Thursday, July 31, 2014

Updated on Monday, March 19th, 2012 at 10:54 pm in Basketball.

Exciting Hoops Future

Exciting Hoops Future

With the 2011-2012 Iowa basketball season in the books, let’s take a quick look back at what we just saw and what we might expect in the future.

AARON WHITE

-11.1 points per game average the 8th best ever by an Iowa freshman. Basabe is 9th & Gatens 10th.
-389 points the 5th highest point total by a freshman. Roy Marble Sr scored 399 as a freshman
-199 rebounds the 4th highest total by a freshman. Basabe is #1 with 210
-36.6% of White’s rebounds were offensive boards
-White led the team in rebounding, was 2nd in blocked shots and 3rd in points scored & steals
-Averaged 23.8 minutes per game
-Started 14 of 35 games

I didn’t expect this kind of season out of White as a freshman. I wrote the following back in June of 2011 after watching him play in the PTL for the first time:

Here is the word that kept coming into my mind as I watched him play: nuisance. He is a nuisance and a pest…if you are the opponent. Why? Because he rarely stops moving, even in summer league. He was continually in motion, mostly without the ball. When he got the ball, no matter where he was, his first instinct was to pivot and face the basket. There were a few back-in, back to the basket attempts I saw but that was mostly due to his recognizing a smaller defender on him.

When I watched his videos this winter and spring, I kept thinking ‘poor man’s Robbie Hummel’, mostly because he doesn’t have the outside shooting prowess Hummel showed at that age. However, Hummel is real good without the basketball, even a decent screener for someone that is such a good shooter. That’s what I see in White. I think he has a chance to be a real key contributor during his career. He can fill some minutes and needs next year, but I don’t think he will come into his own until late in his sophomore season or at the start of his junior season…he needs to add some bulk for the Big Ten game.

One more name popped into my head when I watched his constant motion; Ryan Bowen. Bowen really blossomed his junior year after being mostly an afterthought his first two season, However White is more talented than Bowen was entering his freshman year in college.

While many of my thoughts were in the neighborhood, I just didn’t see that skinny kid in the PTL doing what he did this year. It was one of the most impressive freshman seasons in Iowa history and I wish Iowa had about three more just like him. He can do a lot and things are only going to get better for him. His ball skills and size make him tough to scheme out of a game. I think he’s capable of 13/7 next year which would be a fantastic sophomore season. He could reach that 15/8 mark by the time he is a senior, something just three Iowa players have done in the past 30 years (Greg Stokes, Acie Early and Reggie Evans twice).

DEVYN MARBLE

-Now has 580 career points in two seasons, scoring 402 this year
-11.5 points per game average #2 on the team
-53 steals led Iowa this season
-128 assists to 61 turnovers
-102-141 from the line, 72.3%
-29.5 minutes per game and 1,031 gross minutes played #2 on team behind Gatens
-Started 27 of 35 games

Not only didn’t I expect this type of season out of Marble this year, I am not sure I would have bet on 11.5/ppg as a senior. Now, we look at Marble as a totally different player and one who still has exponential upside potential. He’s 19 and won’t be 20 until the fall. He can become a better shooter and more consistent defender. He’ll be able to play mostly at the two or three next year but can handle the point position. I think he can averaged 13 points, five rebounds and three assists per game next year.

MELSAHN BASABE

The term ‘sophomore slump’ can certainly apply to Basabe for this year. Whether or not it had something to do with the extra 20 pounds he put on in the offseason or if it was something between the ears, Basabe was a shadow of his freshman self…mostly because he had a phenomenal freshman year. As you can see, most every statistical category went the wrong way this year. To go from an 11/7 player as a freshman to an 8/5 player as a sophomore is unexpected. Mel showed glimpses over the last 10 or so games of what we saw one year ago and this offseason is going to be enormous for him. If he can get back in the right frame of mind, he can get his numbers back up to where they were as a freshman. Frankly, Iowa doesn’t need him to be much more than that going forward. They’d take it, but to get another forward with that level of production would be huge.

ZACH MCCABE

Zach improved his points per game by two points from his freshman season and also bumped his rebounding total up one full board per game. His field goal percentage went from 34.9 to 49.5, his three-point percentage went up dramatically and he got to the foul line more while averaging less than two more minutes per game. All told, McCabe was a much better player in year two than year three except in the fouls department, where he went from 2.2 fouls per game to 3.4 per game. I think he can be a 10/5 player for Iowa next year for a team who may contend for an at large NCAA bid. That’s not too shabby.

JOSH OGLESBY

I came away from this year impressed with what I saw from Oglesby. Perhaps that had something to do with low expectations, but I didn’t expect his level of aggressiveness. He is not afraid, which is a common theme for most of these young Iowa players. He also showed a red-hot shooting hand at times, although most of his best shooting performances (66% of the games in which he scored in double figures) came in games where Iowa was getting blown out. He averaged nearly 20 minutes per game and scored 6.4 points per game, but lacked consistency. That’s usually a guarantee from a freshman and even White struggle with this area. I think Oglesby can be a 40% shooter from beyond the arc and he also needs to realize he is in there to hit the trey’s; he needs to get rid of the head fake from 21 feet only to shoot a 17-foot jumper.

He will be relied upon next year to fill some of the outside shooting void left from Matt Gatens’ departure. If Oglesby can averaged around eight points per game next year, with six of those points being three-point baskets (two per game), that would be just what the doctor ordered. Gatens averaged 2.14 made three’s per game this year, so perhaps that is expecting a bit too much but Iowa is going to need that from Josh as next year’s team looks to be weak from beyond the arc.

ROLE PLAYERS

Gabe Oleseni showed athleticism this year, but he is very raw offensively, which is exactly what Fran McCaffery said he would be. McCaffery also said in October and early November that Olaseni was the best rebounder in practice. If he can work on an offensive foundation this summer, get a few moves he is comfortable with and can go to, I could see him getting around 10 minutes a game next year. His payoff, if it happens, will be in his junior and or senior seasons.

Eric May struggled again this year. Part of that was due to injuries and he just never seemed to work his way back from the groin issues. He ended last year low on confidence and I can’t imagine his confidence is all that high right now. Take a look at his career stat trends:

He was an All Big Ten freshman team member, but things have gone down hill since then. Perhaps that is due to several factors, one of them being how short handed Iowa was when he was a freshman. May is a player that really performed well in October and early November and has been a better player in practice than he has in games. Here’s to hoping he can make some practice to game carry over in his final year at Iowa.

Darius Stokes saw some spot minutes this year, including five productive minutes against Indiana in Iowa City. He showed some bounce and ability, but not enough for me to make any realistic projections.

THE NEW FACES

Adam Woodbury is 7-1. The Hawks can use 7-1. It’s going to be interesting to see what kind of role he can carve out for himself and how many minutes he can compete for. Yes, Iowa needs a true center and he is definitely a true center. However, the Hawks can also run just fine with a front court of Basabe, McCabe and White. Woodbury more than held his own against elite competition last summer on the AAU circuit, and they don’t throw junk defenses at you in AAU elite camps. As I wrote in late February, the college game will prove to be less frustrating for Woodbury in some ways, yet it will have its challenges. I will project about 15 minutes per game for Woodbury, averaging 5 points and 3 boards per game. Some think that would be a disappointment, but big men take longer to come along than any other position.

Mike Gesell is a different story. I have pretty high expectations for him and I think he can make the players around him play better. He can score from from the point but I suspect McCaffery will have to remind him to shoot it more at some point in November. He will be very good in the drive and kick game, but the Hawks will have to do a better job of knocking down outside jumpers. I can see him averaging 8 points and five assists per game as a freshman, which would be comparable to Jeff Horner’s 8.2/4.5 numbers he put up as a freshman in 2002-2003. Gesell will be on a better basketball team than Horner was, however.

Kyle Meyer offers another big body for the Hawkeyes. The 6-10 forward is comfortable with the ball in his hands outside the lane and has a decent midrange game. Guard Anthony Clemmons has helped lead his talented Sexton (Lansing, MI) team back to the state quarterfinals and some are saying it’s one of the better teams in Michigan Class B history. An Indianapolis Star blogger recently referred to guard Patrick Ingram as one of the “best athletes in the state”.

Iowa is going to be a better perimeter defensive team next year and should likely improve on the interior as well. Iowa just needs to be better on defense, especially at stopping dribble penetration. Given Iowa’s desire to push tempo, they are never going to be a defensive juggernaut under Fran McCaffery.

I believe Iowa will play the same Big Ten schedule next year as it relates to the home and home assignments, with the single games being at Ohio State and Michigan and home against Michigan State and Illinois. Iowa hosts Iowa State and will probably play Drake and UNI in Wells Fargo Arena. The Cancun tournament looks winnable, too. I will also predict Iowa to draw NC State in the Big Ten challenge.

One thing Iowa cannot afford next year is to lose to the Campbell’s of the world as losses like those are a flat out RPI killer. I think Iowa can play their way into the bubble conversation next year, so they will not be able to afford ‘bad losses’. If the Hawkeyes can stay away from those and put up 8 to 10 wins in the Big Ten, there is a chance to see their name called on Selection Sunday in 2013.

I am not ‘predicting’ that right now, as well need to take a look at Iowa’s complete schedule which should be released sometime in early September.

(Statistics courtesy of sports-reference.com)

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