NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa - All eyes, or at least most them, were on a pair of young Hawkeyes when the Prime Time League tipped off its 27th season Thursday night here at the Recreation Center.
Mike Gesell and Peter Jok delivered for a packed house.
Jok, an incoming freshman from West Des Moines, smoothly dropped in 35 points. He showed off his silky outside shot by knocking down five three pointers but also displayed an ability to get to the basket and handle the ball.
Gesell struggled with his shot but showed no ill effects from a stress reaction in his foot that slowed him considerably at the end of last season. Thursday represented the first time the sophomore from Nebraska had played five-on-five since the end of his first campaign with the Hawkeyes.
Gesell talked about the injury and the recovery right here in this video interview from Wednesday night.
While his shot proved inconsistent, Gesell managed 28 points and dished out 11 assists in a victory against Aaron White's team. White put up 29 points and 14 boards.
Jok enjoyed a a stretch in the first half that saw him knock down four three-pointers in a row. After some initial nervousness, he settled in well. His shot looked pure.
While Gesell and Jok likely will grab the headlines from Thursday night due to their story lines, Jarrod Uthoff looked the most impressive of all Hawkeyes I saw. He connected from three, drove people to the hole and exhibited a mid-range game as a 6-foot-8 forward. He finished with an economical 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Uthoff's team downed a squad led by Jok and Adam Woodbury (32 points, 16 boards). Anthony Clemmons added 23 points, six rebounds and five assists to the winning effort and shot the ball very well.
The only bad part of the night for Uthoff was that the name on the back of his jersey read "Utoff."
Zach McCabe (22 points, 11 boards) and Gabe Olaseni (19, 12) helped their team to a win against one led by Roy Devyn Marble (29 points, six rebounds, five assists). Marble's unit only had six players.
I recently bought a new camera to hopefully add some amateurish still shots for fans to view. Here is a gallery from opening night.