NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa - The Prime Time League tipped off its 23rd season here on Monday night. Fans watched Hawkeyes, past, present and future, as well as current and former players from Northern Iowa, area high schools and other colleges.
As someone who has witnessed the PTL in various forms for the last 12 years, I learned a long time ago to temper enthusiasm and take the summer basketball league at face value - a glorified pick-up game.
I'm going to post some statistics from tonight in this piece, but they're for entertainment purposes only. I'll also post a few thoughts on the players I saw. Remember, it's a very small sample size.
I focused a lot of my attention on Archie. It wasn't that the other guys weren't important, but the junior college transfer from Indiana seemed to be the biggest unknown.
First, Archie appears to be between 6-7 and 6-8. He's long, which helps him block shocks and snare rebounds like someone a few inches taller.
From Monday's action, Archie prefers to go at the basket on offense. He handles it OK and shows some decent moves around the rim, but doesn‘t seem real skilled on that end of the floor.
Archie is on the thin side. He'll likely need to use quickness and you wonder if he'll be able to bang in the Big Ten.
Archie finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, but missed opportunities t improve his scoring with poor free throw shooting (1 of 8). When I asked him about it after the game, he said it has been an issue in the past, but was beginning to get better at the end of last season.
I was struggling to come up with a comparison for Archie in Hawkeye history, but then I hit on it, I think, on my drive home. He reminded me of a thinner, taller, Jarryd Cole.
I only got to see a half of Payne and May‘s game. As I did last season, I will add scouting reports like this throughout the PTL season and come up with a final report at the end.
Payne probably turned out to be most like I imagined in regards to the newcomers. The only thing that surprised me was his height, or lack thereof. He had about an inch on John Lickliter. Fortunately, he was everything else I expected. He ran the team and dished out some nice passes. I only saw a shot or two from him, so I'll hold off judgment on that.
May looked more like a safety than a forward. The Dubuque native must have hit the weight room hard in high school because he's thick. He did not look to be taller than 6-3, however.
May looked like he was trying too hard at times. He drove well to the rim, but struggled to finish in the time I watched. I didn't see him shoot from beyond the paint, but he did hit a pair of treys.
Some statistics from the night:
-Matt Gatens: The sophomore-to-be led all Hawkeye scorers in the first two games played, netting 27 points on 10 of 17 shooting (3 of 7 on threes) to go with seven assists and five rebounds. His team won over one with Archie and Cole, 110-80.
-Aaron Fuller scored only eight points, but managed to pull down 13 boards.
-Payne scored 12 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the floor to go with two assists and a rebound.
-May scored 20 on 7 of 13 shooting. He pulled down five rebound.
-Cole rolled up 19 points and six rebounds. He shot 7 of 11 from the floor and 4 of 6 from the line.