Last year for the PTL season, we at HN provided audio interviews, video, photos and added extensive Iowa player analysis to our coverage. Well, the league kicked its 22nd campaign on Monday night and we were in the house.
We obtained an extended interview with Jeff Peterson. The sophomore point guard talked about his roller coaster freshman season, the exit of good friend Tony Freeman and the transfer rumors that surrounded him last season among other things. We also conducted a short interview with new guard Devan Bawinkel.
Please, check those out. They're already up n the site.
Normally, we'll have audio interviews posted the night of the action, but we ran into some technical difficulties with our system. And we'll most likely have the analysis up that night or the following morning.
For those that are new to this coverage or forgot it from last season, the analysis is produced from my observations from that night. It will include those players who I get a chance to see. The analysis could change somewhat as I get to watch these guys throughout the PTL season. I hope by the end to have a pretty decent scouting report.
It hasn't always been easy to get the best determination of ability based on the PTL. I did notice last night that it seemed more controlled than the fast-break, jack-up-the-three immediately offense that I've seen in the previous 10 seasons of covering this league.
PTL Director Randy Larson did say in a Press-Citizen report that they were going to attempt to run more offense like that used under Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter. Maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed a little more team-oriented last night.
So, again, this is a scouting report based on one night's action. As I see more of these guys, I will update/revise the reports throughout the PTL season:.
The following guys I saw play a full game:
Devan Bawinkel - The junior college transfer played a lot of point guard on Monday night and had to be asked by his PTL coach to shoot the ball more in the second half. He did, but remained a little to unselfish. Of course, some of that tentativeness might have come from a stiff elbow he took from former Drake center Aliou Keita. The blow floored Bawnkel and knocked a tooth loose. You can't say the kid isn't tough, as he bounced back up and stayed in the game.
Bawinkel definitely looks physically able to compete in the Big Ten. He has a thick frame that allows him to drive through traffic with a purpose. He has a nice handle, but I'm not sure it's good enough to play extended minutes at point at this level.
Iowa PG Jeff Peterson sat out Monday's action with a hamstring injury and he's on Bawinkel's team. I'm looking forward to getting a chance to see them play together.
Bawinkel shows a pretty smooth shot with a decent release. I really liked how he's in constant motion and that should help free him up for shots.
I'm not sure what position he will guard. He's not the quickest of foot, so I can't envision him defending the point, at least at first glance. I think he can make up for some of his athletic liabilities with his knowledge. I'm just not sure how much.
Overall, I was impressed. Bawinkel pretty much fit into the reports I had read and heard about him. He's be a nice addition as a versatile guard that can shoot it.
Andrew Brommer - The Minnesota big man looked better than I expected. I had heard reports that he would be a developmental player that won't contribute as a freshman. That might end up being the case, but based on what I saw Monday, I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't see him kick in some solid minutes in 2008-09.
Brommer looks every bit of 6-8 with a thick body for a freshman. He had no problem banging with Keita or the other bigs and really looked smooth around the basket. His game was of the power variety as he stayed close to the hoop and drove it.
Brommer blocked a few shots coming off his man and looked good going to the glass. He seemed to get winded relatively quickly, but this often is common in young big men. He'll need to work on stamina and toning his body.
Overall, like I said, I was pleasantly surprised by Brommer's skills. He'll struggle at times like most freshman, but I came away after one game feeling better about Iowa's post game for the upcoming season.
Marcus Paige - I know. He's not a Hawkeye. But word has it that UNI and Iowa State have offered this high school freshman-to-be from Linn-Mar. You have to think that Iowa is looking very hard his way.
I was talking with a current Hawkeye last night and he expressed to me that he could see why this kid has been offered before taking the court in high school.
Now, at 14 or whatever age, he is not physically on the level with most of the competition in the PTL. And that causes him problems. But as the current Hawkeye told me, that's about the only thing holding him back right now.
I thought that Paige looked pretty calm out there and did a nice job running the show. The lefty also knocked down a pretty nice outside shot with pressure in his face and drove the basket well. Again, when he fills out, he should improve on that and defending because the quickness and speed were there.
I'll be interested to see how this kid looks as he settles into the PTL and during his high school years. I'm told his parents aren't very tall, so there's a chance he might not grow a whole lot more.
The following players I only saw for a half:
Aaron Fuller - This kid looks like a pretty good find. He's probably the most athletic of the true freshmen and possesses long arms that help him play bigger than his height.
I really liked Fuller's ability to hit the 15-18 foot jumper and then go inside and work a post-up game. He really seems adept at using both hands as evidence by a really sharp turnaround baby hook with his right hand (he's a lefty).
Fuller probably provided the highlight reel play of the night from what I saw. Former Hawkeye Darryl Moore got free on a fast break only to have his shot swatted from behind by Fuller.
I'm excited to see more of this kid and give more thoughts.
Anthony Tucker - Tucker looked very unassuming. He kind of snuck through the action making smart plays. He would hide in the pack in transition and pop out for a steal; things like that.
Tucker also looks to have a pretty nice handle and was playing quite a bit of point guard. He looked like a streaky shooter as well; miss a few and then can a few. There was no doubt about one thing - his release is ultra quick and it's smooth.
Like Bawinkel, I wonder about Tucker's foot speed and quickness and ability to defend consistently in the Big Ten. But Lickliter's system helps make up for such athletic deficiencies and as I said, this kid looked very tuned into the action, meaning he'll make the plays with his head.
Jermain Davis - Facially, this guy looks like Arthur Agee from Hoop Dreams.
I probably saw the least of Davis as I was concentrating on Tucker and Fuller. Davis did look to be as advertised, a slasher that prefers the drive and run the floor. He handled it pretty well and can defend.
Davis' game looks less polished than some of the other incoming players, but I think he can fill a role on this team. I'll have more on him when I can get an extended look.
Well, that's it for this report. I will not be able to make it to the PTL on Wednesday, but Brian Finley will be there to capture some visuals of these guys and possibly an interview or two for audio. I'll get back at the analysis next week with two reports.