During the 2004-05 season, Iowa Coach Steve Alford let it be known that if J.R. Angle was going to make it with the Hawkeyes, he would need to learn the No. 3 spot. The then freshman was buried deep on the bench learning the new position.
Rumors surfaced as the campaign was winding down that Angle and the coaches were frustrated and that the Indiana native was looking to go elsewhere. None of that speculation was ever proven to be true.
Angle began his second season in the PTL Wednesday night as the league tipped off its 19th season. We met up with the Indiana native, and he reaffirmed his love for the Hawkeyes and the school. He said there were no plans to go anywhere now or in the future:
What have you been doing in the offseason?
After the season has been just as busy as the day we got beat. I've been doing workouts. Everybody has been trying to do individual workouts five times a week on their own as well as getting three lifts in during the week and we scrimmage with each other.
I'm working camps this summer. I worked the Muscatine camp last week and then I'm going home this weekend to work the Franklin College Camp back in my hometown. That's a full week. Then I work all of the University of Iowa camps along with having a job on the side.
What are you doing?
It's called the Mansion Furniture Store. I run errands for the company and i deliver furniture and stuff. It's a five-hour a day job five days a week. I like it a lot. I kind of like getting out there and having a job. It's a chance to get away from basketball and get a feel of what it's going to be like once your playing days are over with.
What has been your focus of the individual workouts?
I'm working on quickness and my first step and physical strength.
Coach Alford said for you to play at this level that you have to be a three. How much closer are you to getting that position down?
I'm getting very comfortable. I'm saying that if I work hard this summer that there's no reason why come this fall I shouldn't be able to say to myself that I've done everything that I can to make myself successful at this spot.
Hopefully if I bulk up some I can play the four every now and then. That's all weight room time put in. I'm just working on one thing at a time right now.
Looking back, how to you view your freshman year?
It was a definite learning experience. You only learn by experience. Going to practice every day and making those other guys better, that was my role. I was fine with that. I know what I have to do now to get on the court. There's nothing that's going to stop me. There's nothing more that I want than to be out there playing just like all of my other teammates. Everybody wants to play. So, you've got to work for it.
Did you get discouraged at any point last year and wonder if you could make it at this level?
Oh yeah. Basketball is rough some days. It's just one of those things that you have to put your mind to. If you really want something, you'll get it. I made up my mind after the season that I want to do something about it. I want to do something with my career at this university. I don't want to go anywhere else. I want to stay at Iowa. I committed to Iowa, and I always wanted to be a Hawkeye. I'm just going to do my best this summer and take the right steps that lead to success next year.
Why are you so determined to play here when you could probably go a mid major or smaller school and get a bunch of minutes?
It's just the atmosphere here. I love my teammates. We've all got a great bond. Everybody gets along. There's not one person on the team that doesn't get along with each other.
Academic wise, I really like it, and the coaching staff is great. They're really helpful. They're always there if you need something. Their phones are on 24-7 if you need help. They've been very supportive, and I've been real supportive of them. I just believe in what we're building here. I think next year is going to be something special.
What are you studying?
Right now, I'm health and sports studies. I'm going to go into a minor in communications.
What was the biggest adjustment for you from high school to college?
I'd definitely say time management. In high school, you play ball, you go to practice, you come home, you might have one little assignment, nothing major. We get up in the morning at 7:30 and we're going nonstop to class, study tables and practice until 10 or 10:30 at night. That's when you really have your first alone time to really wind down.
Like every freshman that comes in, you learn from experience. Those first couple of weeks really take a toll on your body.
When you look at the roster and the guys coming back, do you see minutes there for you?
I see an opportunity to come in the gym every day and work on my game so that I can increase my minutes. Whatever coach wants me to do, he knows I'll do that. I just want to have a roll on the team. Whatever that roll is to help us win, I'll do.
How is the adjustment defensively playing the three?
That's been the biggest factor for me. You've got to be able to play on both ends. Right now, my defense has improved but I know that it's something that I still need to improve on every day. Along with physical strength, my defense is the other main thing that I want to improve on.