Early on in the year, I questioned whether something was wrong with Iowa sophomore point guard, Mike Gesell. At the time, it appeared something might’ve been, but looking at him now, he looks like a completely different player.
He’s become the guy that makes Iowa go and has been instrumental in the last couple of games for coach Fran McCaffery.
In his freshman season, Gesell averaged about 25 minutes a game. He averaged around 9 points per game on 40% shooting from the field and 32% shooting from behind the arc. Gesell also carried a 2.6 average in both rebounding and assists.
Fast forward to his sophomore season, Gesell’s minutes are down to 23 a game throught 21 games, but his field goal percentage is up, his three point percentage is up, and his assists per game are up as well.
Early on, it wasn’t the fact that he hadn’t progressed, it was the fact that his confidence was a little shaken, according to coach McCaffery. That may have had something to do with the fact that he was splitting the point guard duties with Roy Devyn Marble.
Well, right now his confidence is sky high and that could be because he’s starting to handle the ball more. He appears faster with the ball and his decision making looks better than it did early in the year.
Over the last three games, Iowa is 2-1, and Gesell is averaging 13 points per game, 6 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He recorded his season high of 16 in the loss to Ohio State back on February 4th, and that was when he started to break out. Gesell is also shooting 58% from the field over these games and 63% from three point land.
I don’t know about any of you, but in the loss to Ohio State, Gesell looked like he was the only Hawkeye that wanted to be playing late in the game. In fact, 11 of his 16 points came in the final 6 minutes of the game.
He had just 10 points in the win against Michigan, but he also had 8 assists. I know Marble’s 26 points were big, but Gesell really paced the Hawkeyes. I mean, who do you think was getting Marble the ball? And in last Saturday’s win against Penn State, Gesell had 13 points and 7 assists and was 4-5 from behind the arc.
If Gesell continues to play the way he has been, it’ll set up some problems for opposing teams. Having to worry about all of Iowa’s long athletic players and then throwing the smaller, shifty Gesell into the mix is something that could keep opposing coaches awake at night.
With no new date announced for the postponed game that was supposed to take place in Bloomington on Tuesday night, it looks like Iowa’s next game will be on Saturday when they welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to Carver Hawkeye Arena in a match-up of top 25 teams.
That game will tip off at 11 a.m. CT.