Iowa men’s hoops ready for final tune-up before regular season

Iowa takes on Lindsey Wilson College in an exhibition game tonight before officially tipping off the 2019-20 season on Friday.

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Iowa men’s hoops ready for final tune-up before regular season

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon shoots the ball during the NCAA game against Tennessee at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The Volunteers defeated the Hawkeyes 83-77 in overtime.

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon shoots the ball during the NCAA game against Tennessee at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The Volunteers defeated the Hawkeyes 83-77 in overtime.

Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon shoots the ball during the NCAA game against Tennessee at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The Volunteers defeated the Hawkeyes 83-77 in overtime.

Katina Zentz

Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon shoots the ball during the NCAA game against Tennessee at Nationwide Arena on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The Volunteers defeated the Hawkeyes 83-77 in overtime.

Robert Read, Assistant Sports Editor

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Iowa men’s basketball is back. Well, almost.

The Hawkeyes tip off the 2019-20 season on Friday against SIU Edwardsville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. But before then, Iowa will face Lindsey Wilson College tonight in an exhibition game at Carver in a preview of this year’s Hawkeye squad.

Iowa’s sharpshooting combo guard Jordan Bohannon is expected to play in the game, head coach Fran McCaffery announced Oct. 30. Bohannon underwent hip surgery in May, and his playing status for this season has been a looming question mark over the offseason.

How Bohannon feels after the contest against Lindsey Wilson College will be a telling indication for whether the senior will be ready to play this season.

Either way, the Marion, Iowa, native is in a better place now than he was following his procedure.

“I’m feeling good — a lot happier than I was four or five months ago,” Bohannon said. “I’m in a better position mentally, physically, and spiritually. These last five months have kind of opened my eyes with everything. Being able to watch basketball from the sideline for once, that put a different perspective on my life and what it was like to watch basketball from the side.”

Bohannon is Iowa’s all-time leader in 3-pointers with 264 and was a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the conference’s coaches last season. Although Iowa has other capable ball-handlers in the backcourt, Bohannon’s presence in the lineup would give the Hawkeyes a spark.

“I’m going to do everything possible [to play],” Bohannon said. “I’ve been able to play through a lot of pain since I’ve been here. So if I’m able to put on that jersey the first game of the year and [athletic trainer Brad Floy] OK’s it, then I’m going to be out there playing.”

RELATED: Bohannon continues to lead off the floor

Even if Iowa has the luxury of putting Bohannon in the lineup, the Hawkeyes will need their other key returners — Joe Wieskamp in particular — to step up with key contributors from last season gone.

Wieskamp adjusted to playing at the college level with apparent ease as a freshman last season. He averaged 11.1 points per game on limited shot attempts a season ago and now will act as the go-to option for the Hawkeyes.

“I came into my freshman year with a lot of expectations [that] I was going to contribute right away,” Wieskamp said. “But going into this year, I think those expectations are going to be even higher, even a little bit higher than I expected with guys leaving. Tyler [Cook] going to the league, Isaiah [Moss] transferring to Kansas. I think my expectations will be that much higher.”

Iowa will need Wieskamp to contribute heavily this season. The Hawkeyes will be challenged in the non-conference portion of their schedule before going into a gauntlet of a Big Ten schedule.

“The thing that you look at in terms of that is the quality of our league top to bottom, and I said this before and I’ll say it again — it’s without question the best this league has been, and this is my 10th year,” McCaffery said. “Not even close. We had some great teams, some great players, but our league expanded in the time that I’ve been here, and everybody is really good. But we have the makeup of a team that can contend in this league and contend on a national level.”

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