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2012-13 Preview: #8 Iowa Hawkeyes

Fran McCaffery has things headed in the right direction for Iowa and it’s possible that a year from now the Hawkeyes will be in the conversation of Big Ten championship contenders.

There is a lot of talent on this year’s roster and it’s nicely spread out between classes. However, there are a few key questions that are unanswered as the 2012-13 season begins and these are enough to keep Iowa out of the top half of the conference until next year.

Glass Half Full 

Many players with experience but also room to grow 

Roy Devyn Marble (29.5 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.6 apg) put together a strong sophomore year and could make a name for himself as one of the better players in the conference this season. McCaffery would like to see consistency in Marble’s shooting and for him to be the go to guy when a bucket is needed or when the game is on the line.

The preference would be to have Devyn stay off the ball, but he may need to play some point if true freshman Mike Gessell struggles.

Big shooting guard Josh Oglesby (18.7 mpg, 6.4 ppg, 37.2% 3FG) is a real threat from the perimeter and the Hawks will look to him to make up for some of the production lost from graduating senior Matt Gatens. As long as he maintains his confidence at a high level, the 6’5” Oglesby can be one of the better 3-point shooters in the conference.

Forward Aaron White, a 6’8” sophomore, had an impressive first year on campus. In 23.8 minutes per game he averaged 11.1 points and 5.7 rebounds. As a freshman, he was one of the conference’s top 10 rebounders on both sides of the floor. White shot well inside (56.9% 2FG) and could improve on his outside accuracy (17/61 for 27.9%).

Melsahn Basabe’s (20.1 mpg, 8.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg) play as a sophomore was down a bit, but he’s an athletic forward who can rebound, block shots and draw fouls. He’s lost weight since a year ago and we believe he can show nice progression as compared to last season.

Other returners including 6’5” senior Eric May (4.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg), 6’7” junior Zach McCabe (7.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 44.9% 3FG) and athletic 6’10” sophomore Gabe Olaseni (1.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg) provide other respectable options.

Impact freshmen

Adam Woodbury is a 7’1” center who was ranked #42 in the RSCI for the 2012 class. He provides the Hawkeyes with a big man who can post up on offense, but the key for him as a freshman will be how well he runs the floor and defends. On the glass, Woodbury should be able to mix it up with most anyone from day one.

Mike Gessell (#88 RSCI) is a true point guard and strong competitor who will be ready to contribute right away. How he blends in offensively and his ability to defend on the perimeter are very important to this year’s team.

Gessell should not have a problem being more efficient than former guard Bryce Cartwright, who was a senior last year. Cartwright would sometimes get praise because he did put some points and assists on the score sheet, but he was careless with the ball and unable to shoot well. 

Glass Half Empty

Defense

Iowa’s defense could not stop 2-point field goals last year and that remains a concern. Opponents frequently got to the rim for easy buckets and the Hawkeyes must improve defensively if they’re going to reach the NCAA tournament this year.

Certainly having big Adam Woodbury in the middle should help, but there are still significant concerns about Iowa’s defense.

Replacing Gatens

Senior guard Matt Gatens was incredibly productive last year (15.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 57.0% eFG, 75/183 3FG for 41.0%, 10% turnover rate) and others will need to pick it up in 2012-13. There are plenty of guys that can help, but one player isn’t going to replicate Gatens’ Value Add by himself.

Other Comments 

  • Iowa projects to be scary good in 2013-14. Eric May is the only scholarship senior this year and transfer Jarrod Uthoff, a versatile 6’8” forward who played AAU with Oglesby, will be eligible.
  • 2013 Recruiting: Peter Jok  is a 6’5” native of Sudan who has played his high school basketball in Iowa. Jok has seen his stock drop over the years but some of that can be attributed to injury. His commitment to Iowa this fall was met with a lot less excitement than it would have a few years ago, but there is potential. 

A Look Back at 2011-12 Preseason Preview Quote(s)
“Matt Gatens, a 6’5″ senior, is a solid wing and very important to this team. He has averaged double-figures in each of his first three season and prefers to shoot the trey. The shot is nice and his free throws are money (87% for his career), but the deep ball has not been consistent. After converting 40% of his 3FG attempts as a freshman, he’s been at 33% over the past two seasons. If he’s able to get his game going from deep and attack the basket a bit more, Gatens could average 15 points and help his team to exceed expectations.”

“The 2013-14 season especially looks to have lots of potential. That said, two years is an eternity and it’s a little too soon for celebration as the road to success is never as easy as it may seem.”

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