Freshman Joe Toussaint has been incredibly exciting for the Iowa basketball team so far. Is he already making a case to be the starting point guard?
Through four Iowa basketball games, it has become clear to Iowa basketball fans that true freshman Joe Toussaint is electric, exciting, and a playmaker that the Hawks haven’t seen at the point guard position in some time. This isn’t a dig at current starter Connor McCaffery or even sharp shooting Jordan Bohannon, who is returning from injury, but just a fact of the matter.
So, with such a limited sample size, is Toussaint already making a case to be the Iowa basketball team’s starting point guard?
The short answer is yes, but the long answer to if he will becomes much more complicated. And it’s important to note that the Iowa basketball team hasn’t really played anyone yet.
With #12 Texas Tech on the horizon during the Las Vegas Invitational and Big Ten play beginning shortly after, we are about to see what Toussaint looks like against better competition. But for now, all we can do is take a look at what he has done so far, regardless of competition.
As of now, Toussaint is third on the team in scoring with 8.5 points, first on the team with steals with 1, and third on the team in assists with 2. All while playing just 13.3 minutes per game, which ranks 9th on the team. Digging deeper into the advanced analytics and the Bronx product has the second-highest win-shares per 40 minutes, the second-highest plus/minus grade, and the highest offensive rating on the entire time.
The question of should he or should he not be the starting point guard certainly leans in the direction of he should, based on statistics alone.
But, there are two other more experienced point guards on the team. One being Jordan Bohannon who is being brought off the bench for now and Fran McCaffery’s oldest son Connor McCaffery. If Bohannon officially decides to return and not redshirt, this point guard room gets pretty crowded pretty quick.
Fortunately, the elder statesman in the locker room, Bohannon, is able to play off-ball and handle the 2 with ease because of how well he can shoot. And that’s actually been one of McCaffery’s go-to lineups this season having Toussaint play the 1 and Bohannon play the 2.
McCaffery, however, is a bit more effective with the ball in his hands. He’s an incredibly intelligent kid on the court for the Iowa basketball team and does a fantastic job of distributing the ball. What he doesn’t bring is the ridiculous athleticism that keeps defenses honest and forces the defense to account for the point guard driving to the basket on a consistent basis.
Thankfully, McCaffery’s shooting stroke has seemingly gotten better this season (he’s shooting 40% from the field), and he is dishing out 5 assists per game, which is easily the top mark on the team. More importantly, though, the Hawk’s offense isn’t regressing when he is on the floor. Behind only Toussaint, his offensive rating is second-best on the team.
While my personal bias towards explosive athleticism that can change the game has me saying Toussaint should be the starter now with McCaffery coming off the bench and Bohannon splitting time at the 1 and the 2, I think Toussaint’s energy is a great fit for the second unit of the Iowa basketball team. It’s momentum-changing energy that can make that second unit become a huge advantage over Iowa’s opponents.
He doesn’t need 25 minutes to impact a game, and quite frankly, we don’t know if more time on the court necessarily means better returns for the freshman. But if he can get 15-18 minutes a game, for now, I think that’s the best course of action for the Iowa basketball team as they begin entering a tougher slate of games.