Fran McCaffery has done a wonderful job of stopping the downward slide of the Iowa basketball program and has begun the long march back to relevance in just two years. He is a builder and has a great eye for talent.
He’s also been prone to some I-Club and Media Day hyperbole in his two years on the job, but hey, the man has to sell something, right?
Last October and November, he talked about how Gabe Olaseni was the best rebounder in practice…and then we saw Olaseni play for a total of 90 minutes last season.
He came to Iowa as an athletic big man, but was very raw on the offensive end having just picked up the game a few years prior.
However, Olaseni is having a very good summer. In my recent podcast with Rob Howe, he talked about Gabe’s play and how good he looked.
Then Melsahn Basabe said this recently: “He’s a pro. Pro ability. You think I’m laughing — I’m very serious. He’s got the most abilities on the team, or one of the most. He didn’t play a lot, so you guys haven’t seen him.”
Well, that’s quite a mouthful considering that Aaron White and Basabe were on the All Freshman team the past two years and we have seen Olaseni play for 90 minutes.
Still, it would be a great thing to see, this metamorphosis of Olaseni from a big man who can run and jump but little else into someone who could log 10 to 15 minutes a night and make real contributions on both ends of the court.
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McCaffery hasn’t backed off of his praise for Olaseni, saying a few months back that Melsahn had had a phenomenal spring. We’ll see in a few months, but having an active player of his size would be a big time boost for the team.
The Prime Time League is in full swing and the games have been played before a packed house in North Liberty. One of the players fans have been coming out to see has been Jarrod Uthoff, the transfer from Wisconsin who won’t be able to play until the fall semester of 2013.
Uthoff is not allowed to have any communication with the program or those in it, aside from the on court interactions he has in the Prime Time League. That is a bit awkward, as he and his teammates describe in this item from the Gazette.
Once Uthoff begins attending classes in the fall, he will then have the opportunity to walk onto the program and have complete and total interaction.
Iowa is following the law to the letter as it relates to Uthoff, as he was a very high profile transfer given what transpired with his leaving the Badger program.
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Iowa Sports Information Director Emeritus George Wine died on Thursday. He suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of 81. Wine was recovering from hip replacement surgery from just two days prior to his death.
Wine was a graduate of the University of Iowa in 1956 and served as the school’s Sports Information Director from 1968 to 1993. He authored the book ‘High Porch Picnic’, a Hayden Fry biography.
I never worked ‘professionally’ with Wine, as he had retired from Iowa six years prior to my career covering the Hawkeyes. However, I did have numerous interactions with George, both in person, on the phone, on the radio and via email.
He was a Hawkeye through and through and will certainly be missed.