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Gesell expected to play in Thursday’s tourney opener

[ 0 ] March 11, 2013 |

The Iowa men’s basketball team should be at full strength for Thursday’s game against Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Monday morning on the Big Ten teleconference that he expects freshman point guard Mike Gesell to play Thursday. The 6-foot-1 Gesell started the first 27 games this season, but missed the last four games because of an injury to his right foot.

“I think he’ll be able to play,” McCaffery said. “The question is going to be how does it feel? And how effective can he be?

“I think he’ll be pretty good.”

Gesell wore a boot on his right foot until recently to protect the injury. He has been shooting baskets as part of his recovery and was expected to start running on Monday and maybe even start practicing a little bit.

“Maybe we’ll wait until tomorrow, and obviously, it won’t be that long,” McCaffery said.

Gesell is the third leading scorer with a 9.0 per-game average for an Iowa team that finished the regular season with records of 20-11 overall and 9-9 in the Big Ten. He had scored in double figures in five of the previous eight games before he was sidelined by the injury.

Gesell also plays both guard positions giving McCaffery more flexibility with substituting his backcourt players. Junior Devyn Marble moved from being the starting shooting guard to the starting point guard after Gesell was injured.

Gesell started 13 games at shooting guard during the regular season when fellow freshman Anthony Clemmons was starting at point guard.

McCaffery said he’s not sure if he’ll start Gesell at point guard Thursday and move Marble back to shooting guard, or keep the 6-6 Marble at point.

“I kind of like Devyn with the ball and I like Mike with the ball,” McCaffery said. “Both can play the off-guard. I haven’t really decided yet. It might be a function of a matchup as much as anything else.”

ALL-BIG TEN ACCOLADES: Marble and sophomore forward Aaron White both were named third-team all-Big Ten on Monday.

Marble was named third-team all-Big Ten by the league’s coaches and honorable mention by the media. He is Iowa’s leading scorer with a 14.1 per-game average.

The 6-8 White was voted third-team all-Big Ten by the media and honorable mention by the coaches. White leads Iowa in rebounding with a 6.2 average and is second on the team in scoring at 13.6 points per game.

Senior Eric May was named the UI men’s basketball team’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient. May has served as team captain this season and is one of Iowa’s best defenders.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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