Iowa finally caught fire in the tournament and caught the love of the entire nation. Well, at least the women’s team did. The men’s team parlayed great offense and crappy defense into a quick exit in the NCAA tourney. Stop me if you’ve heard that before.
Iowa is all out of Murrays as Kris Murray got drafted. Ahron Ulis transferred to Nebraska but found himself caught in the Great Iowa Gambling Probe. Connor McCaffery finally ran out of eligibility. Filip Rebraca headed to Euroball. Josh Ugundele transferred to Middle Tennessee.
PG Tony Perkins, 6’4’’ 4th Year: Filling the Murray void probably starts with Perkins, who emerged last season as an athletic attack dog guard who can defend at the top and dunk on your head. He has been much more interested in finding his shot and passing to others, so we will see if he is more of a two or a one this season. He also has never been a prolific or great three point artist, but he might be able to improve that this year. I put Perkins here at point though I’ve seen smatterings about Josh Dix starting and moving everyone over.
SG Payton Sandfort, 6’7’’ 3rd Year: Sandfort also figures to get in the scoring column. He and Perkins are the two top returning scorers. Sandfort is billed as a sharpshooter, though while he took a lot of threes last season, Iowa would like to see better than the 34% he made. Otherwise he’s a strong player who rebounds and takes care of the ball. There’s a good chance he plays the three or four, but with Iowa’s depth being young and uncertain, I’ll spot him here.
SF Pat McCaffery, 6’9’’ 5th Year: Another long shooter for the Hawkeyes, McCaffery dropped 20 in four of their first eleven games last year. Then, he took a leave of absence from the team due to an anxiety disorder, and while he did return, he struggled to make as big of an impact. Iowa will be counting on him, because he’s a fifth year senior, the coach’s kid, and a strong shooter who is difficult to guard.
PF Ben Krikke, 6’9’’ 5th Year” Crikey! That ain’t a knife, this is a knife! Listen, I can’t say for certain that Krikke is an Australian crocodile hunter, and in fact his bio says he’s from Canada, but I’m yelling CRIKEY every time he touches the ball. Every. Single. Time. Anyways, Krikke comes over from Valparaiso where he excelled at scoring close to the basket. Whether he plays the four or five is still uncertain.
C Even Brauns, 6’9’’ 4th Year: Another transfer, this time from Belmont, Brauns is a pure center who did everything close to the basket, showing some scoring, rebounding, and rim protection. Tough to say if he will be effective in the B1G, but Iowa doesn’t have a ton of options for big guys so “even” this guy will get some run. (Now that’s some wordplay).
CG Dasonte Bowen, 6’2’’ 2nd Year: Now we get to the bench portion for Iowa, which has a lot of uncertainty. Bowen got a few minutes a game last year as a freshman, but was up and down and saw his minutes disappear as the season wore on. Still, Iowa needs some point guard options and he is one.
CG Josh Dix, 6’5’’ 2nd Year: The name I’ve seen the most as a potential starter outside who I listed as, uh, the starters, Dix got a bit more consistent minutes compared to Bowen. While neither was prolific, Dix did show a bit more three point shooting at 40%, so putting him on the floor with Sandfort and McCaffery makes for a tough cover.
C Riley Mulvey, 6’11’’ 3rd Year: A returning big man, Mulvey only got double digit minutes once last season and mostly got the ol’ DNP each game, so it’s tough to say whether he will contribute this year.
CG Pryce Sandfort, 6’7’’ Freshman: Lots of freshmen for the Hawkeyes this year, and the most hyped is the littler Sandfort, who was a four star prospect on the ol’ composite. Originally a point guard, Sandfort has the same sharpshooting reputation of his brother but can also play off the bounce. If Fran wants to put four shooters around Tony Perkins, it’s likely he is one of them.
PG Brock Harding, 6’0’’ Freshman: The most point guard-like of the group, Harding was ranked #150 on the composite. Hard to say he will play a lot this year with Iowa carrying so many guards, but if Fran needs a pure point guard who just wants to pass to guys, he might be the one.
PF Owen Freeman, 6’10’’ Freshman: Freeman is another three star prospect, one who apparently excels at running the court and making outside shots. None of the big guys ahead of him have shown a lot of stretch to their game, so if Fran wants a big man who can shoot he might get some minutes.
PF Ladji Dembele 6’8’’ Freshman: The last freshman of the group, Dembele also checks in as a three star. Fran says he is an amazing rebounder, and with almost all of Iowa’s big men being new guys, it wouldn’t be crazy to see him playing Junk Yard Dog underneath the basket this season.
A Conversation With Our Writers
MaximumSam: All right, how will the Frans do this year?
He Was a High School QB: Fran is the 180 degree opposite of Ferentz. If Iowa ever finds a guy named Franentz, they should hire him.
BoilerUp89: Well... my first thought about Iowa basketball and one I know to be correct before doing any research about this year’s players is that they will be a bad defensive team.
MaximumSam: Like Iowa football, Iowa basketball is so predictable to make previewing them redundant. They will be a tough cover, an efficient offense, and a defense which almost kills any chance to reach their goals. Looking over the roster doesn’t make me think there is going to be a defensive resurgence, and they will need a couple of their new names to hit to be as good as last season.