2008-2009 Iowa Hawkeyes Basketball Preview
Iowa Hawkeyes - Big Ten
2007-08: 13-19, 6-12, 8th
2007-08 postseason: none
Coach Todd Lickliter is slowly bringing in his type of players to Iowa. However, with seven newcomers, the process might be moving a little too fast for the Hawkeyes. This will be another transition year and eventually Coach Lickliter will have the right players to run his slow style of play. The good news is the Hawkeyes at least have a year of experience under the new regime and the program should be moving upwards from their 13-19 season of a year ago.
Who’s Out for the Hawkeyes:
The Hawkeyes will not score too much, but it still hurts that the team’s only two players who averaged double-digits in the scoring column are gone. Tony Freeman opted to transfer after leading the team with 13.8 points per game. Freeman could score in a variety of ways, but it was Justin Johnson who was the long range specialist. Without Freeman and Johnson, Iowa has to find a new scoring threat out of the backcourt. Guard Dan Bohall and forwards Seth Gorney and Kurt Looby are the other departures. Gorney, who started 27 games last year, was not a big scoring threat, but he did average 5.2 rebounds per game. Like Gorney, Looby was also a solid rebounder and the depth up front will be a big concern this year.
Who’s In for Iowa:
The lack of frontcourt options puts a lot of pressure on incoming freshmen Andrew Brommer and Aaron Fuller. At 6-9 and 235 pounds, Brommer is the bigger of the two. He could stand to add a little more strength, but at least he has the size to hang out in the paint. Brommer can play with his back to the basket or on the perimeter and use his outside shooting ability. Like Brommer, Fuller can also hit the outside shot and that is the versatility that Coach Lickliter needs from his big men. Devan Bawinkel, Jermain Davis, Matt Gatens, John Lickliter and Anthony Tucker are the newcomers on the perimeter. Bawinkel is a do-it-all wing who played in 20 games at West Virginia during the 2006-2007 campaign before spending last year at the junior college level. His experience will be very valuable to this young team and the same can be said for Davis. Another junior college transfer, Davis is not much of an offensive threat, but he should work his way into the regular rotation with his stout play on the defensive end. Gatens and Tucker will not give up the available starting job to one of the more experienced players though. Both are quality playmakers who have the ability to spark what will likely be a stagnant offense.
Who to Watch:
Jake Kelly is expected to turn into the go-to-scorer and the player who will take all of the big shots. The 6-6 sophomore averaged 7.3 points per game last year and was the most consistent outside shooter, knocking down 43.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. He did not take too many shots with Freeman and Johnson on the floor, but if Kelly can keep up that percentage while taking a lot more shots, the Hawkeyes can turn around the program quicker than most thought. As important as Kelly will be to the success of this team, his backcourt mate Jeff Peterson might be even more important. Peterson started 11 games as a freshman and did a decent job finding his teammates. What he did not do a good job with was the turnovers. He committed 3.1 per game. A year of experience will help, but that issue needs to be taken care of quickly. J.R. Angle is the only other returning perimeter player and the 6-7 wing will battle with the newcomers for minutes off the bench.
Final 2008-2009 Iowa Projection:
The depth in the paint is a problem, but at least the starters are experienced. Cyrus Tate is the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, averaging 8.1 and 5.2, respectively. Tate will have to become a more consistent scorer this year. He will have some help in the frontcourt from sophomore Jarryd Cole. The 6-7 forward missed 19 games with an injury last year and never really had the opportunity to develop into the type of player that he can be. Even playing just 13 games in his freshman year, Cole showed plenty of potential. If he can continue to develop, the starting Iowa frontcourt will be the team’s strength. Yet, the lack of depth will push Tate and Cole to their limits and that will not be a good thing in the long run.
Projected Postseason Tournament: none
2008 Iowa Basketball Projected Starting Five:
Jeff Peterson, Sophomore, Guard, 5.2 points per game
Devan Bawinkel, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Jake Kelly, Sophomore, Guard, 7.3 points per game
Jarryd Cole, Sophomore, Forward, 6.6 points per game
Cyrus Tate, Senior, Forward, 8.1 points per game
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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