Iowa Basketball: Top 5 Things to Watch in 2012 Primetime League
The annual Primetime Basketball League held in North Liberty, Iowa is underway for the summer.
Iowa Basketball has grabbed the interest of the state and Hawkeyes fans nationwide over the last 12 months, which should mean this year's PTL will get a lot of attention.
There are some returning faces and some new faces that will be running the court in North Liberty this summer, which should make for some entertaining games.
Here are five things to watch for as the league gets underway.
1. How Will Jarrod Uthoff Play with and Against His New Iowa Teammates?
Jarrod Uthoff, the former Iowa Mr. Basketball and Cedar Rapids Jefferson standout is back in-state.
After a long and highly-publicized transfer from Wisconsin, Uthoff chose to enroll at the University of Iowa, sit out a year while paying his own way, and prepare to be a Hawkeye during the 2013-2014 season.
Uthoff chose the Hawkeyes despite not being able to speak with Coach McCaffery or receive a scholarship for the upcoming semester.
This revelation made many Iowa fans giddy with excitement. I am a little more skeptical. Uthoff didn't contribute to Wisconsin's basketball team last year, and while many who have seen him play say he is a big-time scorer, I haven't seen him play as of yet.
He was the first player selected in the PTL draft, so I am sure many eyes will be on the transfer this summer.
2. How Will Iowa's Big Men Deal with Former Hawkeye Jarryd Cole?
Iowa will have more size this season, thanks in large part to Adam Woodbury (more on him later), but they still seem awfully weak inside.
Jarryd Cole was never known as a premier scorer, but Cole will certainly bang down low. After playing a year overseas, Cole comes back to North Liberty with a new arsenal of moves and a year of professional basketball under his belt.
It will be interesting to see how Iowa's big men, such as Aaron White, Gabe Olaseni and Zach McCabe deal with Cole on the defensive end and on the boards.
It should be a nice test for the Iowa bigs.
3. Is Hyped Recruit Adam Woodbury Ready for Division 1 Basketball?
Iowa landed their most prized recruit in years last fall when they received a commitment from 6'11" center Adam Woodbury.
Woodbury was seen by many Iowans in March when his Sioux City East team was defeated by Iowa City West in the State Championship game. Woodbury was underwhelming, but his over-matched Sioux City teammates also could not get him a good entry pass to the post.
In other words, we didn't learn a lot.
We should learn a lot more about Woodbury this summer in the PTL as he bangs with experienced bigs who have spent some time on the college basketball court, and in a college basketball weight program.
4. How Good Is the "Other" Incoming Freshman, Mike Gesell?
Call me crazy, but I am as excited, if not more excited for Mike Gesell as I am for Adam Wodbury.
Gesell was an absolute stud last season as a senior in high school in the state of Nebraska. Gesell was a three-time all-state selection and was the Nebraska Gatorade player of the year last season.
Gesell could come in and immediately fill the void left by Bryce Cartwright. His high school numbers indicate that Gesell can score in bunches, but I will be more interested to see if he can defend, run the team, and create opportunities for others (like Devyn Marble and Josh Oglesby).
Do not be surprised if Gesell has a larger impact as a freshman than Adam Woodbury. Keep in mind, I said "as a freshman."
Gesell will have some good guards to test his skills against this summer.
5. Has There Been Much Improvement with the Returning Core of the Hawkeyes Team?
Aaron White. Devyn Marble. Melsahn Basabe. Zach McCabe. Josh Oglesby. Eric May.
All six of those guys played significant minutes for the Hawks last year, and are expected to do so again.
Has Aaron White improved his already impressive all-around game with some more range and weight-room work?
Has Devyn Marble developed a better outside shot?
Can Melsahn Basabe get back to being aggressive with a soft touch around the rim like he did as a freshman?
Can Zach McCabe continue to bang inside without drawing quick, unnecessary fouls?
Can Josh Oglesby create shots off the dribble?
Is Eric May back to being productive or he is still an enigma?
These are all questions that likely will not fully be answered until the season is underway, but the PTL could shed some light on all of these concerns and more.