Iowa basketball working toward success in new chapter

With a new team and new rule changes, the Hawkeyes are looking to make to make the most of their 2019-20 season.


Iowa guard Luka Garza reaches for the ball during the NCAA game against Cincinnati at Nationwide Arena on Friday, March 22, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Bearcats 79-72.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

As Iowa basketball enters a new chapter, it’s focusing on what it can control, which is preparing for next season without a good chunk of last season’s core.

At least four players who received significant playing time last season – Tyler Cook, Isaiah Moss, Nicholas Baer, and Maishe Dailey – won’t be in the Black and Gold come November, while Jordan Bohannon’s status is up in the air.

That, however, leaves room for those returning to take a step forward.

“I think right now it’s just coming together as one,” forward Joe Wieskamp said. “We got four new pieces coming in, so it’s just getting connected. Tyler was a great player, Maishe was here for a while. Jordan, Isaiah, those guys being out for now, it hurts. Nicholas, obviously, he was a glue guy for our team. So, it’s just other guys stepping up and getting connected early.”

Going the distance

 With the NCAA 3-point line getting pushed back from 20 feet, 9 inches to 23 feet, 1.75 inches, Iowa may actually be at an advantage.

Despite the departures, the Hawkeyes still boast shooters who can hit from nearly anywhere on the floor, which makes the change a lot less drastic.

Last season as a team, Iowa hit shots from 3-point range at a 36.4 percent clip, ranking third in the Big Ten.

Wieskamp, who shot 42.4 percent from beyond the arc last season, said he started shooting from NBA range when the season ended in preparation for workouts with professional teams.

“I’m kind of excited it got moved back, because I’ve already been practicing that,” Wieskamp said. “Then, obviously, when I decide to take that next step, I’ll be even more prepared.”

In addition to its ability to knock down shots from distance, Iowa could benefit in the paint. With Luka Garza and Ryan Kriener down low, a deeper 3-point line will create room inside.

Kriener and Garza took advantage of their opportunities last season, finishing first and second on the team in field goal percentage, respectively.

Now, they’ll have even more room to go to work.

“When you institute a rule change like that, what are you trying to accomplish? Freedom of movement and then also more low-post play,” McCaffery said. “We’re pretty good in that area.”

Reflecting on the past

 Last season, Iowa secured a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2016. And the Hawkeyes showed they deserved it in the first two rounds.

A No. 10 seed in Columbus, Iowa toppled No. 7 seed Cincinnati, 79-72, before falling to second-seeded Tennessee in overtime after nearly mounting the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history.

Iowa showed some inconsistency at times, but the Hawkeyes also displayed fight in the tournament. Now, Iowa is looking to take the next step.

“I think it was a great sign of progress,” Garza said. “…We’re pushing those goals and pushing those boundaries to improve on what we did last year to this year. I think during certain stretches we were one of the best in the country, and then we had stretches where we weren’t as good. Looking back on those moments, I think there’s a lot of things we can improve on.”

Facebook Comments