Basketball Team Prepares for Grind

The Iowa men’s basketball team is going to have a ‘short’ off season this year. Iowa will head overseas and play teams in Europe in August, so players are looking to get some R&R in right now.

This item starts out talking about how Mike Gesell is bringing Adam Woodbury and Anthony Clemmons back home with him to Nebraska this weekend, as one of their last chances to ‘get away’ this summer.

There’s nothing earth shattering in the write up, but the following did get me to thinking. It’s a quote from Gesell talking about how he thinks he’ll handle this upcoming season:

“I definitely feel a lot more comfortable in myself. I am gaining a feel for the game. I was a little bit overwhelmed at first by the physicality and quickness of some of the guys. Now I know what’s expected.”

One year ago, Gesell showed everyone that he was going to be a factor with his play in the PTL. He wasn’t afraid, he could score and mixed it up at all spots on the floor. The season started a few months later and Gesell played beyond his years most of the time, but larger guards gave him problems.

Gesell averaged over eight points per game as a true freshman and I think that number gets into the double digits this year. I also believe he could play a bit more two guard this year as Devyn Marble was just too effective at the point last year to not do that more often. Either way, I do expect Gesell to be a different player, one with more confidence than he had last year…and that’s a real good thing because I have a very high opinion of his game and his headiness.

If Gesell’s ‘classmates’ can make the same strides, we won’t be talking about if Iowa makes the NCAA tournament, we’ll be discussing the seed. Woodbury and Clemmons showed a great deal of promise as well. There were times where Woodbury really let his presence be felt on the offensive end, scoring baskets in buckets and creating huge problems for the opposition. Those times were fewer and far between, but they were there. He definitely had some confidence issues at times, or played weaker than the should have for his size. This summer, he’s doing less of that. He is more than just acting like he belongs out there, he is playing like it and with more confidence. I think he had faux confidence last year, strutting a bit too much on the court, trying to put out a vibe that he was something he was not, and that’s normal. I think he’s poised to be more physical this year, finish better around the basket and become a more consistent factor in games.

Then there’s Anthony Clemmons. At times, Clemmons looked like the best of the three last year, though Gesell was far more consistent. Clemmons and Gesell have things the other does not have, but if Clemmons can get his shot to be more consistent, I think you’re looking at a stater over his final two seasons at Iowa or someone who will be playing north of 25 minutes per game. Then again, Iowa had five players who attempted at least 40 three-point shots, and Clemmons 36.2% shooting was the best of the five. That’s akin to ‘In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king’ as Iowa was one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the nation last year. In 16.8 minutes per game he was able to amass over 100 assists, too. He’s playing with more confidence this summer and I think could be more effective getting to the rim this year due to that confidence.

While Devyn Marble is still the team’s best player, Melsahn Basabe will play a huge role, Josh Oglesby has nothing but upside in his shooting after last year’s rough performance, Gabe Olsaseni’s raw talent could be turned into something exciting and we’re all intrigued by the PTL start of Peter Jok, it’s the three sophomores who could really make 2013-2014 something special.

We’re less than 100 days away from the start of basketball season and I can’t tell you the last time I was thinking along those lines in early July.

  • grzars

    Uthoff will be a sophomore this year, too. At least as far as remaining eligibility is concerned. 4 good players that will be playing for the hawks for 3 more seasons. That’s something to get excited about.

  • Tom Steele

    Defensively, this team is going to be a nightmare for opponents. If they improve like they did last year they should really be able to control the flow and tempo of games. They can play man to man or switch to a variety of zone defenses. This team is going to be very difficult to prepare for!

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