Loads of Athleticism
It's hard to take a lot away from an exhibition win. Your opponent usually isn't up to your standards and guys usually don't play as much as they would if it were the regular season. This years Iowa team is going to be a little different than the previous four were. The last four seasons, Adam Woodbury spent his time locking down the inside for the Hawks, but since the seven-footer graduated that leaves Iowa's tallest player at around 6'10" and that is Ryan Kriener who did not play tonight. The tallest player on the court for Iowa tonight was most likely Tyler Cook at 6'8" or 6'9".
What they do have this year is a bunch of great athletes. It was most noticeable when Ahmad Wagner and Tyler Cook were on the court together. Cook and Wagner look a lot alike in the fact that they could both probably play tight end for the Iowa football team. They did a nice job of keeping plays alive and pulling Regis' big men away from the hoop. Cook showed the ability to not only utilize his back to the basket game, but take a defender off the dribble and get to the rim. This will pay dividends with him starting at the five and luring bigger, slower defenders away from the rim.
Get excited Iowa fans, because this team has elite athletes.
Point Guard Play Better
I thought the play of Iowa's point guards would be a tad bit of a mystery, but I liked what I saw from both Christian Williams and Jordan Bohannon. They both seemed to really understand what is going to be expected of them throughout this season. For the most part, they didn't force anything and simply took what the defense was giving them. Bohannon turned it over twice and Williams didn't turn it over at all.
I would be excited about this duo because they both bring separate things to the table. Williams showed that he can get to the rim and showcased a nice pull up jumper from around 16 feet. Bohannon showed off his range a bit, he was 1-5 from three point land.
If I had to choose, I would say Williams played better than Bohannon did. Williams ended the night with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists and he shot 5-6 from the floor. He seemed to slow things down more than Bohannon did, but that should get better as Jordan gets more time under his belt.
Jordan struggled a bit getting through screens on defense, but was better on that side than I expected. He played exceptional help defense and you can tell he's a smart basketball player because he was rarely out of position. He tried to enter to the post a couple of times on offense with extremely bad angles, but that is an easy fix.
I liked the way Iowa's point guards played tonight.
Peter Jok Still Very Good
Boy, it had been so long since I'd seen Iowa play basketball that I almost forgot how good Jok was. He scored 28 points on 7-9 from the floor, 5-7 from three, and 9-10 at the line. He hit one three in particular that was near the tiger hawk when he released it. If he is hitting those shots, it not only helps his teammates, but he just becomes a matchup nightmare for teams because he did showcase the fact that he's worked a bit on posting defenders up. We didn't see it much, but he posted up four or five times during his 28 minutes on the court.
I noticed he seems to be playing with a bit more "swag" as the kids are calling it now-a-days. He looked like he was genuinely having fun out there and there is no other way to play, in my opinion.
Supporting Cast Strong
Nicholas Baer is one of the most important players on this team for many reasons. Baer started at forward tonight, which was a surprise to me because I believe his energy and hustle can be very valuable off the bench, but that's besides the point. Baer ended the night with 9 points, 7 boards, and 3 blocks. So basically, he was being the Nic Baer we're used to seeing.
He was hustling, grabbing offensive rebounds, breaking Iowa out of a funk they went into during the second half. He's just constant energy and I honestly don't think the kid takes a play off.
I assumed he'll continue to start and he has earned it.
I didn't think Dom Uhl played his best game, but he was in constant attack mode and even drilled a three pointer in the first half. He's going to be another guy who will be valued for his hustle and his heart. He scored 6 points and hauled in 4 boards in 17 minutes.
Wagner gives Iowa another athletic body in the middle to go along with Tyler Cook. Wagner isn't quite as polished as Cook is with his game, but he gives them another athlete that creates havoc inside for opposing teams. Wagner had 2 points, 3 boards, and 2 steals in his 19 minutes.
He looked as good as advertised. Yes, it was one game and it was against Regis, but he looks like a real player. He jumps out of the gym and I can't honestly tell you the last time I've seen an Iowa player post someone up, back him down, drop step, and dunk with the kind of authority he did it with tonight.
He showed us that he can play beyond the arc, too. He misfired on a couple of three point attempts, but showed us he is going to be a slasher for Iowa this year taking bigger defenders off the dribble.
Cook gave Fran McCaffery 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals in 26 minutes on the court tonight. Iowa fans have a reason to be excited about Cook.