Hawkeyes look forward
By Don Lund
This is the second part of a two-part story of the Hawkeyes men’s basketball team with assistant coach Kirk Speraw.
Last week we talked about the season, the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA tournament, which was the first time since 2006 that the Hawks made the big dance.
Iowa had three seniors lead the way and they helped the Hawkeyes win 53 home games in their four-year career.
The 53 wins ties for fourth in program history.
Iowa’s 1988, 2008 and 2009 seniors won 54 home games.
That stat kind of surprised me.
The 1988 team had Jeff Moe, Kent Hill and Al Lorenzen as seniors with a great junior class of B.J. Armstrong, Roy Marble and “Easy” Ed Horton.
That’s not surprising but the 2008 and 2009 teams were coached by Todd Lickliter, who was fired after three years and had no winning records.
The seniors in 2008 were Seth Gourney and Justin Johnson. Iowa finished 13-19 in Lickliter’s first year.
In 2009, Cyrus Tate was the lone senior, Matt Gatens was a freshman while Jake Kelly and Justin Johnson were sophomores, the Hawks were 15-17.
This year, Iowa had back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 2005-2006.
They were led by three seniors; Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe.
It was fun to see all three grow in their four years at Iowa.
Devyn started 103 of 136 games in his four seasons. He averaged 5.7 points as a freshman, 11.5 as a sophomore, 15.0 as a junior and 17.0 as a senior.
Devyn is only the second player since 1986 with more than 1,650 points, 375 assists, 450 rebounds and 175 steals.
Devyn was named first team All-Big Ten. Adam Haluska was the last first team pick for Iowa in 2007.
“Dev has made tremendous progress,” said coach Speraw. “He’s still a young player and he has a great chance of playing in the NBA.”
Zach McCabe played in 137 games, which is the most in Hawkeye history.
Zach was a blue-collar worker that would hit a big three, grab a key rebound and he shot 73 percent from the free throw line for his career.
“Zach came in and competed hard for four years and gave us everything he could possibly give us,” Kirk said.
Melsahn Basabe played in 136 games, averaging 8.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game over his four years as a Hawk.
“Mel had a great attitude and approach to things,” said the coach. “He had a great freshman year and gave us a lift when we didn’t have as much.”
All three seniors scored over 1,000 points.
“The thing that stands out to me about the seniors,” said Kirk. “Is that they won 53 home games in a four-year period. That’s one shy of the record at Iowa. You would never have expected that.”
Next year’s seniors include Aaron White, Gabe Olaseni and Josh Oglesby.
Aaron was the only player in the nation to shoot better than 58 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line.
“Aaron has great instincts,” said the coach. “He’s terrific in transition. I think you are going to see a big jump in his play from junior to senior year. I think he’ll provide very good leadership for us.”
Gabe Olaseni led the team and ranked second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds (2.5).
The 6-10 center from England was one of only four players in the country with more offensive rebounds (82) than defensive (81).
“He’s a terrific young man on and off the floor,” said Kirk. “He has such a strong desire to get better. Sometimes he’s too hard on himself and sometimes that hurts him. Tremendous talent and his instincts are getting better.”
Josh Oglesby missed the first 12 games with a broken foot. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range for the season after shooting 27 percent as a sophomore.
“It was unfortunate for Josh,” said Kirk. “He was playing some of his best basketball before he got hurt. He had a good, solid year and shot the basketball the way he’s capable. He played good defense and had only 10 turnovers for the year.”
Next year’s juniors include Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury, Anthony Clemmons and Jarrod Uthoff.
Mike is one of three Hawkeyes to ever amass more than 200 assists, 550 points, 150 rebounds and 75 steals by his sophomore season. The other two were Jeff Horner and Dean Oliver.
“He’s a terrific worker,” Kirk said. “He is one of the best team players. Mike always puts team first.”
Adam shot 48 percent from the floor as a freshman, 52 percent as a sophomore. The big guy shot 51 percent from the free throw line his first year, 71 percent last year.
“Adam has been a terrific player for us for two years,” said the coach. “The expectations, quite honestly, have been unfair. He does all the little things that championship teams need. He’s a terrific passer, plays great defense and has a great feel for the game.”
Anthony shot 38 percent from the floor as a freshman, 51 percent as a sophomore.
“He didn’t have the same energy in practice like he had as a freshman,” said Kirk. “He and Mike really went after each other as freshman. Not so much his sophomore year. He knows that and I think he’ll get back to being aggressive defensively.”
After sitting out two years Jarrod shot 50 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the free throw line. He was also second on the team with 35 blocked shots.
“It’s extremely difficult to sit for two years at this level and not play and then come in and play exceptional,” said the coach. “He played very well and had some good moments. His experience from the last year will help him and he will be a better player. He’s so versatile and yet he has to keep his game simple and maximize what he does well. The sky is the limit for him.”
Peter Jok played in 26 games last year shooting 40 percent from the floor, 80 percent from the free throw line and 35 percent from 3-point range.
“The last four weeks of the season you could see his improvement at practice,” said Kirk. “He played defense, executed on offense and he’s one of the best shooters we’ve been around.”
The Hawks bring in three recruits; Trey Dickerson (6-1), Brady Ellingston (6-4) and Dominique Uhl (6-8).
Trey was a junior college All-American in North Dakota last year.
“He brings speed.” said the coach. “He’s really terrific in transition, very quick and unselfish.”
Brady is a shooting guard from Wisconsin.
“He’s more than a shooter,” said Kirk. “He really understands the game.”
Dominique is from New Jersey and brings size to the Hawks.
“He is such a skill player,” said Kirk. “He’s very versatile but strength will be a factor. He’ll have to continue to get stronger. His basketball skills are high.”
The Prime Time Basketball League starts in North Liberty Thursday, June 19. It will be fun to see the new kids.