Editor’s note: This preview was written by ZHawk44. Please give him a follow on Twitter.
The Iowa Men’s Basketball team will have a very different look this year. The Hawkeyes are without four seniors who contributed to winning an NCAA Tournament game last season: Mike Gesell, Anthony Clemmons, Adam Woodbury and Jarrod Uthoff. Each of them played an integral part in the resurrection of the Iowa Basketball program, and together, they made three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Iowa signed five freshmen for the upcoming season:
Tyler Cook– A 6’9 power forward out of Chaminade College Prep in St. Louis, Cook was very highly recruited.
Jordan Bohannon– A 6’0 point guard out of Linn-Mar and winner of 2016 Mr Basketball in the state of Iowa.
Cordell Pemsl– A 6’8 power forward out of Dubuque Wahlert, Pemsl was plagued by injury throughout high school but is now healthy.
Maishe Dailey– A 6’6 guard out of Beachwood, Ohio, Dailey was originally committed to Rutgers but signed with the Hawks after the firing of Head Coach Eddie Jordan.
Ryan Kriener– A 6’9 power forward from Spirit Lake, Kriener was a late bloomer but had multiple offers after his final AAU season.
PG: Point guard duties will be split by Christian Williams and Jordan Bohannon. These two have very different games. Williams is a big, long guard who can drive the lane and has the ability to get out in the passing lanes on defense. Bohannon is more of a scoring point guard who can make shots from anywhere on the floor. PG will be a key position for Iowa to see if someone can emerge and run the team.
SG: This is all Peter Jok. As preseason All-Big Ten pick, Jok has the ability to lead the conference in scoring. His backups are Brady Ellingson and Isaiah Moss. Brady is a capable shooter, while Moss has the ability to take his man off the dribble.
Forward/Center: Iowa will not play with a traditional center this year. They have multiple guys who can play various positions. Returning players Nicholas Baer, Dom Uhl and Ahmad Wagner will be heavily relied upon to play big minutes for the Hawks. Freshman Tyler Cook will also be expected to score and rebound right away. Ryan Kreiner, also a freshman, has been Iowa’s leading rebounder in practice according to Coach Fran McCaffery and will provide some height down low. The “X Factor” could be Senior Dale Jones who sat out most of last year with a knee injury. If Dale can stay healthy, he can really rebound and extend the defense with his shooting ability. A surprise could be freshman Cordell Pemsl who can bang down low and also has a nice touch from midrange out to the three-point line.
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Christian Williams
SG: Peter Jok
SF: Nicholas Baer
F: Dom Uhl
F: Tyler Cook
The non-conference is pretty tough for a young team that will start two freshmen. Iowa will face Seton Hall at Carver Hawkeye Arena in the Gavitt Games. The following week they will travel to Destin, Florida to play in the Emerald Coast Classic against highly-ranked Virginia, then go on to face the winner/loser of Memphis/Providence. Next they are on the road against Notre Dame to compete in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and soon after they will play Iowa State at home before heading over to Wells Fargo Arena to play UNI in the Hy-Vee Classic.
Iowa gets a bit of a break in the Big Ten slate. The will only face MSU, Wisconsin and Indiana once: three of the top teams in the league.
The Hawks will have plenty of scoring with Jok and Cook, but can they find a third scorer and will they be able to defend at a high level in the Big Ten when they need a stop? If they can pick up a couple of big wins in the non-conference and finish 9-9 in the Big Ten, they will have a real shot at being a team that qualifies for a fourth-straight NCAA berth.