IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa’s basketball team is far from being a finished product. Coach Fran McCaffery would be the first one to tell you that.
“I think our team is going to continue to be a work in progress,” said
McCaffery, whose Hawkeyes host Texas A. and M.-Corpus Christi at noon Saturday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “There’s just no other way to look at it. We’ve got pieces that we were counting on that have been pretty good. We’ve got pieces we were counting on that maybe haven’t been as good as we’d hoped, but we still have confidence in them. And we’ve had some young guys who have been up and down.”
One thing there is no shortage of is bodies. McCaffery is playing an 11-man rotation.
“I don’t see any change there,” McCaffery said.
Seven of the 11 are freshmen or sophomores.
“The uncomfortability comes with the fact that there are a few players who would like to play more, and sometimes you just can’t do it,” McCaffery said. “(Patrick) Ingram deserves a few more minutes. (Gabe) Olaseni can’t settle down. The only way I can settle him down is to give him a few more minutes. That’s a difficult situation, because if he’s not playing well you don’t want to give him more minutes.”
Devyn Marble is the only Iowa player averaging at least 30 minutes a game. He’s at 32.7, up from 29.4 last season. Aaron White is next at 29.6 minutes a contest, up from 23.8
last season. Seven more players are averaging between 24.9 and 13.7 minutes. Ingram (4.8 minutes) and Olaseni (6.1 minutes) round out the rotation.
“Practices are very intense,” White said. “We have a lot of guys on this team who can play. There are some good battles going on and that’s what makes a team good, when people are fighting for minutes. It makes the whole team better.”
McCaffery said his rotation will become more settled deeper into the season.
“That’s something that will just manifest itself over time,” McCaffery said.
Two freshmen starters, center Adam Woodbury and point guard Mike Gesell, highlight the Hawkeyes’ work in progress theme.
“Every season is a work in progress,” White said. “Last year we didn’t have a freshman point guard or center, and it was a work in progress. Our guys are learning. We’re getting better.”
WHO: Texas A. and M.-Corpus Christi (1-4) at Iowa (5-2)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City.
TIPOFF: 12 p.m.
TICKETS: $14 adults, $5 youth (18-under) and UI students.
TELEVISION: On-line only (BTN.com).
RADIO: WHO-AM (1040) and Hawkeye Radio Network.
STAT LEADERS: For Texas A. and M.-Corpus Christi – Will Nelson 15.6 ppg; Nelson 6.8 rpg; Johnathan Jordan 4.8 apg; for Iowa – Devyn Marble 14.4 ppg; Aaron White 7.0 rpg; Marble 3.6 apg.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS: Will Nelson, the leading scorer and rebounder, is at his fifth different school in the last five years.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Aaron White recorded his fifth career double-double, and third in his last nine games, with 21 points and 10 rebounds at Virginia Tech Tuesday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Iowa freshman center Adam Woodbury will be facing 6-11 Islanders center Nate Maxey, who has a 7-10 wingspan and is third nationally in blocked shots at 4.5 a game. Maxey had a school-record nine blocks against Houston Nov. 25.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball