McCaffery notebook: Hawkeyes continue to feed Woodbury
Freshman point guard Mike Gesell offered a simple solution for when the offense gets stagnant for the Iowa men’s basketball team: Get it to “Woody.”
Adam Woodbury has found a groove offensively over the past three games. The freshman center is averaging 10.7 points per game in that span, shooting at an astonishing 82 percent clip. Gesell said Woodbury’s step up in production is the result of the team looking for him more often.
“He’s getting a few more touches,” Gesell said. “We really needed to get the ball inside more, because it really opens things up. His hook shot has been falling, even a few mid-range jumpers. He’s just working his butt off in there.”
Woodbury said he’s not doing anything differently, but he’s getting better acquainted with the college game.
“I think I’ve been playing the same game, all around, this whole year,” he said. “I’ve gotten more comfortable, though, that’s for sure.”
Gesell said having a presence such as Woodbury in the paint is beneficial for everyone because of the opportunities he creates when he’s playing well.
“We know he’s a good offensive player in there,” Gesell said. “He’s also a good passer. So if we get him the ball, it opens up the outside, [starts] the inside-out game … Maybe they have to bring a double team and open up one of the other guys.”
Gesell accepts new role
Anthony Clemmons has been the focus of discussion since entering the starting lineup on Dec. 1. That change has moved Gesell to shooting guard more often, but head coach Fran McCaffery said he was never concerned about how Gesell might handle it.
In fact, he said he never even told the South Sioux City, Neb. native.
“I never had a conversation with him,” McCaffery said. “I just inserted Clemmons into the starting lineup, and that was that.”
McCaffery said Gesell would spend significant time both at the point and off the ball, even in clutch situations. He said Gesell doesn’t care where he plays, as long as he’s making a contribution.
“He wants to help our team win,” McCaffery said. “He’s accepting of his role regardless of what that is.”
Gesell said even though he’ll be spending more time as a shooting guard for the foreseeable future, he and Clemmons still keep the competition ramped up in practice and fit together well on the court.
“We battle at it every day,” Gesell said. “He’s a great defender and it’s helping my game, personally. We learn stuff from each other’s games, and we complement each other well.”
McCabe still struggling
Zach McCabe entered the season as a starter, but the junior forward has only played more than 13 minutes in a game one time over his last five contests.
McCabe has struggled to stay out of foul trouble over those five games and hasn’t shot the ball anywhere near his 2011-12 rate. He is shooting just 34 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc this season after hitting on just under 50 percent of his shots last year and 44 percent from 3-point range.
McCabe said he needs to relax and let things come to him in order to break out of his slump.
“I’ve been thinking too much, more than just playing,” he said.
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