The Prime Time League (PTL) is a staple of Iowa Basketball. The summer league which takes place at the North Liberty Rec Center tipped off last night, and continues through the summer.
The 2011 version of the Prime Time League may be the most closely watched in recent years due to the excitement and, in some cases, mystery surrounding the Iowa basketball program.
No offense to the other guys, but the primary focus on the league is on the Hawkeye players. Here are five things for Hawkeye fans to watch for.
Last week, Melsahn Basabe was cut from the U.S. under 19 national team. He will be playing in the Prime Time League on the Falbo Bro's/Monica's team alongside Matt Gatens and incoming freshman Aaron White.
I think I speak for all Iowa fans when I say that I wish Basabe had made the national team for his own sake, and for good publicity for Iowa, but it may not be the worst thing.
Basabe could take this one of two ways. He could come to the PTL and go through the motions, look for some easy points and play little defense (which is about the norm), or, he could have a chip on his shoulder and rededicate himself both basketball wise and also in the weight room.
I think the second scenario seems more likely and I expect a hungry Basabe to show up in North Liberty and build on his strong freshman season.
The Cedar Rapids product, Josh Oglesby, was supposed to be the prize of Iowa's 2011 recruiting class. So why was he drafted 25th overall behind plenty of players from UNI that many have never heard of?
I can only guess that Oglesby, still being 18 years old, was just not as physically mature as the other players. Many Hawkeye fans will watch Oglesby very closely this summer to see if he can compete with college and post-collegiant players.
Oglesby has Eric May and Andrew Brommer on his PTL team to mentor him through his first summer, which should help. If he looks overmatched all summer, some fans may begin to worry.
Some people, myself included, expected Eric May to thrive in Coach Fran McCaffery's system and establish himself as the Hawkeyes' leading scorer and primary creator. He looked the part for about two weeks, and then went into a season-long slump, even losing his starting job at times.
May still has the athletic ability and the shooting range to be scoring somewhere in the 10-15 points per game range. Perhaps the PTL is just what he needs to reestablish himself as an offensive force.
With his highest picked teammate being Andrew Brommer, he may just have to score 30 a game to get McCurry's/Mike Gatens Real Estate some wins.
Ever since the 26-year-old signed with the Hawkeyes, he has been the center of attention in Iowa City. Many people are curious to see how good the (this is where i would usually use the word "kid") guy can be.
Hubbard apparently was a JUCO All-American, with very little basketball experience. He is raw, more mature than most and supposedly extremely talented.
Hubbard was the No. 1 pick of the Coach's Corner/Two Rivers Bank & Trust team, and is paired with a bunch of UNI guys, Malcolm Moore who is going to UTEP and the lone other Hawkeye, Jordan Stoermer.
Obviously, coach Kevin Lehman has put a lot of stock into Hubbard. This appears to be his (summer) team. How good they do should have a direct correlation on how good Hubbard plays.
The three more interesting No. 2 picks in this years PTL draft (besides Coach Ray Swetalla taking his son, Dain, as the No. 2 pick to play alongside Bryce Cartwright) are incoming freshman Aaron White and sophomores Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe. So which one will have the best summer?
White reminds me of a typical Iowa recruit over the last few years. He could be very good or a bust (a la Andrew Brommer). He has a big body, with a decent mid-range game, including above average ball handling skills for his size. Will this all translate to the college game? I really can't tell. This summer may tell us a lot about White.
Zach McCabe is still an enigma in my eyes. He looks great one minute and terrible the next. The PTL is a good stage for him to work on his shot selection, his ball handling and his creating of his own shot. Big summer for McCabe.
Devyn Marble is my pick for the best No. 2 pick. I really liked the way Marble came on late last year. In the PTL, we can see how much he has improved not only his game, but also his body. He should be either starting or coming off the bench as the sixth man this season. He could establish himself as a premier scorer instead of a role player.