Thoughts, Observations, Notes from Hawkeye Hoops’ Exhibition

November 4, 2018

Written by Rob Howe




IOWA CITY, Iowa – Well, it’s a start.

Iowa played host to Division III Guilford College in a basketball exhibition Sunday here at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. One would have expected a blowout and that’s what happened. The Hawkeyes unleashed a 17-0 run early in the first half en route to a 103-46 victory.

In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a big deal. It’s a long season and this game didn’t count, at least as far as the record was concerned. It did in other ways.

Iowa needed this kind of start in front of the public. It’s coming off a dismal 14-19 season with a 4-14 mark in the Big Ten. And it should be noted that it was missing starting point guard Jordan Bohannon (bone bruise) Sunday.

Not only did it serve as a confidence boost, but the Hawkeyes showed positive signs in areas you’d hope to see growth. None of them was more important than on defense.

Guilford shot just 19 of 64 (29.7) from the floor, including 5 of 22 (22.7) from behind the three-point arc. Yes it’s a Division III school, but it was a starting point for the worst defensive team in the Big Ten last year.

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Iowa communicated and helped on defense. The guys were connected. That’s what’s been lacking on a team not flush with great individual on-ball defenders.

Overall, the players looked like they were relaxed, together and having fun from the start. They weren’t those things at the end of last season.

Standout forward Tyler Cook performed and talked like a team leader that is needed. He set the tone Sunday for being unselfish on both ends of the floor. He was leading the strong communication on the court.

It’s wise tempering enthusiasm. This is going to be a process. But there’s no doubt Sunday was encouraging and a step in the right direction.

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Here are some other thoughts, observations and notes from Sunday:

-Coach Fran McCaffery said Bohannon suffered a pretty serious bone bruise a few weeks ago. He’s been improving but is questionable for Thursday’s season opener against Green Bay.

-True freshman Joe Fredrick also was recovering from an injury and did not play Sunday. McCaffery said the guard would red shirt this season. They came to a mutual understanding that it’s the best route in large part because of the physical setback and it providing some separation in classes among the backcourt players.

-Joe Wieskamp has carried himself beyond his years for quite some time. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see him look comfortable from the opening tip as a freshman starter. The Muscatine product finished with 14 points (6 of 8 from the floor), five rebounds and three assists in 18:31.

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He said after the game that he expected to be nervous in his first game in an Iowa uniform but didn’t feel that way. His teammates believed he would stand out right away.

-The Hawkeyes recorded 24 assists on 38 baskets, showing their unselfishness.

-Seven different Iowa players hit three-pointers, including multiple treys by Wieskamp, Isaiah Moss, Maishe Dailey and Jack Nunge.

-Cook’s improved ability to play on the perimeter opened up the lane and created nice ball movement. He dished out a team-high seven assists against just one turnover.

-Cook and center Luka Garza each hit a trey. All tolled, they and fellow big man Nunge were 4 of 8 from behind the arc.

-With Bohannon sidelined, redshirt freshman Connor McCaffery started at point guard. The coach’s son scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds in 22:45 and did a nice job running the offense. His four turnovers with one assist showed he’ll need to tighten things up moving forward.

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