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Clemmons: Trey Dickerson doesn’t deserve any pressure

[ 0 ] July 17, 2014 |

NORTH LIBERTY — Since signing a letter of intent with the Iowa basketball team in April, former junior college point guard Trey Dickerson has seen his popularity rise steadily with Hawkeye fans.

Hawkeye point guard Anthony Clemmons has seen it, too.

Clemmons has seen the expectations soar for Dickerson, especially on social media, where some fans are convinced that Dickerson is destined for stardom as Iowa moves on without all-Big Ten guard Devyn Marble, who used up his eligibility last season.

Clemmons addressed the hype surrounding his future teammate and fellow point guard after leading his team to a victory in the first round of the Prime Time League playoffs Thursday at the North Liberty Community Center.

“How can you have such high expectations for somebody who hasn’t even played in a game yet?” Clemmons asked reporters. “It’s not like Trey is going to come out here and replace what Devyn did.

“I love Trey’s game, no disrespect towards him. That’s my man. But I feel like the expectations are a little bit too high for him and that puts a lot of pressure on him.”

Clemmons knows how it feels to succumb to pressure and expectations. His playing time was reduced drastically as a sophomore this past season after starting 13 games as a freshman.

Clemmons blamed his slump last season on himself, saying he became too comfortable after having success as a freshman. He said he lost his competitive edge and didn’t work as hard during the off-season.

That allowed fellow junior-to-be Mike Gesell to solidify himself as the starting point guard last season, which saw Iowa make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. Gesell is expected to assume the same role next season, although he also has played shooting guard for the Hawkeyes.

Throw Dickerson — whose team had a bye in the first round of the playoffs Thursday — in the mix at point guard with Gesell and Clemmons, and the competition for playing time should be fierce.

But Clemmons is in no mood to share.

“No disrespect for anybody, but I don’t want to share my minutes,” said Clemmons, a 6-foot-1 native of Lansing, Mich. “That’s just me. I don’t want to share anything. I’ve never been that type of player.

“It’s not being stingy and it’s not being greedy or anything. I want the best for my team and I feel I can lead this team to where we need be.”

The 6-1 Dickerson played his freshman season at Williston State College in North Dakota, where he averaged nearly 20 points per game. He became a key recruit for Iowa coach Fran McCaffery after high school point guard Tyler Ulis signed with Kentucky rather than Iowa in November and with Marble, who played both guard positions, no longer on the team.

“Everybody is saying since Devyn left that the expectations are so much higher for Trey because he’s that newcomer,” Clemmons said. “He’s that guy that can take people off the dribble. He has a lot of high expectations, but I feel it’s not fair to that player to put that much expectations on him. That’s how I feel about the whole situation.

“This is just a whole different league. It’s another ballgame when you come to the Big Ten. You can’t do a lot of stuff that you did in high school or in (junior college).”

Gesell described the competition at point guard as being fun. He also believes that all three point guards will benefit from the daily competition.

“Anytime in practice when you get to battle every day, the main goal is just to get better every day,” said Gesell, who started all 33 games at point guard last season. “And when you have guys that are good players to go against, you’re getting better. Each of us brings something a little different to the table. So I think we’re going to really complement each other.”

Ranked as one of the top 100 players in the 2012 high school class, Gesell came to Iowa with plenty of hype and expectations. He started 30 games as a freshman and scored in double figures 14 times.

“That’s just our fan base,” said Gesell, a native of South Sioux City, Neb. “They love the program. There is always going to be hype around the program and that’s awesome to see.

“Trey is going to come in and work hard and we’ll see what he has to offer.”

Clemmons, meanwhile, in his quest to earn back playing time, is now eating healthier, with fried foods no longer a regular part of his diet. He also spent part of the summer in his hometown of Lansing, Mich., where he trained with several past and current Michigan State players, including Draymond Green, Kalin Lucas and Denzel Valentine.

“I’m still a Michigan guy, born and raised,” Clemmons said. “I want to keep that legacy with me. My guys back home, they’re on a mission, too. And it makes it so much easier when the guys are on the same mission.”

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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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