Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, his staff, and his players convened earlier today for the annual Hawkeyes' Media Day. Iowa is coming off back to back NCAA Tournament appearances but are hoping for continued improvement this season. They return every starter back outside of leader Aaron White. Other than that, it's a very young team, full of true freshmen and redshirt freshmen. Here are some notes from the day.
NEWS AND NOTES
- Fran McCaffery mentioned that his team this year is the most offensive weapons he's had on one roster since he's arrived.
- McCaffery also mentioned that being in the Big Ten makes it a more difficult task this year. He pointed out that, top to bottom, the Big Ten is the best it's been this year since he arrived in Iowa City. Maryland is number one in some polls. Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State aren't going anywhere. Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana, and Nebraska are both improved squads from a year ago. Wisconsin loses some key pieces from their Final Four team but still return an NBA talent in Nigel Hayes.
- Many players on the team admitted that the big difference in this year's team is that they are a bit smaller than they were a year ago. But what also comes with that is an increased level of athleticism. They'd like to get out in the open floor and run even more this year.
- They're much better at shooting as a team than they were a year ago. However, McCaffery cautions that it has yet to manifest itself in a game yet so he didn't want to jump to many conclusions based on that.
- McCaffery plans to use Adam Woodbury for 30-36 minutes a game this year, a vast increase from a year ago. Woodbury is ready for that kind of workload, and says he could have done it a year ago. It wasn't a conditioning issue in terms of minutes, but that the minutes he did play were based off of what the team needed.
- Peter Jok played an increased role last year and that was due to his defense becoming much better. According to many of the players, you won't find the floor very early if you do not commit yourself on the defensive end of the floor.
- The shot clock going to 30 seconds will not change what Iowa does at least on the offensive side of the ball. They like to push the ball and tend to take early shots anyways so that should not affect them as much as it would other teams.
- They're excited about the role Dale Jones could have on this team. His size and physicality should allow him to get much better on defense and he's a great rebounder.
- The coaching staff wants Jarrod Uthoff to continue to become more aggressive on the offensive end of the floor.
- Some of the freshmen will be counted on. Two that jumped out to me were Ahmad Wagner and Andrew Fleming. Wagner is a big body that has a lot of versatility, being able to play and defend the 3, 4, and 5. He can give them a lot of flexibility and he's tremendously athletic. Fleming is a playmaker on offense. He'll have to continue to get better defensively but his potential on offense is pretty startling. Brandon Hutton also has a very good chance of having a role this year mainly because he's capable of being one of the better defenders on this team.