IOWA CITY, Iowa – I got a chance to attend Saturday's open practice for the Iowa men's basketball team at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Approximately 500 fans took in the event, which featured door prizes and autographs with coaches and players following an extended scrimmage.
The Hawkeyes played two 14-minute halves and another eight-minute half. Coach Todd Lickliter let assistants LaVall Jordan and Joel Cornette coach the teams as he sat at the scorer's table and observed.
They mixed and matched players throughout the scrimmage. No two teams were exactly the same through any of the three halves.
I felt that the offense looked better than the defense and asked Coach Lickliter about it after the scrimmage. He seemed to agree and made he said something about it again when I ran into him leaving the arena.
Here are some other notes and observations from the day:
-Anthony Tucker was stroking it. He connected on five of six three-point attempts with the lone miss coming on a desperation heave at the end of a half. One of his bombs came from about 27-feet. He also delivered a few nice drives to the basket, including a circus reverse. Lickliter was happy about his freshman's shooting but mentioned he needs to advance his ball handling as the backup point guard. There also were times when the coaches yelled at him for passing up shots.
-It was nice to see Jarryd Cole getting up and down the floor. He wore a brace on his surgically repaired left knee and didn't seem too restrained by it. The one thing that I noticed is that although he's retained his relentless pursuit of the basketball, he some of the explosiveness and quick hops he displayed before the injury were missing on Saturday. It might take some time for that to return.
-All of the new guys hit at least one three-pointer with the exception of John Lickliter and Andrew Brommer. Devan Bawinkle seemed to be pressing and rushing his shot, maybe as the result of playing in front of a crowd. He missed five of six treys. David Palmer knocked down both of his triples.
-Jermain Davis delivered the dunk of the day when he slammed one home on breakaway chance. Come to think of it, that might have been the lone throw-down of the afternoon.
-Matt Gatens showed his all-around game. He's not a guy that sticks out a lot, but he delivers in the flow of the game. He did most of his offensive damage taking it to the hoop on Saturday.
-Brommer converted a nice baseline drive, showing the ability to put the ball on the deck. He needs to be a little stronger with posting up, but the guards also need to look for him when he gets good position, which he did on several occasions.
-There was really little evidence that they're close to a starting lineup. As I said above, they mixed and matched teams throughout the day.
Below are the teams for each of the halves along with the scores (starters in bold):
FIRST HALF (18 minutes)
Black (17) - Palmer, J. Lickliter, Cole, Brommer, Tucker, Davis, Kelly.
Gold (11) - Angle Tate, Bawinkle, Gatens, Peterson, Fuller.
SECOND HALF (18 minutes)
Black (12) - Angle, J. Lickliter, Cole, Palmer, Kelly, Gatens, Peterson.
Gold (26) - Fuller Tate, Bawinkle, Brommer, Tucker, Davis.
THIRD HALF (8 minutes)
Black (15) - J. Lickliter, Bawinkle, Davis, Palmer, Tate, Kelly.
Gold (10) - Angle, Brommer Gatens, Fuller, Tucker, Peterson, Cole.