The first thing you notice about Iowa freshman center Adam Woodbury, of course, is his unusual size.
At 7-foot-1, Woodbury casts an imposing figure on and off the court.
His height was a key part of what made Woodbury a force at Sioux City East High School and will undoubtedly serve him well in college.
But there is more to Woodbury’s game than just being tall as evidenced by his career-high 13-point performance during Saturday’s 88-59 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Woodbury, who shoots left-handed, scored with both hands, including making a jump hook from the right baseline using his right hand.
And he made it look easy.
“I did it in high school as well,” Woodbury said of shooting with both hands. “It’s just a lot of time in the gym working on both hands.
“But a lot of people don’t know that I’m right handed at everything but shooting a basketball. So it’s coming easier to me than maybe some other people. That’s been a key to my game. It keeps everybody honest.”
South Dakota (4-4) will be the next team to face Woodbury’s two-handed attack Tuesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa will bring a 6-2 record into the game and has won 10 of its last 11 home games dating back to Feb. 1 of last season.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery knew all about Woodbury’s unique talent after pounding the recruiting trail to land him. Woodbury had a long list of Division I offers before ultimately picking Iowa over North Carolina.
However, before he decided to concentrate on basketball in high school, Woodbury did a pretty good impersonation of former star pitcher Randy Johnson, who stands about 6-10, although, unlike Johnson, Woodbury threw with his right hand.
“He’s always been an ambidextrous person,” McCaffery said of Woodbury. “He’s a right-handed baseball player. Very seldom do you use see a right-handed baseball player who is a left-handed basketball player.
“I’m not surprised when he’s making lay-ups or jump hooks with both hands.”
Woodbury said he heard lots of Randy Johnson references as he grew up playing baseball, especially when he let his hair grow long.
“They wanted me to grow the mullet out,” Woodbury said.
Woodbury said he was throwing in the mid-80s when he quit playing baseball after his freshman year of high school to focus solely on basketball.
He is now among three freshmen who started for Iowa against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The others were guards Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons.
It marked the first time that three freshmen have started for Iowa since Matt Gatens, Aaron Fuller and Anthony Tucker did it against Boston College in 2008 under former coach Todd Lickliter.
All three of the current freshmen have struggled with foul problems at times this season, but that wasn’t the case Saturday.
“That was a big key for me to get some more time in there and just get more comfortable,” said Woodbury, who has scored in double figures three times this season. “I thought the game came a lot easier to me staying out of foul trouble and it went more smoothly.”
Following Tuesday’s game against South Dakota, Iowa will face Iowa State on Friday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena before having a week off until the Dec. 15 game against Northern Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
The Northern Iowa game is part of the inaugural Big 4 Classic, with Drake and Iowa State playing in the other game at Wells Fargo Arena.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball