By Brendan Stiles
With the 2014 Prime Time League officially a thing of the past, I’ve once again compiled statistics of each of Iowa’s scholarship players whom participated in the PTL this summer and will present those, along with a brief paragraph of observations I have about each player and how I feel they’ll fit into the Hawkeyes’ equation for the 2014-15 season.
Before going any further here, let me conduct my annual hammering home of the following: The Prime Time League is not a be-all, end-all, nor should any of this be viewed that way. I merely do this to give all of you an accurate portrayal of what I saw this summer and what I believe to be a realistic synopsis of the Iowa Hawkeyes going forward given what I’ve seen and what I’ve also heard throughout the summer.
One player I need to get out of the way here is the one who didn’t play at all this summer due to being injured and that’s incoming freshman guard Brady Ellingson. From what I’ve been told, the program is optimistic that Ellingson — who is listed at 6-4, 190 pounds — should be fully recovered by the time they start practice this fall. Assuming this is the case, don’t expect him to redshirt. Even if Iowa doesn’t end up going 10 or 11 players deep into its rotation like it did last season and his minutes are extremely limited, Iowa doesn’t have any intention of redshirting Ellingson. This could change between now and when November rolls around, but I highly doubt it does, especially if Iowa plays teams that frequently try to zone against it because the Hawkeyes are going to want shooters at their disposal.
Below are the stats for the other 10 Iowa players on scholarship to play in the PTL this summer, along with my observations on each of them:
Aaron White, Sr., 6-9, Forward
2014 PTL stats: 6 games, 22.0 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 3.7 APG, 49-of-117 FG (42 percent); 43-of-85 2P; 6-of-32 3P, 28-of-39 (72 percent)
Observations: Back in the spring, Fran McCaffery told White that this was now his team and for good reason. With Devyn Marble no longer around, expect White to be this team’s leading scorer in 2014-15 in addition to being its top rebounder yet again. In terms of how he fits, Iowa has established he will move back to the 4-spot this season after starting at the 3 all of last season. This is despite being named a good enough wing player to be invited to Kevin Durant’s camp last month in Washington, D.C. Honestly, this is a move I thought would’ve been done a year ago, but now it appears it will happen and I do think it’s to Iowa’s benefit.
Adam Woodbury, Jr., 7-1, Center
2014 PTL stats: 6 games, 23.7 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 3.3 APG, 60-of-100 FG (60 percent); 59-of-97 2P; 1-of-3 3P, 21-of-31 FT (68 percent)
Observations: From the Iowa perspective, Woodbury was one of the two best players in the PTL this summer. He was a walking double-double every time he stepped on the floor. While this is going to be “White’s team” in 2014-15, Woodbury is without a doubt Iowa’s most important puzzle piece. How much Woodbury develops and is able to build off his 16-point, 8-rebound game against Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament might legitimately be the difference between Iowa contending for a Big Ten title and being a bubble team sweating it out on Selection Sunday. My belief is this — if Woodbury can average around 12 points and 7 rebounds per game for Iowa in 2014-15 (and this would be a major spike in his numbers from last year), he’s in the discussion of top Big Ten centers alongside Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. Between that Tennessee game and what Woodbury did this summer, I believe a more concerted effort is going to be made to get the ball inside to him. That Tennessee game also validated something I’ve said about Woodbury for two years and counting now — the longer he’s able to stay on the floor for the Hawkeyes, the more productive he becomes and that’s where the 12-and-7 comes into play.
Jarrod Uthoff, Jr., 6-9, Forward
2014 PTL stats: 6 games, 25.0 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 61-of-124 FG (49 percent); 52-of-96 2P; 9-of-28 3P, 19-of-26 FT (73 percent)
Observations: Uthoff was named co-MVP of the PTL this summer alongside UNI’s Matt Bohannon and deservedly so. He averaged more points than any other Iowa player this summer and like Woodbury, was consistent every single night he took the floor. Last year, I thought for sure he would start from the get-go and was surprised to see him not start a single game. This time around, there’s no debate. Not only is Uthoff going to start for Iowa this season, but the reason why White’s moving back to the 4-spot is to make room for Uthoff out on the wing. The 3-spot is where Iowa wants to play Uthoff and Uthoff even said this summer it’s the position he’s most comfortable playing. Now this isn’t to say he won’t see some minutes at the 4 or even at the 2-guard (which he did once last season when Iowa played Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament). But he sees himself as a 3, the coaching staff sees him as a 3 and yeah, he’s going to start at the 3.
Mike Gesell, Jr., 6-1, Guard
2014 PTL stats: 5 games, 21.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.6 APG, 44-of-92 FG (48 percent); 30-of-53 2P; 14-of-39 3P, 5-of-8 FT (63 percent)
Observations: When the season begins, expect Gesell to remain Iowa’s starting point guard. In fact, he could very easily start every game at point guard in 2014-15. However, Gesell could very well be looking at seeing more minutes playing the 2-guard this season and his showing in the PTL this summer sort of illustrates that. Last summer, he averaged 11 assists per game in the PTL and looked every bit like someone who should start at the point (which he ended up doing). Gesell made more of a concerted effort this summer on being aggressive offensively — which he showed glimpses of last season — and I think this is something he does more of now, especially now that Marble is no longer around. He’ll slide over to the 2 any time he’s playing alongside either Clemmons or Dickerson.
Josh Oglesby, Sr., 6-5, Guard
2014 PTL stats: 5 games, 16.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.4 APG, 28-of-70 FG (40 percent); 12-of-19 2P; 16-of-51 3P, 10-of-10 FT (100 percent)
Observations: The reason why Gesell will still be starting at point guard in 2014-15 is because Oglesby has pretty much earned the chance to start at the 2-spot. And even though neither Jok nor Dickerson has done much yet to truly stand out, Oglesby isn’t getting this by default. Among Iowa players, he was the only guy to make every single one of his free throws this summer. Oglesby also has starting experience to his name and some of Iowa’s best production with him on the floor last season came when he played alongside Gesell in the backcourt. I don’t know if Oglesby ends up starting the entire season, but it wouldn’t shock me if he did.
Gabe Olaseni, Sr., 6-10, Forward/Center
2014 PTL stats: 6 games, 23.8 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.7 APG, 60-of-110 FG (55 percent); 59-of-109 2P; 1-of-1 3P, 22-of-32 FT (69 percent)
Observations: Olaseni was the top pick in the PTL draft this summer and after bulking up into the 235-240 pound range, looked every bit the part. His scoring, shooting and free-throw percentage are all comparable to what Woodbury did. But with that being said, Olaseni is going to be the first guy off the bench for McCaffery this season. The question will be how much he plays at center versus how much he plays at the 4. Olaseni will be the first guy off the bench because of his versatility here. If Woodbury struggles early, he can go in at the 5. The other option is having him play at the 4 alongside Woodbury and then either keep Uthoff at the 3 if White needs a breather or move White over to the 3 if Uthoff needs a breather. There’s going to be a lot of options for McCaffery in terms of how the rest of the rotation works, but this is a good problem to have if you’re Iowa. I do expect this to be Olaseni’s best season yet and he’ll probably end up playing the equivalent of starter’s minutes when you factor in time at both the 4 and 5 spots.
Trey Dickerson, So., 6-1, Guard
2014 PTL stats: 4 games, 15.5 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 6.8 APG, 23-of-60 FG (38 percent); 17-of-34 2P; 6-of-26 3P, 10-of-12 (83 percent)
Observations: There’s a lot to like about Dickerson, with the biggest thing being his quickness. White described Dickerson as “his own fast break” and that quickness was clearly on display this summer. I also think Dickerson’s going to be the one player on this team that irritates his opponents more so than any other. Not in the physical altercation type of way, but more along the lines of playing head games. There were times where he looked like he was frustrating the heck out of whoever was guarding him. However, I would also caution Iowa fans to be patient and I’m going to be curious to see how long of a leash he gets because he’s going to make mistakes. He’s going to make the kind of mistakes that other players under McCaffery have immediately gotten benched for. His change of pace can be a difference-maker for this team, but he can’t be careless with the ball either.
Dominique Uhl, Fr., 6-9, Forward
2014 PTL stats: 5 games, 12.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 27-of-60 FG (45 percent); 21-of-37 2P; 6-of-23 3P, 4-of-6 FT (67 percent)
Observations: I liked what I saw from Uhl this summer. Even though he’ll mostly be playing at the 3 whenever he does see the floor, I do think Uhl will get some minutes playing the 4 this season and here’s why. When Iowa played Olaseni at the 5, its most production — by far — came with him playing alongside Zach McCabe in the frontcourt. In fact, the lineups where either Uthoff or White played at the 4 alongside Olaseni both proved to be quite unproductive. This is why I thought a guy like Kyle Meyer could be a difference maker this season had he not transferred. But with Meyer gone, someone has to fill this role and I think it’ll be Uhl. I’ll guarantee the majority of his minutes at the 4 will come with Olaseni at the center. I’m not expecting much from him as a true freshman, but Uhl’s going to be a nice piece for McCaffery down the road.
Anthony Clemmons, Jr., 6-1, Guard
2014 PTL stats: 5 games, 19.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.6 APG, 39-of-77 FG (51 percent); 26-of-47 2P; 13-of-30 3P, 7-of-12 (58 percent)
Observations: Clemmons looked like someone with a major chip on his shoulders this summer. Not because of anything McCaffery said or done, but because of Clemmons’ own accord. He acknowledged that he underachieved as a sophomore and looks motivated to have a much different junior season. I think you’re going to see a lot of him alongside Gesell in the backcourt early in the season and what will be interesting to me is how much of that Iowa shows over the course of the season. If/when Jok returns from his suspension, I also think there’s a chemistry between he and Clemmons that was evident last year and could be used at times in 2014-15.
Peter Jok, So., 6-6, Guard
2014 PTL stats: 4 games, 21.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 1.3 APG, 30-of-58 FG (52 percent); 9-of-19 2P; 21-of-39 3P, 6-of-7 FT (86 percent)
Observations: I’m going to go off the premise that whenever Jok’s indefinite suspension is up that he manages to avoid any further trouble going forward. On the court, I see a player that could provide a scoring boost whenever Iowa needs it, but I also see someone who is still limited in what he can do. Prior to his indefinite suspension, Jok played in four PTL games and he struggled scoring in the first two of those before catching fire shooting the ball in the last two games he played. But right now, he’s purely a scorer. The rebounding and assist numbers weren’t there this summer. When he starts adding more strengths to his entire repertoire, that’s when Jok will start seeing more minutes. Otherwise, don’t expect much right away when his suspension’s up.
Iowa also had two walk-ons participate in the PTL this summer — junior forward Okey Ukah and incoming freshman forward Nicholas Baer, who is a graduate of Bettendorf High School and will be joining the Iowa program this fall. Below are their final statistics:
Okey Ukah, Jr., 6-6, Forward
2014 PTL stats: 4 games, 6.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG, o.o APG, 12-of-24 FG (50 percent); 12-of-24 2P; 0-of-0 3P, 2-of-4 FT (50 percent)
Nicholas Baer, Fr., 6-7, Forward
2014 PTL stats: 5 games, 9.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.2 APG, 22-of-47 FG (47 percent); 20-of-35 2P; 2-of-12 3P; 3-of-6 FT (50 percent)