Iowa Hawkeye Basketball

Iowa Men's Basketball Season Preview

Written by Guy Martino

The Iowa men’s basketball team is on an upswing. They have an enthusiastic coach, experienced players, solid recruits, and a moderate amount of hope for the upcoming season.

Will we be seeing them in the NCCA Tournament in March? Eh, it’s much too early to tell postseason fates, but here’s what we know for sure:

Backcourt:

The Hawkeyes graduated their best player and unquestioned leader, Matt Gatens, and will miss him sorely. The 6’ 4’ guard started for the Hawkeyes as a true freshman and averaged 15 points per game during his senior campaign. Attempting to fill his shoes in Iowa’s backcourt will be Devyn Marble, Eric May, Josh Oglesby, and newcomer Mike Gessel. Both Marble and May have two seasons of Big Ten playing experience under their belts. Marble is a natural scorer and defensive ballhawk, while May is the 'jump out of the gym' type athlete. Oglesby is a sharpshooter, and is able to come off the bench and pour it in from long range. But look for the true sophomore to develop as a more dynamic scorer this year with the absence of Gatens. Gessel has the potential to make a huge impact as a true freshman. He is smart, quick, and athletic: a natural point guard. He should easily be able to step into that role for the previously point guard-less Hawks.

Frontcourt:

The Hawkeye big men include Aaron White, Zach McCabe, and Melsahn Besabe. White had a breakout freshman season a year ago, when he averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds per game, and there are no signs indicating a sophomore slump. Both White and McCabe are versatile scorers, and have the capability to drain 20 footers, while Basabe lives around the hoop. Basabe is a formidable presence down low, and with a few years of playing experience behind him, look for that presence to grow. Freshman Adam Woodbury has the potential (#46 national recruit) and size (7 ‘1’) to contribute immediately.

David, with a Bunch of Goliath’s

Even though the internal outlook for the Hawks is promising, you still have to consider the path they have to travel. The Big Ten is the toughest basketball conference in America. The Hoosiers of Indiana snagged the top spot in the national preseason rankings, followed closely by Ohio State (4th), and Michigan (5th). No other conference has more than two teams in the top ten.

Along with the top-dewlling firepower, the B1G also carries a considerable amount of depth. Michigan State comes in at No. 14, Wisconsin at No. 21, and Minnesota received a few votes for No. 25.

Iowa has a big hill to climb. They will battle these behemoth Big Ten foes often during this season (and also for a few years to come: Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State all have young players with good recruiting classes.)


But the buzz is here, and if Iowa can navigate thru its non-conference schedule unscathed, it will only grow. If Iowa City has nothing else, it has energetic fans. An electric Carver Hawkeye Stadium could be an intimidating place to play come February.

 

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