JAKE KELLY INTERVIEW
After playing a few times in the PTL, what do you think?
It's so much more of a big-time event than I thought it would be. It's a good idea. It's going to help me being a freshman.
How long have you been in Iowa City?
This is going on my second week.
What have you been doing?
We play pick-up every day and lift.
How has it been playing with Division I players?
It's been an adjustment, but I'm getting better every day. Tony Freeman, I'm rooming with him, so he's really been helping me a lot. The guys have been really receptive to me. So, I feel pretty comfortable.
What are the things that have stuck out early that you need to improve upon?
Obviously, my strength, I've go to get a lot stronger. I have to be smarter with the ball and not force things. It doesn't come as easy over here.
Something that I was pleasantly surprised with in watching you a couple of times now was your athleticism. Is that a part of your game that's get lost because you do shoot it so well?
Yeah, nobody thinks that I can jump or anything like that. It's nice thought because they put a slow guy on me to start the game every game.
Defensively, where do you feel you're at? That's a huge part of Coach Lickliter's system.
Yeah, it is a huge part. I've just got to get better at it. It's plain and simple.
Does that have a lot to do with getting stronger?
That's basically the whole deal. That and being smart with the help-side and everything. I can get steals and blocks, but my off-the-ball defense is kind of bad.
Having had a chance to play with your fellow freshmen, give me a scouting report on those guys.
Jeff is a real smart guard who uses his body real well. Jarryd is a beast on the boards, inside, great hands. I think in the future we're going to be good.
Have you guys been able to bind a little in the short amount of time you've been here?
Oh yeah, both of those guys have been very nice to me. I've become friends with them pretty quick.
How much have you gotten to know the new coaching staff and what do you think?
I knew them back in Indy pretty well. They recruited me when I was young. I like them a ton. I think it's going to be great. I'm excited.
What's their M.O.? What's their trademark?
Being smart. They recruit smart players instead of just athletic players.
OBSERVATIONS: I dropped in on one PTL game on Wednesday night as I'm trying to pace myself. It's a long summer.
I was rewarded for my trip through rush hour traffic with a game pitting freshmen Jeff Peterson, Jake Kelly and their teammates against fellow Hawkeye newcomer Jarryd Cole and his squad. The game extended to overtime with Cole's team winning on a late three-pointer by former Hawkeye Duez Henderson.
I continued to be impressed by the Class of 2007, especially Kelly. I was surprised by his athleticism on Monday, and tonight he continued to pound home that he's not strictly a jump shooter.
Jake moved very well with and without the ball. He handled it well with both hands and his threat to bury the deep ball or take it passed the defender has made him tough to guard.
He drove around one man into the lane only to find Iowa Center Seth Gorney under the basket. Kelly cork screwed his body to the left, protected the ball with extension and tossed it in over Gorney with his left.
On another occasion, he dribbled to the basket on the fast break where it looked like he was going to lay it up in traffic, but he sprung off the court and just missed a lefty throw down that likely would have fallen if he hadn't been hammered.
One of the other things that I really noticed about Jake tonight was his unusually long arms. He may only be about 6-5, but he plays much bigger.
As he said in our interview, strength is something he needs to work on because he does get beat defensively by stronger players. He also gets careless with the ball, something he shares with Peterson.
Jeff had a nice night with 12 assists, but his pocket was picked on a handful of occasions and he gets himself in trouble at times with over penetration. It reminds me a little of Tony Freeman in his first summer here.
It's something Jeff likely will figure out over time. He drives the ball really well and can finish. He hit one of about four jumpers and that's obviously an area that needs work. The other team figured out it could play off his shot and try to take away the drive. The good news is that he still got passed the defender, but he was called for three charges.
Cole looked much more aggressive and calm early on tonight than he did on Monday. He's very active on the glass and is one of those guys that beats opponents with his ability to quickly get up and down off the court for tip-ins. Again, he seemed strong on defense in the post even against taller guys.
Cole plays on a team where guys like to drive the ball and he doesn't receive a lot of post feeds. Part of it is because they don't look for him enough and part of it is that he needs to set up stronger on the block. He was getting pushed out and late in the second half was satisfied to stay on the perimeter.
That's what I've got from tonight. We broaden the player scope next week.