When I arrived at the Wig, my friend had already quaffed a few Budweiser's. Naturally, when I arrived, it was time for the vodka, ginger beer and copper cups. Not being foolish enough to cut off my nose, I commented how refreshing those drinks are in the summer. However, The Shadow was in no mood for small talk. Here are his points that I remember:
1. Unfortunately, Doug Thomas is probably headed for junior college. Vincennes JC in Indiana or Coffeyville JC in Kansas would be two of the most likely destinations for Thomas. Both have been recruiting Thomas in case he didn't qualify.
The Shadow says too bad that all that athletic ability won't be on display in Iowa City until 2004.
2. Waterloo East point guard Mike Henderson's decision to de-commit from Iowa State may affect Iowa recruiting. Although Iowa had nothing to do with his decision, the Hawks might recruit him providing Mike is interested in Iowa. He played well at the Nike Camp. Always a good free throw shooter, his jump shot has improved a lot in the last year. The Hawks could sign four players next fall. Erek Hansen and Ben Rand appear to be in the fold. The other two could be Lance Harris and Mike Henderson. Their projected positions would be Hansen in the post, Rand at the three, Harris at the two and Henderson at the point.
The Shadow says that his Henderson ideas are pure speculation, as he does not know if Mike is interested in Iowa.
3. Indiana is not the only midwestern state where Steve Alford is looking at underclassmen. The Hawks have two players on their radar screen in Iowa that are also attracting attention from major division 1 powers.
The Shadow says there are two underclassmen, for certain, that have caught his attention.
4. Alex Thompson, 6-8 190, WF, Ames, is a fast rising junior to be. He has a nice shot and good hands. Alex has also shown he has hops according to many who have played with him. Schools interested in Alex include ISU, Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
The Shadow says the Hawks may very well have to look into dipping into Cyclone country.
5. There is also a super sophomore power player attracting interest from many schools. Grant Franzen is a 6-6, 230 pound wide body from Waverly. His game is in the blocks, where he finishes plays against much older players. Grant more than carries his weight in the classroom, also, with a 3.9 GPA.
The Shadow says his future may be dependent on growth as at 6-9 he would attract top level D-1 offers, while at 6-6 he would be more a candidate for Missouri Valley schools.
6. Rumor has it that no one in the basketball office was aware that Erek Hansen was in academic peril at the end of the first semester.
The Shadow says there is a need for discussion so the team is not affected by this turn of academic fortunes again.
7. Look for Aaron Greving to be used up the middle and off tackle this fall as the big Iowa offensive line opens good running lanes. This will open up the outside for quick on quick running back Fred Russell. Don't be surprised to see Iowa also run some option plays this fall with Brad Banks and Russell.
The Shadow says since they both can motor, defenses will be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d wide, forced to cover the option game. This in turn will open up the gut for Greving.
8. Although I have mentioned the potential pass catching, play-making combo of Dallas Clark and Tony Jackson at TE, Erik Jensen is not a forgotten man. He is the most effective blocker out of the large TE group and will be in many short yardage situations. Clark may be used like an NFL ‘H' back, lining up all over the field.
The Shadow says this could mean even more playing time for Jackson and Jensen.
9. Adding more fuel to the offensive firepower this fall will be Nate Chandler. The tall Texan epitomizes everything about the term ‘gunslinger'. Word around Iowa City is that he has the strongest arm in a Hawkeye uniform since Dan McGwire. He has made remarkable progress since the spring game. However, he still has to work on his reading of defenses, decision-making and quarterback mechanics. Although approximately the same size, he is much more mobile than McGwire. Nate is a very good student and this intelligence is helping him quickly learn the very complicated NFL offense that Iowa runs. He is light years ahead of where most January transfers would be at this time.
The Shadow says don't put too much stock in the spring game performance of Nate Chandler.
10. Although fans might be worried about the defensive ends this fall, there is not a concern on the team. The Hawks have guys ready to step up and deliver. Howard Hodges figures to be the best sack artist Iowa has had in a very long time. At 250 pounds, he could be a much bigger version of Leroy Smith. Also, Jonathan Babineaux and Derreck Robinson both bring the physical prowess and strength to be very good run stoppers. The battle for the 4th defensive end slot should be very interesting with several candidates fighting for that playing time.
The Shadow says it will be an interesting battle between Steve Burch and Matt Neubauer for the 4th DE spot this fall. Howard Hodges may very well lead the team in sacks. The defensive end position does not figure to be a weak spot on the team.