Last year, what started out as a promising freshman campaign, ended almost as soon as it began. The former Twin Cities Metro Player of the Year went from regularly putting on three point clinics to being barred from playing games due to academics.
Before his health issues and that run-in with the back alley of a bar, Anthony was averaging 13 points per game, shooting 43.8% from 3 point range, and collecting 3.5 boards per game all while putting in just over 25 minutes a ballgame. Losing Tucker meant the Hawkeyes lost roughly 250 points, 65 treys, and 60 boards on the season. And while, technically, non-conference statistics don't hold up when you apply them to the Big Ten season, it's obvious Iowa was hurting without Tucker on the court. When a team loses a starter, it's a blow; when that player is the team's leading scorer, it can be a knock out punch.
The time away not only allowed Tucker to work on his individual game, but he was able to put more time in the weight room, as well. Hawkeye fans will see a confident, more refined #1 on the court come later this year. If fans thought Anthony was lights out from downtown before, they haven't seen anything yet.
Additionally, Tucker has been working out the PG spot, and to some that might sound like a new thing for him. However, that couldn't be farther from the truth. Anthony is used to having the ball in his hands and being in control of the game. His last year on the AAU circuit he showcased his skills at the PG spot, and while playing ball for Minnetonka he pretty much ran the team.
Tucker undeniably has one of the most effortless, textbook jump shots in all of college basketball. Yet because of this, some like to peg him as just a spot-up shooter. And although he admittedly needs to work on his quickness on the defensive end, Tuck really has developed a terrific all-around game. He can get into the lane if needed and makes the smart pass more times than not.
Because of last year, Anthony has grown up on so many different levels. One might even go as far as to say it was a blessing in disguise. People make mistakes; the good ones not only learn from them, they get better because of them. I'm convinced Tucker will be better because of what he went through last season. He has the potential to be a first team All-Big Ten player by the end of his career and Hawkeye fans can expect this upcoming season to be a step in that direction.
Anthony Tucker is yet another reason Iowa Basketball will be better than you think.