Joe Wieskamp earns DI’s Newcomer of the Year

Joe Wieskamp was a walking bucket at times this season, and the DI took note.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp looks to pass during a men’s basketball matchup between Ohio State and Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, January 12, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes, 72-62. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

In Iowa men’s basketball’s first game of the NCAA Tournament — a battle with Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio — Joe Wieskamp scored 19 points, making six of his eight shots.

The Hawkeyes battled back in that game, and Wieskamp led the charge. With Iowa down by 5 points, Wieskamp drained a pair of free throws, and then he canned a 3-pointer moments later to tie the game.

In the closing minutes, he added another triple — this one to boost Iowa’s lead to 6 — and just like that, Wieskamp had his handprints all over his first NCAA Tournament game.

Fellow Hawkeye Isaiah Moss put it simply after the game: “Supreme confidence. That’s something Wieskamp’s had all year.”

Wieskamp sure didn’t look like a freshman when he nearly led Iowa in scoring against a Cincinnati defense that held teams to just 62.2 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting during the regular season.

“Composure, poise — those are the things you have to have in the NCAA Tournament,” Wieskamp said after the game. “You can’t get tentative, you can’t get nervous out there.”

And for that reason, Wieskamp earned The Daily Iowan Newcomer of the Year Award.

Plenty of hype surrounded the four-star prospect from Muscatine before he set foot on campus for his first official practice, and he lived up to the cheers.

Wieskamp played and started in all 35 games this season, one of just three Hawkeyes to do so. In the process, he averaged 11.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game with 48.8 percent shooting. 

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He made his mark from beyond the 3-point line, too. The freshman made 42.4 percent of his attempts from downtown, which ranks as the best mark among Hawkeyes who played more than 20 minutes in the entire season and second in the Big Ten behind Michigan’s Isaiah Livers.

When Iowa hosted Illinois on Jan. 20, Wieskamp’s smooth stroke was on display for all to see. Making all six (yes, six) of his 3-point attempts en route to a 24-point outing, he earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

Wieskamp’s game is (and was, that day) so tantalizing that Illini head coach Brad Underwood needed to take a look during pregame shoot-around.

“He’s an elite, elite shooter,” Underwood said. “I went out just to watch him shoot warm-ups. I never go out to watch pregame warm-ups. His balls don’t hit the rim … I just heard he’s a terrific shooter, and I’m fascinated with guys who can make baskets. I sat out there and watched him at the free-throw line hit jump shots. He hit 19 in a row, and I don’t think any of them hit the rim. Then I said, ‘I’m going to make myself sick,’ because he’s on the opposing team, and I went to the locker room … Wieskamp, that kid is going to make a lot of money some day.”

After his first campaign in the Black and Gold came to a conclusion in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Wieskamp was named an All-Big Ten Freshman Team honoree, and he also earned the Hawkeye program award for Newcomer of the Year — great minds award alike, it appears.