#54 Iowa Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Iowa Hawkeyes
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #54
Conference Rank: #8 Big Ten
Last season many thought Iowa would take a relatively big step back while Coach Fran McCaffery retooled his roster. But the Hawkeyes played very well. There were quite a few losses in February and March, but Iowa still finished with a 12-6 record in Big Ten play, won 22 games and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament, where they beat Temple before falling to Villanova. This year there are even more questions to be answered, but Coach McCaffery is very good at putting the pieces he has together.
2015-16 Record: 22-11, 12-6
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Fran McCaffery
Coach Record: 118-86 at Iowa, 369-263 overall
Who’s Out:
Four starters are gone and all four started every game last season. Jarrod Uthoff led the way with 18.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. Adam Woodberry was Uthoff’s frontcourt mate and added 7.6 points and a team high 8.3 rebounds. With Uthoff at 6-9 and Woodbury standing 7-1, the Hawkeyes will certainly miss their size and production. The other starters lost are Anthony Clemmons and Mike Gesell. Clemmons averaged 8.9 points per contest during his senior season and really stepped up his game during the 2015-2016 campaign. Gesell has been running the Iowa offense for the last four years and finished off his collegiate career averaging 8.1 points and 6.2 assists. Replacing his leadership could be the toughest hole for Coach McCaffery to fill. The only other departure is little used Andrew Fleming, a promising player who made just 11 appearances as a freshman.
Who’s In:
Unlike years past, Iowa will have to rely some on their group of incoming freshmen. Forward Tyler Cook highlights the class of seven freshmen and he could battle for a starting job. He is tough on the glass and is a decent interior scorer as well. Ryan Kreiner is a forward who looks more like an Iowa forward. He can stretch the defense with his shooting ability. Cordell Pemsl is more like Cook in the sense that he will attack the basket. Riley Till rounds out the group of incoming freshmen forwards. The backcourt adds Jordan Bohannon, Maishe Dailey and redshirt freshman Isaiah Moss. Bohannon, a very familiar name for basketball fans from the Midwest, is an option to run the point. Like his Bohannon predecessors, he can shoot the ball very well, but it remains to be seen if he will be effective with the ball in his hands as a freshman. Dailey and Moss will add some much needed depth to the backcourt.
Who to Watch:
Peter Jok could run the point too, but whether or not he has the ball in his hands, Jok is the clear leader of this team. The 6-6 guard averaged 16.1 points per game last season and knocked down 40.2 percent of his 199 attempts from beyond the arc. He is a superb shooter, but will use his size to attack the basket as well. Christian Williams is an option at point guard as well, but averaged just 5.1 minutes in 20 games as a freshman. It would be ideal to have another year to bring him along, but Williams will be put in a position to earn a starting role this season. Brady Ellingson, another sophomore, could play a big role if his shot starts falling. With the 6-6 Jok or the 6-5 Williams potentially running the point, this is a very big backcourt. And it gets even bigger since the focus will now shift to the frontcourt. Last year Jok was playing the small forward spot. This year he will probably spend most of his time as the shooting guard, allowing players like Nicholas Baer and Dale Jones to play some small forward. Both are good shooter and Baer came on very strong towards the end of last season. Jones has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but he is a very talented player when healthy.
Final Projection:
Only one player beside Jok started any games last year and that was Dom Uhl, who started one when Jok was out. Like just about all of the Iowa frontcourt, Uhl is an athletic forward who can get up and down the floor in a hurry. He can shoot too and does have a habit of hanging around on the perimeter. If Ahmad Wagner and Cook can become forces in the paint, then it will give Uhl the liberty to roam around a bit more, but Iowa will need him to be tougher on the glass and block some shots. It will not be easy for the Hawkeyes to reach their fourth straight NCAA Tournament with such a young and inexperienced team, but there is talent here and it is never wise to underestimate Coach McCaffery. However, this looks more like a bubble team that will end up on the outside looking in.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Christian Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 1.4 points per game
Peter Jok, Senior, Guard, 16.1 points per game
Nicholas Baer, Sophomore, Forward, 4.8 points per game
Tyler Cook, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Dom Uhl, Junior, Forward, 6.0 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.6 (63rd in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.3 (107, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.7 (135, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.1 (94, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (74, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.4 (47, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.7 (106, 8)
Rebound Margin: 0.8 (160, 9)
Assists Per Game: 15.8 (36, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.3 (17, 2)
Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#60 Tyler Cook