I took in another night of the PTL on Wednesday. I watched half of a game with Anthony Tucker and Aaron Fuller on one team versus another with Matt Gatens and John Lickliter. The Gatens-Lickliter team won by like 20.
Here's what I saw from the current Hawkeye players:
Jake Kelly: The first thing that jumped out at me was Jake's physique. He looked a bit frail and said afterward that he had lost about five pounds enduring the tragedy of losing his mother in a recent plane crash. More than understandable. He said that he hoped to be at 200 by the start of the season and he's going to need that to be able to finish better near the basket.
Jake's outside shot looks decent, but still too inconsistent. If he can ever become a real threat out on the floor, he could be an all-conference player with his ability to get to the basket. He seems to be finishing a little stronger, with a couple of dunks, but he's not going to get that clear a path in the Big Ten.
I'm just a big Jake Kelly fan. If you read or heard his comments from my interview last night, he just really is a great kid that gets it. He's going to frustrate Todd Lickliter at times because he's aggressive which leads to being out of control sometimes. But he is a team player, a potential all-Big Ten one at that.
Matt Gatens: Like Jake, I got my first look at Gatens this summer. Matt is just a pleasure to watch. He really does all of the little things that help a team win and also has the talent to take over.
The two areas where Matt needs improvement (and this is picking nits) are shooting it better from the outside and being a little more selfish. He sometimes passes up what would be higher percentage shots for himself to a teammate with a less likely shot to make it.
I've been asked a few times this summer if I think Gatens will start this season. I've gone back and forth on it, but I really think he needs to be out there. He just does too many things well than can help a team win.
Jermain Davis: This was my second chance to see Jermain play. Both times, albeit for only a half on each occasion, he seems to get lost on the floor, meaning you don't notice him.
But maybe this is OK because my impression to this point is that he's a role player that can provide some defense off of the bench. He says he has a pretty good offensive game, but I really haven't seen much in that regard yet.
Davis looks capable of guarding both guard spots and possibly the three in a pinch.
Aaron Fuller: It was my third chance to see Aaron and I again came away impressed. I watched him drain three consecutive threes and a couple of mid-range Js. If he can do that, he'll be very tough to defend.
Anthony Tucker: He really played poorly in the half that I saw. He didn't shoot well and I saw him turn it over about four times in an eight-minute stretch. He did come back and shoot it well in the second half, according to the stats and finished with seven assists.
I still worry a bit about Tucker's energy level and his ability to play point in college.
John Lickliter: He likes to spot up for threes off of the break. I saw him hit 2 of 5 in the half I watched. He did commit some turnovers and get beat defensively.
John is probably going to be a key practice player who understands the system and eventually will follow his dad into coaching. He might be able to give some spot minutes by the time he's an upperclassman, but he's not physically ready to play in the Big Ten.
Tip-Ins: I saw Ali Farokhmanesh play a half. That's all I have to say about that…I was talking with Bobby Hansen when Fuller came up to us. They stood together and Aaron was at least an inch shorter. Bobby said he's 6-6 and change. I'm going to go with 6-5 for Fuller now having compared him with Hansen and Duez Henderson…Marcus Wilson was again in attendance…I also saw Dion Prewster play for the first time. The New Zealander was ruled ineligible at Iowa City High last year and his heading to JUCO. There was some talk earlier this summer that he was walking on at Iowa. He looked pretty explosive from what I watched. His game seemed to be closer to the basket, though, and I'm not sure he has the height to play there in Division I.