Hawkeye Hoops: Exhibition Season Set to Tip Off

Iowa players and coaches met with the media in the first press conference of the season Monday. The Black and Gold plays host to EA Sports Tuesday night in its preseason opener. In this premium notes and quotes package, read about Coach Alford's view of camp, the power forward battle between Worley and Brunner, the injury report on Mike Henderson, and receive tidbits from Monday's practice that was open to the press.


Open Says Me:Steve Alford opened practice to the media Monday. The Iowa coach will continue the open practice throughout the season provided the system works out. He is concerned that the Hawkeyes could lose a competitive advantage. For example, if the media were allowed into a practice and learned that an Iowa player were hurt and published it for their readers, that could give the opponent an advantage. Stay tuned on this one.

Accepted Invitation:I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I sat in on practice for about an hour and 15 minutes. I thought that the Hawks looked good. Seeing what they were doing with all those bodies made me wonder how the heck they were able to practice at all last season.

Pierre's jumper looked a lot better, but it's still inconsistent. His afro looks tremendous, however, kind of like a more tamed Ben Wallace look.

Brian Jones had a nice, if simple, scouting report on the EA Sports team coming into Carver-Hawkeye on Tuesday. The team is very guard oriented and like to launch three pointers. Its leading scorer is former Wake Forest standout Robert O'Kelly, who averages 15.7 PPG. Former Illinois talker Lucas Johnson (8.7 PPG) also plays for EA.

Coach Alford and his staff really seemed to have a good feel for this team. They spent most of the practice time I saw working on fundaments, and most of that involved defense and rebounding. Jared Reiner and Nick DeWitz each was scolded by Coach Alford for some lazy defense.

Don't be suprised to see Ben Rand get some meaningful minutes this year. While I thought he got lost during some of the PTL action this summer, you could see what the coaches liked about him in recruiting. He's a smart player, and has a knack for the team concept.

Glen Worley (sprained ankle) and Mike Henderson (deep knee bruise) have missed significant practice time with injuries. Worley was back in practice Monday and worked with the first team. Ben Rand also has missed practice time. Henderson sat out the workout and probably won't see much action, if any, against EA. He said he should be back to full strength by Sunday's expo versus Athletes in Action.

Coach Alford said that Henderson and Brunner have been the two Hawkeyes that have earned extra playing time during camp. Brunner looks poised to take some of the power forward load off of Worley. And should Worley continue his foul difficulties, don't be surprised to see Bru on the floor a lot. He looked great in practice on Tuesday, dunking everything in sight and playing the best defense of any frontcourt player.

Coach Alford said that a lot of NBA scouts and player personnel have been calling about senior center Jared Reiner. The coach took two calls of that nature on Monday.

A lot of the players seem to be favoring black Nikes in practice. Let's hope that they go to the white sneaks in the games.

Senior forward Sean Sonderleiter showed up in the police blotter for fifth degree theft. In talking to some of the folks close to the program, the charge is from not paying a parking ticket. He left a ramp without paying the fee, was asked to come in and pay it, failed to do that, and thus was charged with theft. I quickly searched my car for any parking tickets when I left practice. I might get grand theft for my infractions. Coach Alford said that he was looking into the issue. There is a chance that Sonderleiter could be in trouble on another matter, but I need to do more digging on that. Stay tuned.

Iowa men' basketball has sold about 9,000 season tickets to this point.

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