Iowa Men's Basketball Notebook

After a tumultuous offseason, the Iowa men's basketball team is coming back together for a European trip this month. Coach Todd Lickliter and his players met with the media on Tuesday to talk about the tour and more. Get caught up in this HN.com notebook.

Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter and his players met with the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss their upcoming trip to Italy and Greece. They also allowed the press into their practice.

The following are some key points made by Lickliter and his players accompanied by some a few practice notes:

-Lickliter started his press conference complimenting the team's new strength and conditioning coach, Rusty Burney. The coach brought up that aspect of the program throughout the media session.

-Iowa decided to take this trip in May for two main reasons: The teams in Europe that they'll face will still be complete and offer better competition. If they would have done it in August, they would have had to leave the newcomers behind. Most of those guys plan to be in Iowa in next month for the PTL. This way, the complete 2009-10 squad can start working together in open gyms right when the new guys arrive.

-The players have spent a lot of time this offseason working with their position coaches extensively on offense.

-When asked about the point guard setup, Lickliter first mentioned Anthony Tucker then John Lickliter, his son. He also said Devan Bawinkel could play minutes at that spot and that he wasn't afraid to use Matt Gatens there. He said that they would do it by committee. Jarryd Cole later would say that he expected Tucker to open the season as Iowa's starting point guard.

-Lickliter mentioned a few times that he spoke with women's coach, Lisa Bluder, who took her team on this trip a few years back.

-Tucker has not been officially cleared to make the trip, but he and Lickliter both expected the sophomore-to-be to be able to go. Lickliter said that he was really impressed with Tucker's academics this second semester. Tucker said the final grades had been posted, and he's back eligible.

-Lickliter was asked a few times about having only seven players. He said he would really love to have one more, but he wouldn't mind a team with eight players. He also said that if he were one of the seven players on this trip, he would be excited about the opportunity to play so many minutes.

-Andrew Brommer might be the player that benefits the most from this trip, Lickliter said. The sophomore-to-be will get a chance to play against some older athletes, and Lickliter hoped it would improve Brommer's toughness.

-Lickliter said that he is very comfortable with Tucker playing point guard. The coach said Tucker needs to get stronger, and that he had since January.

-When asked about naysayers, Lickliter said that sometimes things can look one way from the outside and be the other way in reality. He said that he believed that his team will compete well in the Big Ten.

-Someone asked Lickliter if it was hard for Cole when his two classmates, Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson, transferred after the season. The coach said Cole was very reassuring, meaning he still believed in the program.

-Lickliter will be looking to play more zone defense on this trip based on the seven-man roster.

-Lickliter said that there was a possibility that they could sign a player by tomorrow's deadline for the late period. It didn't sound like anything was imminent.

-When asked if the last two seasons has forced him to change his coaching at all, Lickliter said that he's always evaluating things, but he has not made drastic changes in any area.

-Not that it's any shock, but Iowa's first-team in practice was Tucker (PG), Bawinkel (SG), Gatens (SF), Aaron Fuller (PF), Cole (Center). First subs were John Lickliter for Bawinkel with Tucker sliding to the two, and Brommer in for Fuller.

-When they were running 5-on-5, assistants LaVall Jordan and Joel Cornette and graduate manager Garrett Lickliter, another of Todd's sons, jumped in with John Lickliter and Brommer on the second team.

-Tucker really looks like he's in great shape. He seemed a little quicker and definitely looks more athletic. He just missed on a lob dunk.

-Iowa worked on one defensive drill at the start of practice. The Hawkeyes then spent the next 45 minutes or so on offense.


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