but all of these were expected. He made one play that really stood out to me though: Woody established himself in the post, demanded the ball and showed off a feathery touch on a right handed (off hand) baby hook. If he can make that shot with any sort of regularity, we've got a big weapon in the post. Woodbury's free throw shooting will need improvement, but he did seem to have good form on his shot. He, unlike some taller players, used his legs on his FT's and seemed to just need more work and fluidity with it. All in all, not a fantastic performance from Woodbury, but as the season goes on, he'll become a monster.
It's nice to see Eric May back and healthy. This was exactly the type of game I was hoping to see from him. Against lesser competition, I wanted to see him really utilize his athletic ability and be a threat in the open floor. He did just that. May acquitted himself nicely on the defensive end and transformed those turnovers into easy points on the other end. Of course, his stadium shaking dunks were a wonderful sight as well. May also seems to have more confidence in his jump shot which will go a long way to making him a bigger threat offensively this season.
Josh Oglesby is proving to be much much more than a Devan Bawinkel clone. Combined with his deadly outside shooting, Oglesby is a capable and willing passer, and also an above average ball handler. His athleticism isn't outstanding, but it isn't a liability either and shows itself on the defensive end. Oglesby will be a key cog off the bench this year and may end up being one of the offensive leaders.
Zach McCabe looked like Zach McCabe. McCabe is one of the more underrated players in the B1G and is one of my favorite ball players. Despite being undersized, McCabe continues to be a force on the glass and a good finisher around the rim. His ability to stretch the defense with the 3 pointer is another valuable weapon. McCabe plays good position defense. Like the rest of his game, it isn't flashy but it gets the job done.
Melsahn Basabe is really going to thrive this year. I think coming off the bench in that sparkplug role bets suits him; as does the up and down style that McCaffery favors. He's a guy that will bring down the house with thundering dunks and momentous blocks. I'm looking forward to watching Mel play in a more natural role this season at the 4 as the 6th man.
Gabe Olaseni looks like a completely different player from last season. He played with more confidence and really showcased his freak athleticism. He still needs to work on his position defensively and rebounding, but that will come as he continues to become more familiar with the game. If Olaseni can contribute 15-20 good strong minutes for the Hawks this year, watch out.
Aaron White continued to impress. We all know about his offensive ability from either the 3 or 4 position, but my biggest question is if he has the quickness to keep up with the 3's defensively in the B1G. If he can slide over to the wing effectively, this becomes a very dangerous team with a lot of options offensively.
Devyn Marble was relatively underwhelming, but I'm not too concerned about that. Sliding over to his natural spot on the wing will give Marble more opportunities offensively this season. If he continues to improve his outside shot, Marble could be an even bigger weapon. Worst case scenario, if Clemmons/Gesell struggle at the point, Marble can slide back over as he was still effective at that position.
It's important to remember that this all came against weak competition, but it's hard not to come away from that game optimistic. I liked how McCaffery handled his subs almost like a hockey team. He subbed out 5 for 5 at times almost like a line substitution. This strategy has also been used by Ben Jacobsen at UNI and has been successful. It allows those 5 guys to develop a good rapport with each other. I have no idea if that strategy will transfer over to the regular season or not, but it would certainly be interesting if it did. It seems like Fran finally has the horses to run his tempo as Iowa pressed almost the whole game. On top of this, following made baskets by Quincy, Iowa almost always inbounded quickly and looked to take advantage of laziness by the other team. This is gonna be a hell of a year.
Here's how I see the lineups shaking out:
PG- Mike Gesell (Fr)
SG- Devyn Marble (Jr)
SF- Aaron White (So)
PF- Zach McCabe (Jr)
C- Adam Woodbury (Fr)
Next Five In
G- Anthony Clemmons (Fr)
G- Josh Oglesby (So)
G- Eric May (Sr)
F- Melsahn Basabe (Jr)
C- Gabe Olaseni (So)
Late Game Subs
G- Pat Ingram (Fr)
F- Darius Stokes (So)
F/C Kyle Meyer (Fr)
Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.
Lol just kidding I did and I agree I am jacked about basketball again and that hasnt happened since Alfords first year. We have some great young talent it is going to be interesting to see how they all grow
I think IA is a definite sleeper this year, just hope they wake up in time for the BTN conference.
Nice summary!! A friend and I were there Sunday and came to basically the same conclusions. One thing I would add to the Woodbury line is he has got to learn to jump for rebounds. I did not notice him leaving his feet much and that may be because he really has never had to but I do expect that to improve.
This is going to be a fun team to watch over the next few yrs.!!
I think you're right. In high school he was able to just use his size on defense and rebounding. That showed in the exhibition as he didn't seem to always be in good position. I'm sure that will correct itself as the year goes on and he gets more experience though.
Great, great stuff here Fish! Definitely plenty to be excited about with this team.
i was pretty impressed by what i saw--i guess not as fully as fish--but impressed even so.
at the risk of seeming to emphasize the negative, i won't rehash the many points of agreement.
while i think woodbury will emerge as a big-time player, i don't think that'll happen this year. i do fear the hawks will face some defensive problems in the half court against quality teams. olaseni might be a real help. he was very active against quincy, but the weak opposition makes it tough to know how far he's come. i don't look forward to the prospect of returning mccabe or basabe to the middle, but one or both might end up with time in there.
for whatever reason iowa seemed to have more difficulty finishing inside than i would have predicted. notably, converting offensive rebounds seemed hard. getting the rebounds at all was a real plus, of course.
i think coach plans only one red shirt, but i don't see ingram playing very much if he's active. the program might need ingram to stay on a four-year pace, tho. i imagine coach sees meyer as an eventual starter or at least a top 8 player. ingram might not carry that expectation.
oh, one point of overlap with fish, please. it was so nice to see eric may running and jumping freely. i don't know if he can stay healthy or if he can shine as brightly without the athletic advantage he enjoyed sunday. still, he deserves a good senior year and gracious knows the team can use his strength and toughness--and yeah, the big throw downs, too.
Good stuff Silver, always nice to get varying viewpoints. I think you have a really good point with Woodbury. By the end of his time at Iowa, he can be a B1G POTY candidate. I realize he won't reach that this year, but I still anticipate a lot of improvement from him as the season progresses. My biggest thing with him is that he needs to learn to use his size more effectively by establishing good position. That is something that will come as he realizes he can't just reach up above everyone and get his rebounds that way. Again, I look at his baby hook with his off hand as being really impressive. That kind of touch around the rim with the off hand is not something that a lot of young guys have. My expectations from Woodbury are pretty tempered this year: 7ish points and 6ish rebounds in 20-25 minutes per game would be really really good.
I think we're on the same page with the redshirts. I don't see Ingram getting a ton of minutes this year but I think Fran will want to redshirt Meyer instead of him.
Good read Fish. I agree with most of what you have posted above. Any chance you'll get to IC to see these boys play this year? Should be fun.
Anyways, I'll stick to breaking down the freshmen, because we know (for the most part) what we have with the guys returning.
M. Gesell - as stated, he'll be a stud. I personally think he is going to be a better PG than Horner was. He is one of the more athletic players on the team, and his passing ability is good. He is an upgrade to Cartwright IMO. A true program changer, if you'll ignore the cliche. He can drive by a slower defender, or he can shoot over the sagging one. However, the best part about his game to me, is his ability to take what the defense gives him (another cliche, I know). He doesn't seem to force shots or poor passes, and that is going to be huge. Limit short possessions, whether they be turnovers or poor shot selections. And yes, I know McCaffery is an uptempo guy, and I love it. But our possessions don't have to be 5 seconds. If the shot isn't there, bring it back out and set up a play. MG will struggle defensively in the BIG, but I think he has the ability to lock down guys when he is an upperclassmen.
A. Clemmons - Not much to say, I also think he'll be good. He seems to be more defensively polished so far. Once he gets used to running the show at PG (played off ball in high school) the game will come to him more. I look to see him really develop well in his 4 years. Needs some work on his outside shot, but he's young.
A. Woodbury - Personally, I think he'll struggle, especially early in the BIG slate. He got away with a few walks and looked very nervous/jittery early on Sunday. His biggest impact will be clogging the lane both defensively and rebounding. I was also impressed with how well he moves and runs the floor. He's going to be a big centerpiece in the rise of the Hawks, but don't be expecting gaudy numbers on offense, just yet.
K. Meyer - Beautiful outside stroke. I know it didn't show in the game, but in warm ups (I was there, got to see them warm up) he nailed a few shots. I was really impressed by that. I think he is a similar player to White, worse overall at this point in time but a better shooter - and heres why: He doesn't wow you by looking at him, but he is smart on the court. I know he made a few mistakes, but White struggled at times last year, and will this season too. Meyer runs well, and he can finish around the bucket. He'll take the redshirt IMO and he'll learn to control his offensive game. He's going to be important in the coming seasons, don't forget about him!
P. Ingram - He'll get minutes this year. Don't expect a ton from him early on as he is still learning the ropes. Remember, he was in Indiana all summer so he could become eligible to play. That may sound like a guy who doesn't work hard, but he does. He has already bought in to McCaffery's plan and its paying off. McC and Pat agreed to work on his eligibility this summer so he could come in and play this year. That's why I don't think Ingram redshirts. He is behind on the offense, and that's why I think he sees few minutes early on in the season. As the year progresses though, and he gets caught up, look for an increase in time. He plays good defense and is very athletic. I'm sure you all remember Hubbard, well McCaffery got his "Hubbard." Ingram is of similar build and plays a similar game. He's a great kid, however and I wouldn't expect trouble from him. He battles though, and he's going to be the guy to watch in the coming seasons, he's the diamond in the rough of this class.
"I was brought in here to change the culture. I'm going to coach with passion" - Fran McCaffery.
Good post UI, albeit cliche filled I agree with pretty much everything you said here. As for making it out to IC to see a game, I doubt I'll be able to, unfortunately. Hopefully I'll be able to check them out when Iowa plays @ Ohio State (yikes), @ Indiana (even more yikes), or maybe @ Purdue. All of those are much easier drives than the haul out to IC.
True. I'd love to make it to one of those away games in the coming years. I'm on a mission to attend an Iowa game at every Big Ten arena. Hopefully you get back here someday!
If I do I'll be sure to hit you up!
i'd guess that woodbury will be on track with your expectations heading into b10 play. if he can average 25 minutes in league play, the numbers might stay the same. i'm concerned that the physical nature of conference play might get him in foul trouble, tho, because of the positioning issue you note. the refs will tolerate banging but not reaching. indeed, the hawks might be a 9-foul post team in several league games.
the best antidote for the hawk's interior defense might be the press. it might reduce the number of half court possessions and likely will diminish the duration of many such possessions. the more woodbury and olaseni have to play against a composed offense, the tougher it'll be for them.
it is such a pleasure to go into a season believing that iowa can compete each time they lace up their shoes.
Great stuff from you as well! Thanks for your insight!
Fish stepping out of his secret boundary? That'd be fun!
Thanks! I'll do my best to post a bunch during games as well, but it'll be tough to do until Iowa has an away game.
Completely understandable. At the home games, you'll be in the process of losing your voice!
I too am concerned about Woodbury and his foot work.The first time I saw him play was last year in the H.S. Championship and his lack of jumping ability was the first thing that caught my eye. As silver stated, hopefully by the start of the B1G we will see improvement.
Thanks for a great post fish!
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