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Iowa men's basketball: Zach McCabe's strength in character helps Hawkeyes move forward

[ 0 ] December 10, 2012 |

class=”size-medium wp-image-115665″ title=”Zach McCabe” src=”http://hawkcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/1210McCabe-200×300.jpg” alt=”Zach McCabe” width=”200″ height=”300″ /> Junior forward Zach McCabe has been taken out of Iowa’s starting lineup in favor of freshman guard Anthony Clemmons. Iowa is 3-0 since the move. (Iowa City Press-Citizen file photo)

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery called junior forward Zach McCabe into his office one late-November day for a meeting.

“I felt like I owed it to him,” McCaffery said Monday.

McCaffery told the junior forward from Sioux City that he was being replaced in the starting lineup by freshman Anthony Clemmons.

“I wanted to hear if he had any reservation about it,” McCaffery said. “Zach McCabe is all in. He comes off the bench, he starts, whatever I need him to do, he’s going to try and help our team win. That speaks to his character.”

Adding Clemmons to the starting lineup at point guard Dec. 1 against
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi affected more than McCabe and Clemmons. Mike Gesell went from point to second guard, moving Devyn Marble to small forward from second guard and Aaron White from small forward to the power forward slot.

McCabe, who start

ed the first seven games this season and 30 out of 35 last season, has come off the bench for the last three.

Iowa has followed by winning them all, including Friday’s 80-71 decision over Iowa State, to improve to 8-2 heading into Saturday’s meeting with Northern Iowa in the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena.

McCabe is not the only player with significant starting experience now coming off the bench. Junior forward Melsahn Basabe started all 31 games as a freshman and 21 out of 35 games in 2011-12. He has not started a game this season. Iowa starts three freshmen in Clemmons, Gesell and center Adam Woodbury.

“You look at it and say, ‘Three freshmen in the starting lineup, boy, that’s great,’” McCaffery said. “But it could not be great. Because if the upperclassmen don’t buy into it, it could be a complete disaster. We have great chemistry on this team. We have great respect for one another, and we pull for each other. It really makes it pleasurable for me to coach in that environment.”

Clemmons has played well as a starter, with 21 assists to just two turnovers the last three games. He also scored a career-high 14 points against the Cyclones. McCaffery didn’t have a meeting with Clemmons like he did with McCabe.

“I didn’t say anything to him. I just moved him into the starting lineup, and he just took it from there,” McCaffery said. “That’s a reflection of my confidence in him, and my expectation for him. I don’t want to have a lengthy discussion about do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that. Then it looks like I have reservations about it.”


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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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