BRODY BANGED UP:Boyd "tweaked" his knee at practice last Saturday, the day before the team's exhibition finale against Athletes in Action, Iowa Coach Steve Alford said. The coaches were going to hold him out, but Boyd insisted on playing. He struggled to 2 of 6 shooting from the floor in 24 minutes. The senior said on Thursday that the injury scared him a little, but that he was fine now.
TOUGHEN UP:Alford stopped practice at one point on Thursday to demand more toughness out of center Jared Reiner after he allowed Erek Hansen to steal the ball from him. Reiner failed to establish position and let the skinnier, younger big man beat him. Alford said that he needs to demand space to make it at the next level, and that Iowa needs him to do it now because when he gets it down low, he's automatic right now.
LANE CHANGE:Alford was not sure if they would be using the experimental trapezoid lane for the Wooden Tradition game against Louisville on Nov. 29 in Indianapolis. Iowa played with the lane on its trip to Australia, and the coach is not a fan. He likes the traditional court and does not think the people that invented the game should change to a foreign rule. He did like the moving back of the 3-point line.
NOSE JOB: Freshman Ben Rand got popped in the nose during Thursday's practice. But after a short checkup from the trainer, he was back in the action. The youngster does some nice things in practice, understands the game and is much more athletic than I originally thought that he was.
RETURN TO SENDER:Hansen continues to look good on defense. You can see his Iowa teammates think twice about taking the ball at him in practice. Pierre Pierce tested the big man on a drive and had his offering returned to him.
FOREIGN OBJECTS:Alford and assistant Brian Jones challenged the big men in an early drill Thursday by defending offensive shots with a big stick with padding on the top of it. This might be going back too far for some of you, but this is the tactic that helped former Golden State Warriors scoring machine Purvis Short to come up with his unorthodox high arcing jumpers.
TIP-INS:Glen Worley showed up about halfway through practice with ice on his broken left hand…Iowa scrimmaged full court with 12 second shot clocks to work in its transition game and secondary break…Assistant coach Rich Walker was not at practice Thursday. Not sure if he was recruiting.
Do you know anything about (UNC-Asheville)?
They have some really good post players and they like to duck into the post. And they're really athletic.
Tell me what that means, duck into the post.
They do a great job of using their bodies.
What is the focus at this point?
Just to continue that defensive focus that we had. We made some strides from the first exhibition to the second. We want to continue that through this week in practice.
Is it communication?
Definitely. Communication plays a big factor in your defense, especially your team defense. You need to know where your help is coming from and where your teammates are at. If we improve our communication, we'll definitely help our defense.
Do you have to keep reminding each other to do that?
Every day you want to keep striving to make sure that the communication is up where it should be. You can always improve on it.
Do you have a message for the students and the fans who have not bought tickets for your gamaes?
Attendance at the exhibition games is never what it's like in the Big Ten. But it really doesn't matter how many people are in the stands. We're going to go out and play our game no matter what. It always feels good to have students and the rest of the fans filling up the Arena. That will come. It's early on in the season.
Does it help that you're starting in terms of getting into a flow with your shot?
I think so. If you're starting as game, you kind of get into a flow right away. That helps me a lot. I've been more comfortable starting than coming off the bench.
How is the rotation working out?
It's a lot of fun. We haven't had a lot of depth, last year especially. You can play that much harder when you're out there knowing that somebody is going to come in for you and there's going to be nothing lost there.
Is everybody OK with their playing time? There aren't any ego problems are there?
No. If you buy into that stuff…a couple of years ago that might have factored into how we played. We kind of failed to a lot of people. There is none on this team. Everybody understands there role and knows what they've got to do.
Is starting the season with six games in 14 days a good thing?
It could be good and it could be bad. If we buy into fatigue, then we're going to struggle. That's why coach is getting after us here.