PTL Scouting Reports

HI Publisher Rob Howe spent a lot of summer nights in North Liberty watching the Prime Time League. The following is a list of scouting reports for the Hawkeyes in the league.

I feel for the Iowa basketball fanatic. While I might not be certifiable like some of you folks, I would love nothing more than to report on a successful turnaround under Coach Fran McCaffery.

Maybe that's what drew me to so many Prime Time League nights this summer. In the past, I usually attended anywhere from a quarter to a half of the contests. This year, I missed two nights, including Sunday's title game won on a last-second shot by incoming Hawkeye freshman Aaron White.

The main draw, of course, was much-hyped JUCO transfer Anthony Hubbard. Ironically, he left the team after a month for reasons that have created plenty of speculation.

I've been asked in the past to write up an analysis of what I saw at the PTL. I've mostly have been uncomfortable doing so. Either I didn't feel like I saw enough of the action there in a given year or the league's style makes it tough to file an accurate judgement.

I'd like you to keep the latter in mind when you read this overview of what I saw this summer. The PTL and the Big Ten are as different as me and Michael Jordan. He plays more defense.

However, I was able to focus on Hawkeye players on a lot of nights. I then returned home and edited video from the action I had shot to uncover things I may have missed the first time through.

So, for all of those folks that asked in the past and even those you couldn't care less, here's a breakdown of Iowa scholarship players from the PTL:

  • Matt Gatens
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  • The Iowa City native looked to be in the best shape of his career. It translated into him being quicker and more agile than earlier in his career. His body has naturally matured to allow his to play physical while being faster.

    Matt's 3-point shot looked really good this summer. He took them in the flow of the game and extended his range.

    Gatens also showed an ability to go hard to the hoop and finish. At times in his career, he has had his drive negated by a block or somebody stronger knocking him off balance.

  • Questions -
  • The one thing I've always wanted to see from Gatens is an ability to drive to the basket with his left hand. He hasn't seemed comfortable with this in the past and it allows teams to force him to too often give up the ball when they shade him that way.

    I didn't see as much as I would have liked to in that area this summer. To me, it's been the one thing that's kept him from being very hard to guard.

    Gatens talked about improved ball handling and getting to the free throw line more this year. An ability to drive hard with the left can make that happen.

  • Melsahn Basabe
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  • The New York City native ended up missing just a touch of the season after getting cut from the USA Basketball. He took out his frustrations on the PTL as he, Gatens and White led their team to the championship.

    Basabe looked strong at the rim, flushing the ball home with authority on many occasions. Last year, he'd settle for a layup or short jumper on too many chances near the hoop.

    Basabe also showed an ability to rebound well when he put his mind to it. He also played solid defense when focused. In fairness, those never have been staples of PTL basketball.

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  • While he showed an ability to hit the 12-footer at times, it still looked very inconsistent. The farther out he moved from there, the more suspect the shot became.

    In addition to being relied heavily upon to pick up the slack for the departed Jarryd Cole in rebounding, Basabe is going to get open jumpers. Opponents will take away his drive until he proves he can hit it consistently.

    Basabe also could benefit from more polishing of his post moves. A little jump hook would be a nice addition with his length.

  • Eric May
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  • A great deal of the confidence built up in May early last season was zapped out if him with an injury that helped create a tough stretch to finish the season. While he showed a renewed belief in his ability this summer, I still sensed that there was work to be done in that area. He played tentative at times when I was watching.

    May continued to display an ability to get to the basket and finish in the half-court and on the break. He also never has been afraid to defend, and that showed up again this summer.

    May appeared motivated by McCaffery bringing in Hubbard and others to compete for his playing time. As I said, I don't think his edge completely returned, but I saw enough aggressiveness from the Dubuque native to hold out hope for a full recovery above the shoulders.

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  • May enjoyed some nights this summer where his jumper was falling, but it's still too inconsistent for me. He looked uncomfortable shooting it too many times.

    I've felt in the past that May took some questionable treys. I've always felt like he could be very dangerous if he added a 12-15 foot pull-up. He drives it well and rises up fast enough to make it a tough shot to defend.

  • Bryce Cartwright
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  • Much like Gatens, the Hawkeye point guard appeared to be in top condition. It showed up in a quicker first step and improved defense.

    I thought Cartwright's outside shot looked much more constant this summer than it did last season. He also didn't force it. His ability to drive to the basket and finish or find an open teammate left him open for opportunities beyond the arc.

    Cartwright continued to show he can take contact and finish at the rim. He looked even more dangerous at it this summer than he did last season.

    The thing that impressed me the most about Cartwright's game this summer was an knack for hitting the mid-range jumper and pull-up. With the rest of his offensive game, it made those shots almost impossible to defend.

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  • I'd really have to dig to find a weakness in Cartwright's game from this summer. He got flat-footed defensively on occasion, but he's usually able to recover.

    The real questions for the Compton native this season will be durability and conditioning. More will be asked of him than any of his teammates.

  • Andrew Brommer
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  • Brommer missed the first few weeks of the PTL after undergoing knee surgery in May. The good news was that he got back on the court pretty quickly and should be a full-go for the preseason.

    Brommer is what he is - a big body with some skill. He's prone to some silly fouls, but I didn't see as much of that this summer.

    Brommer rebounded pretty well in the PTL, which was nice to see. He also showed more aptitude for screening and playing off the ball than he has in the past.

  • Questions -
  • It's tough to read too much into Brommer's summer performance because he was off of the court for two months prior to returning to action here. He looked tentative on the knee and lacked explosion to the rim.

    I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he looks when he's back in top condition this fall.

  • Devyn Marble
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  • If I had to choose the Iowa player who looked the most improved since the end of last season to this summer, it would have been Marble. Never bashful as a freshman last season, the Detroit product could have made an argument to be the MVP in this league.

    Marble clearly looked stronger than he did during his first year in the Big Ten. He muscled his way to the rim and finished.

    I was most impressed with Marble's mid-range game. He really looked comfortable on pull-ups.

    Marble also proved he can he a lock-down defender on the perimeter.

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  • I just didn't see a consistent 3-point shot from Marble. He took some ill-advised shots from deep because I think he feels like he can make it more than he does.

    Marble also continued with struggles on the free throw line. As someone who has shown he can create fouls, he needs to be more proficient from the stripe.

  • Zach McCabe
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  • McCabe told me that he will play most of his minutes in 2011-12 at the four spot. That made my scouting of him differ from what I'd expect from a three.

    The Sioux City product looked much more comfortable doing some of the dirty work at power forward compared to some struggles he endured at SF last winter.

    McCaffery has told McCabe he wants 10 rebounds per game from him. That was probably asking for a tad more than the sophomore could be expected to deliver.

    However, McCabe rebounded and screened very well from the four this summer. He also proved to be an above average passer from that position.

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  • No matter where McCabe shows up on the floor, he's probably going to get some open looks as a fourth or fifth option most possessions. He needs to be able to knock down those shots to help this team.

    He connected on some of those this summer, but the stroke is still too inconsistent.

  • Aaron White
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  • The Ohio native showed me a lot this summer. It wasn't that I went in expecting a project, White was just better than I thought he would be.

    White showed his skill but also featured a lot of intangibles. He looked like the Brian Cardinal type that opponents despise but becomes a home team favorite.

    White has a knack for winning the 50-50 balls. He shows up in the right place at the right time and makes the sneaky plays, like stealing an inbounds pass or baiting the opposition into mistakes.

    White proved he can score going to the basket. He's surprisingly strong at finishing near the rim, utilizing angles when he's outmuscled.

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  • I did not see a consistent outside shot from White or a whole lot of damage done in a mid-range game. He did most of his work dribbling into the lane and spinning free, something that will be much harder to accomplish in the Big Ten.

    While White got by with his slight frame in the PTL, he'll need to muscle up quite a bit before the season tips. That's typical of most incoming freshmen.

  • Gabe Olaseni
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  • The first night I watched Gabe, he'd just gotten off a plane after a visit home to London. Helooked raw. I was concerned.

    I don't think any Hawkeye in the PTL improved more from the first time I saw him to the last than Olaseni. By the end of the season, he looked comfortable and was a factor.

    Gabe won't blow anyone away with an array of moves in the post, but he understands his limitations and plays to his strengths. He's quick off of the floor and does enough on the offensive end to require attention from the opposition.

    Olaseni's defensive game clearly is ahead of his offense. He has a good feel for from where the shot is coming and helps well.

    He also is put together much better than former Hawkeye Kurt Looby, to whom he's drawn comparisons. I actually don't think the two have that much in common on the floor.

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  • I still wonder how effective he'll be on offense once the scouting reports reflect his limited package in the post. I also was not blown away by his rebounding. He needs to work on positioning and he gets out of it while trying to block too many shots.

  • Josh Oglesby
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  • Other than Gatens, Oglesby looked like the only Hawkeye player comfortable shooting from behind the arc. He's developed a smooth stroke and I liked that he didn't force it.

    What surprised me the most about Oglesby was his ability to handle the ball and pass. He saw the court very well.

    Oglesby also wasn't afraid to stick his nose in there as a rebounder.

  • Questions -
  • I don't like to overstate the obvious, but like White and many incoming freshmen, Oglesby is slight of build. He probably will have to overcome that throughout his first season.

    My other concern for Oglesby would be quickness against college level guards on defense. I saw several athletic players break him down in the PTL.

  • Devon Archie
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  • In the interest of full disclosure, I probably saw Archie the least of any Hawkeye in the PTL. He suffered early on with some shin splints and those were the nights I watched his team.

    In the limited minutes I caught Archie, he looked pretty much like the same player we've seen in his time at Iowa - limited on offense, runs the floor pretty well and can defend.

  • Questions -
  • Consistent positive play has eluded Archie and Brommer throughout their careers. We've seen flashes of breakouts only to be disappointed by regression.

    These senior big men need to figure it out. If they don't, Olaseni is more than capable of stealing minutes at the five.

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