NORTH LIBERTY, Ia. – Fortunately for his Iowa Hawkeye teammates, sophomore guard Anthony Clemmons said he isn’t one to brag much.
He has no intention of gloating about leading his Prime Time League team to a championship Sunday, even though he did it without the help of fellow Hawkeye Jarrod Uthoff.
“I won’t try to rub it in,” Clemmons said after scoring 32 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in his team’s 96-78 victory. “But if somebody brings it up, I get to hang (my head) high.”
In addition to winning the PTL title, the 6-foot-1 Clemmons also shared league MVP honors with the 6-8 Uthoff, who missed Sunday’s game while preparing to play for his select team this weekend as part of the Four Nations Cup in Tallin, Estonia.
“That’s unbelievable because last year I wasn’t even a nominee,” Clemmons said. “I came out pretty sluggish (last summer) and uncomfortable, really. For me to bounce back and have a great year, that’s unbelievable.”
Clemmons hardly was a solo act during Sunday’s game, which was played before a standing-room only crowd at the North Liberty Community Center.
Former West High star Dondre Alexander helped pick up the slack for Uthoff by scoring 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field. The 6-4 Alexander also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds while being matched against Iowa all-Big Ten guard Devyn Marble for much of the contest.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Alexander said of playing against Marble, who finished with 16 points but was just 1-of-7 from 3-point range. “It just shows what I can do against the top players in the country.”
Uthoff’s absence left his PTL team without one of its top scorers, rebounders and shot blockers. Alexander made a concerted effort to crash the boards on both ends and he looked to score more Sunday.
“Since Jarrod was gone, he’s obviously one of our leading rebounders, and so I wanted to go rebound a little bit more and get to the free-throw (line) a little bit more,” said Alexander, who will play basketball at State Fair Community College in Missouri next season. “He was, obviously, a huge scorer, too, so I felt like I needed to score a few extra points. It all worked out. We came together as a team.”
Regina standout Drew Cook also played a significant role for the winning team by scoring 14 points while being matched against Iowa shooting guard Josh Oglesby for most of the game. The 6-5 Cook, who will be a junior this fall, made 5-of-6 field-goal attempts, including all but one of his four shots from 3-point range.
Cook was joined on the winning team by former Regina standout Ross Westermeyer. Their coach in the PTL was Randy Larson, who also is Cook’s coach at Regina.
“I feel like the speed in the Prime Time League is incredible compared to high school,” Cook said. “I feel like I can be able to play at a higher pace now. That’s what I feel like I got out of this league.”
Cook and his cohorts controlled the momentum for most of Sunday’s game and led 51-36 at halftime. They also took advantage of the fact that Marble and fellow Iowa guard Josh Oglesby shot poorly from the perimeter. Oglesby only made 1-of-8 shots from 3-point range, making him and Marble a combined 2-of-15 from that range.
“Even I didn’t know if we could do it (without Uthoff),” Larson said afterwards.
As for Clemmons, he won a PTL title in just his second year in the summer league.
“Whenever you come out a winner, that always is fun,” said Clemmons, a native of Lansing, Mich. “That’s something I believe in is winning. That’s something I would do anything for. That’s really what I came here for, just to win.”
Clemmons now has about three weeks to prepare for Iowa’s six-game exhibition tour in England and France next month. He might have to play a more extensive role with fellow point guard Mike Gesell expected to miss the six games because of a broken bone in his left hand.
Gesell suffered the injury this past Thursday while playing against Clemmons’ team in the PTL semifinals. Gesell also missed Iowa’s final four regular-season games this season with a stress reaction in his right foot.
“With him having that foot injury, too, and having to miss games and now he has this hand injury, that’s a pretty sad moment,” Clemmons said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball