There are a lot of expectations for the Iowa Hawkeye Men’s Basketball Team this winter. This is a team coming off an NIT birth last year in which they made it to the championship game where they would fall to Baylor.
With the season starting in just over a week I figured I would take a deeper look at this team and I came up with three big things that the Hawkeye faithful should look for this season.
1. The maturation of Devyn Marble: We saw glimpses of it last year and we all know Devyn Marble has the tools necessary to be big time. He had a stretch last year where he was terrible, but he was also battling an injury. Going into this year Marble is the leader of this team, whether he likes it or not. Look for Marble to embrace this role as well as the point guard role and have a stand out 2013-2014 campaign. As long as he improves his outside shooting.
2. The improvement of the outside shooting: The Hawkeyes were terrible from behind the arc last year. “Sharp Shooter” Josh Oglesby, who was pegged by most people as the best shooter the Hawkeyes have, shot a measly 22% from behind the arc. And, sorry Josh, that’s not going to cut it. Expect players like, Peter Jok, an incoming freshman, to step up. Jok has the ability to light it up from the floor due to his size and ability to shoot over people. Jarrod Uthoff, who transferred to Iowa after originally committing to Wisconsin, brings those same skills to a Hawkeye team loaded with talent. Uthoff is a long, wiry kid who can stroke it from behind the arc. Look for these two guys to help out a team that was terrible from downtown last season.
3. The Sophomore Slump, Adam Woodybury, Mike Gesell, Anthony Clemmons: If you are even a casual sports fan you know about the sophomore slump. I want to start with Woodbury, after the anticipation surrounding his arrival in Iowa City, he was less that impressive in his freshman season. That being said, I don’t know if he can have a sophomore slump due to his lack of success last year. Now sophomore point guards, Anthony Clemmons and Mike Gesell, had games where they were brilliant. Gesell showed toughness on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He was a pest. Anthony Clemmons bothered people on defense and demonstrated a solid ability to shoot the basketball. So, is a sophomore slump in store for either of these two players? My early guess is no, their work ethic and talent level is just too high.
This is a team that has aspirations of making it to the NCAA Tournament in March. They have the talent to do this, but these three things will be an important part of if that happens or not.