Hawkeye Basketball Report

Even though two-a-days have just started in football, Steve Alford and staff are not resting. Work has begun to build an exciting basketball program after last year's disappointing finish. The veteran reporter takes an early look at Iowa's 2002-2003 basketball team. Plus the Hawkeyes' schedule and TV times.

Floor leadership and double-figure scoring from more players are goals of Coach Steve Alford as he looks forward to his 2002-2003 Iowa basketball team.

"Last year, we were a team with two players scoring in double figures,'' Alford said. "I would hope that this year we can get three or four scoring in double figures consistently, and be a little bit harder to play against.

"I like our athleticism, and we have good size at every position. Even though we will be young, there are some dimensions that we have improved on.''

Only Luke Recker, with a 17.1 average, and Reggie Evans, at 15.4, scored at better than a 7.3 clip for a Hawkeye team that had a disappointing 19-16 record last season. Both Recker and Evans, who led the Big Ten in rebounding with an 11.1 average, have used up their eligibility.

"We struggled with our leadership on the floor last season,'' Alford said. "So we need someone to step forward. Will that be guys like (Jeff) Horner and (Pierre) Pierce, or (Chauncey) Leslie, our only senior who played last season? Or maybe someone like (Jared) Reiner or (Glen) Worley from the junior class?

"We have to find that leader on the court, someone who understands the situation and knows what has to happen. That hurt us last season, and it's going to be a concern going into this season.''

Iowa announced a schedule today that includes 16 home games. Included among non-conference teams appearing at Carver-Hawkeye Arena are Northern Iowa on Dec. 10, Iowa State on Dec. 13 and Missouri on Jan. 4.

The Hawkeyes will play 14 games against teams that advanced to postseason competition last season, including 12 against teams that were in the NCAA tournament.

Iowa meets national runnerup Indiana twice and plays Missouri (Elite Eight) and Illinois (Sweet 16). Other opponents that played in the NCAA tournament include Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Tulsa and Florida Atlantic. Montana State and Minnesota were, like Iowa, in the NIT.

The Hawkeyes play at Florida State in a Dec. 2 game that will be televised by ESPN2. The game is part of the Atlantic Coast-Big Ten Challenge.

Iowa's opening exhibition game is Nov. 13 against the California All-Stars. The Hawkeyes also host Nike Elite on Nov. 19. The regular-season opener is Nov. 24 against Florida Atlantic.

Iowa hosts the Gazette Hawkeye Challenge on Dec. 6-7. The Hawkeyes play Montana State n the first round, with Southern Mississippi (coached by former Iowa State assistant James Green) playing Jacksonville in the other opening game.

Jacksonville is coached by Hugh Durham, who took Florida State to the NCAA title game in 1972 and Georgia to the Final Four in 1983.

The Hawkeyes' opening road game will be Nov. 26 at Drake.

"We have more time to prepare at the start of the season than we have in the past,'' Alford said. "(Nov. 24) is the latest we've opened in my four years. The extra time at the start of the season should be to our advantage. We will have a number of freshmen and sophomores in the mix, and can use the added practice time.

"We've got a tough non-conference schedule, as have had in the past. Being a young team, we need some early success. If we can get these young kids some momentum and confidence, maybe that will help us in January and February, where we've struggled in the past.''

Alford said his team will be "younger, but I don't think we are totally inexperienced. I think we can be an exciting team and a fun team. This may be the most versatile team I've had, with a lot of guys who can play different positions and do different things.

"I know we have question marks, but we have a chance to be a pretty deep and balanced team.''

Iowa's top returning scorer and rebounder is Worley, a 6-7 junior forward from Iowa City. Worley, who started 11 games, averaged 7.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and led the squad with 31 blocked shots.

Pierce, who averaged 7.1 points, will be counted on to provide more scoring punch. He started 32 of 35 games as a freshman. Another Hawkeye guard prospect is Josh Kimm, a 6-3 senior from Norway, Ia., who transferred from Kansas State. He is the son of Bruce Kimm, former manager of the Iowa Cubs and present manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Josh Kimm, who is expected to be awarded an Iowa basketball scholarship, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and partial tear of the meniscus in his left knee in July, 1999. He underwent surgery that month, with the operation performed by Dr. Wayne Gersoff, a physician for the Colorado Rockies.

Alford's record in three seasons at Iowa is 56-44.

IOWA'S SCHEDULE

Nov. 2—Black and Gold Blowout, TBA
Nov. 13 — California All-Stars (exhibition), 7:05
Nov. 19 — Nike Elite (exhibition), 7:05	
Nov. 24 — Florida Atlantic, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus TV)
Nov. 26 — at Drake, 7:05 (Drake TV)
Nov. 30 — Tennessee State, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Dec. 2 — at Florida State, 8:05 (ESPN2)
Dec. 6-7 — Southern Mississippi vs. Jacksonville, 5:45; Iowa vs. Montana State, 8:11 (ESPN-Plus)

Dec. 10 — Northern Iowa, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Dec. 13 — Iowa State, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Dec. 22 — Liberty, 3:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Dec. 28 — at Tulsa, 7:05 (ESPN Regional)
Jan. 4 — Missouri, TBA (TBA)
Jan. 8 — at Northwestern, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Jan. 11 — Michigan State, 1:34 (ESPN Weekend Package)
Jan. 15 — Illinois, 8:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Jan. 22 — at Wisconsin, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Jan. 25 — Ohio State, 1:34 (ESPN Weekend Package)
Feb. 1 — Purdue, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Feb. 5 — at Penn State, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Feb. 8 — at Michigan, 11:17 a.m. (ESPN Weekend Package)
Feb. 12 — at Minnesota, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Feb. 15 — Penn State, 4:07 (ESPN-Plus)
Feb. 19 — Indiana, 8:05 (ESPN-Plus)
Feb. 22 - Wisconsin, 3:05, ESPN
Feb. 25 — at Ohio State, 7:05 or 8:05 (ESPN-Plus)
March 1 — at Indiana, 6:05 (ESPN)
March 5 — at Michigan State, 7:05 (ESPN-Plus)
March 8 — Northwestern, 1:34 (ESPN Weekend Package)
March 13-16 — Big Ten tournament in Chicago (CBS/ESPN)	

Ron Maly

Vol. 2, No. 46

Aug. 14, 2002

Ron Maly's e-mail address is malyr@juno.com]


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