Plenty o Hoops for a Tuesday morning Hawkeyes Mashup
Fran McCaffery said on his Monday night radio show as well as a conference call on Monday that Mike Gesell would return to the floor for Iowa on Thursday when the Hawkeyes take on Northwestern at the Big Ten Tournament.
Gesell has missed Iowa’s last four games with a stress reaction injury in his foot. Iowa went 3-1 in those games, losing at Indiana. Devyn Marble played the point in his absence, something he did quite a lot of last season and did it well. McCaffery can use Gesell at the one or the two guard position and I suspect he will use him mostly in the latter and leave Marble at the point for the remainder of this season.
Gesell was Iowa’s best three-point shooter in Big Ten play as it relates to percentage and in my opinion he has the best stroke on the team. His return would certainly be a welcomed addition and at a time when Iowa is going to need all the depth they can get in a setting where there are no days off and Iowa needs to keep on winning.
#JustKeepWinning is a hashtag I have used on twitter. As of Monday, Iowa was in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s ‘Next Four Out’, the sixth team mentioned…which means in Lunardi’s opinion, there are five other teams ahead of Iowa on the Bubble, at pressent. That said, there are those who see this team as being much better than that when you factor in efficiency rankings and things of that nature. Iowa is rated 30th in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, for instance.
The Hawks won’t get much of a boost if they beat Northwestern on Thursday, maybe a few RPI positions. Iowa is at 76th as of ESPN’s Tuesday morning RPI ranking. If Iowa beats Top 10 rated Michigan State on Thursday, assuming they get past Northwestern? That would push their RPI into the mid-60’s. If Iowa lost the third round game say to a Top 10 rated Ohio State team, their RPI might drop a couple of places and they would likely stay inside the Top 70, which is important as no team with an RPI lower than 67th has made the at large field since the RPI formula was reconfigured in 2005.
The Des Moines Register wrote a story on basketball coaching salaries in the Big Ten and Big 12 and found that Iowa’s Fran McCaffery is one of the lowest paid coaches in either league.
That’s not a huge shock, as the program he took over was certainly not at a point where Iowa was going to be able to pay big time money. Now that McCaffery has Iowa on the NCAA tournament bubble in year three and poised for a very strong year four, the man is probably out-earning his deal.
As the linked item points out, McCaffery can earn a $150,000 bonus for making the tournament this year which would also bump his base pay level up $200,000.
Those two bonuses for the 2012-2013 year tells you that neither McCaffery nor his boss Gary Barta likely believed the program would be at this point this quickly. Those are some hefty cash amounts for doing what Iowa used to do 75% of the time during the 21 years before Steve Alford was hired; Iowa made it to the NCAA’s 16 out of those 21 years.
I believe McCaffery felt year four was going to be the year where Iowa became a challenger and ready to make that NCAA run. That’s going to prove out to be true, in my opinion, but this year’s team still has a chance to play its way into The Dance. This team was probably a shooter away from already being a likely at large selection.
That shooter may be on campus next year in the form of West Des Moines Valley prep Peter Jok, who was just named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball for 2013.
Jok led Iowa Class 4A in scoring at 23.6 points per game and made 58 of 138 from three, or 42%. That was the 9th best percentage in 4A amongst players with at least 75 attempts and Jok attempted the 7th most treys in 4A and shot a better percentage than any of the six players ahead of him there. He also made 126 of 136 free throws (92.6%) and was 179 of 362 from the field overall, meaning he was 121 of 204 from inside the arc, or 59.3%.
In my unprofessional opinion (meaning I am not a basketball coach or shooting expert), Jok’s delivery sure looks repeatable. I feel the same about Mike Gesell’s but not as much related to Josh Oglesby right now. Jok’s motion looks the same on most of his shots and he is very vertical throughout the entire motion of the shot, where Oglesby seems to have had issues fading or drifting backwards on his shot this season. This isn’t to toss Oglesby under the bus, but rather illustrate what I am trying to say. Gesell has shown a real nice rock and fire time of motion and Jok looks more fluid than Gesell.
I am not pronouncing Jok as some type of savior, but he’ll be able to step in and fill a nice roll next year, a shooter off the bench who could bring more dimensions than just shooting. We’ll have to see where his health tops out at related to his knees and if the medical and physical training supervision he will receive at Iowa can raise that bar higher. If so, the Hawkeyes could have something very special on their hands. If it turns out that he never regains his once lethal first step and high flying athleticism Iowa will have a very capable two-guard on their hands.
Here is a list of the players who have won Iowa’s Mr. Basketball award. Jarrod Uthoff also won this award and will be able to suit up for Iowa next fall.