Iowa Wins Opener over Kennesaw State: Derek's Takeaways

Derek Young of Hawkeye Insider shares his takeaways from Iowa's 91-74 victory over Kennesaw State in the season opener.

PEMSL DOES IT AGAIN

Freshman Cordell Pemsl was good in the exhibition contest a week ago. He finished with 6 points and 6 rebounds in just 12 minutes of play. It could have been an even better line if he would have been a bit more efficient and converted more near the rim but he was extremely active. He did the same thing tonight. Pemsl earned himself more minutes, logging 16 in the season opener. He finished up with 10 points and 6 rebounds. Again, could have been more if he was better from the free throw line but he was more efficient near the rim. He's someone that can do a lot of good things in terms of rebounding, passing, looking for his own shot, screening, and defending the post. Pemsl even handled the ball some. 

QUESTION MARKS BEHIND JOK?

Of course Jok was great again, scoring 27 points in 26 minutes. It is curious if someone will be able to take the load off of him on the perimeter in terms of being a scoring threat. Wagner played some on the outside and attacked the basket off the dribble but isn't necessarily a threat to shoot from there. Pemsl and Cook have shown to be more comfortable near the rim. Christian Williams can score but he's more of a distributor at heart. Dale Jones' health could be a question mark throughout the year. Someone is going to have to knock down shots from outside other than Jok. That will likely come down to Nicholas Baer, Dom Uhl, Brady Ellingson, and Jordan Bohannon. Baer has been the most consistent thus far but nobody is racing with it just yet. Baer has done some nice things and is the most reliable at this time. 

AN IMPROVED JOK

It may not matter how much defensive attention he warrants this year in terms of his points. He's still going to get them. Jok is better without the ball this year. He's moving and always finding ways to get open. He's become a better ball handler to set up his own shot. He's active in transition in looking to score before the defense can get set and be ready. His range seems to have even increased. Jok is knocking down shots when guarded pretty well. There's not a whole lot of ways to stop him because he's taken an even bigger step forward from what I can tell. 

SOME GOOD SIGNS LATE IN THE GAME

It was late in the game and it was already out of reach but I think there were some good things to draw from that can be used to push Iowa forward even more. Bohannon knocked down a couple threes later on in the second half and seemed to find his stroke from distance. Isaiah Moss came in and knocked down a few shots. Ryan Kriener got a couple buckets. I don't know how much they'll be counted on but it can only raise the confident of Moss and Kriener to be able to contribute immediately like they did when they entered the game late. The more experience, and the more he sees his shot go down early in the season, the better for Bohannon. 

PLAYING IN SPURTS

It was really the only noticeable flaw that I was able to gather from this contest. The rebounding was better. The offense is in sync for the most part. They're playing very well in transition. But at times they fall asleep for a few minutes, and it can look really, really bad. It is the sign of a young team but it's something they need to erase if they want to contend for an NCAA Tournament bid. Like Fran McCaffery said afterwards, this team has shown to be prone to defensive lapses and offensive turnovers this year, both in practices and in the few contests they've had so far this year. They're good enough and tough enough so far to overcome them but they can't make a habit out of it. 

BREAKOUT PERFORMER: AHMAD WAGNER

He was sensational. He's active on the glass and he plays great defense but his offense has taken a huge step forward. Not only can he defend the post and grab tough rebounds, but Wagner is now someone that can put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. It diversifies his game on the offensive end. He's not just an offensive rebound and putback guy on offense anymore. He's extended his range a bit when shooting the ball but he's explosive and that makes him even tougher to guard when he's able to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim the way he did tonight. 

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