IOWA CITY, Ia.– On his Twitter account, Mike Gesell describes himself as “Point Guard for the University of Iowa.”
That is the position Gesell was recruited to play at Iowa. But that changed down the stretch last season, when coach Fran McCaffery moved him to second guard and put Devyn Marble at the point. Things remained the same at the start of this season.
But McCaffery made another change in the days leading up to Thursday’s 109-63 victory against Maryland Eastern Shore at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. McCaffery called Marble into his office and told him he was flipping positions with Gesell.
“He just wants me to be more aggressive off the ball,” said Marble, one of seven Hawkeyes to score in double figures Thursday. “And utilize the fact that I can score in a variety of ways. At the same time, I can find my teammates and still be able to be that playmaker I always was.”
Marble finished with 10 points, five assists, four steals and no turnovers. Gesell, a sophomore who was in a confidence funk to start the season, had a hand in 12 of Iowa’s first 19 points with a pair of 3-pointers, a layup and two assists.
“Boy, he was really good at the start of the game,” McCaffery said after his team improved to 3-0.
Gesell, who scored one point and had one assist and two turnovers Sunday against Nebraska-Omaha, finished with eight points, seven assists and just one turnover Thursday.
“I just came to practice and (McCaffery) told me I was at the one (point guard),” Gesell said. “I was prepared to play either position. I know all season I’ll be playing both positions with how deep we are as a team.”
Asked if he would continue with Gesell at the point and Marble off the ball, McCaffery said, “Yeah, I think so.”
Both players expect to see time at both spots.
“It depends, game to game,” Marble said. “It depends on matchups, stuff like that.”
Gesell said he and Marble are “interchangeable in that we can play (either position). I think coach wanted Dev to get out and run and have me kick it up the floor.”
Gesell said complacency played a role in his struggles.
“We had so many guys stepping up, I didn’t need to be aggressive,” Gesell said. “But when I’m being aggressive, it opens up so much more for Devyn and (Aaron) White and our inside guys.”
White led the Hawkeyes with 22 points in just 17 minutes. Jarrod Uthoff recorded his first double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Melsahn Basabe added 12 points, Zach McCabe 11 and Marble, Peter Jok and Gabe Olaseni 10 apiece.
White made 9-of-10 shots. That included several mid-range jumpers he’s worked on adding to his game.
“It’s nice to finally see them going in,” White said.
The junior forward also had four dunks. One of them, in the first half, didn’t sit well with McCaffery. Marble and White were headed to the basket uncontested on a fast break. Marble put the ball off the glass and White dunked it.
“I knew not to do it,” Marble said. “But Wheezy (White) was nagging me. He said, ‘Throw it off the backboard.’ I won’t listen to him again.”
White joked he just wanted to get Marble an assist.
“Coach mentioned at halftime, “Let’s not try and embarrass our opponent with a play that isn’t needed,’ ” White said. “We weren’t trying to embarrass them. We were just trying to have a little fun.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball