Wieskamp looks to regain form amidst struggles

Joe Wieskamp has struggled to find his shot of late, but another game against Illinois could allow him to find it.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp prepares for a free throw during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Purdue at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. The Hawkeyes were defeated by the Boilermakers, 77-68.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Joe Wieskamp walked into his interview session at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday in full uniform.

A rare post-game look for any player, Wieskamp had been ready to take pictures following Iowa’s final game of the season in Carver-Hawkeye, a 77-68 loss to Purdue.

Unfortunately for WIeskamp, his white No. 10 jersey wasn’t a superhero cape.

Wieskamp scored 10 points in the loss, thanks to a final bucket with under 15 seconds remaining, but the defeat showed the larger impact of Wieskamp’s recent performances.

The Muscatine, Iowa, native looked hesitant on Tuesday as opposed to his usual self who isn’t afraid to let it fly.

“Just kind of reflecting on the game a little bit, there’s definitely some moments where I could have taken some more shots,” Wieskamp said. “Maybe pulled from deeper, some shot fakes, jab steps, different things to create my own shot, which are all stuff I’m working on.”

There was a point in Iowa’s loss to Purdue where the Hawkeyes ran a play for Wieskamp, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said.

When Wieskamp got open, McCaffery said he expected him to shoot it. He didn’t. Instead, Wieskamp drove in, expecting the Boilermaker defense to run out on him.

It makes sense. Wieskamp is a career 38.5 percent shooter from deep and has the ability to take over games when his shot is on.

However, Wieskamp hasn’t hit more than one 3-pointer in a game in the Hawkeyes’ last six contests.

“At times, he does appear to be a little bit hesitant, and I think that’s strictly because he’s an unselfish person,” McCaffery said. “He feels like, ‘If I pull here, this guy is up in my face. It’s a lower percentage shot, so therefore I’ll just move it on.’ Sometimes just go shoot it anyway.”

Teams have also played Wieskamp aggressively off the ball.

Wieskamp could be seen getting frustrated in Iowa’s win over Penn State on Feb. 29 due to the lack of foul calls, showing emotion that’s rare from the sophomore.

The key for Wieskamp is not letting it affect the rest of his game. Even if his shots aren’t falling, he knows he can make an impact in other areas.

“Even though I’ve been struggling, I think I’ve been growing quite a bit these last couple of games,” Wieskamp said after the Hawkeyes’ win over the Nittany Lions. “I haven’t struggled like this too much in my career, but I think that I’m learning so much — different ways that I can get open, different ways that I can get my teammates open.”

Related: Purdue pounds Iowa for second time this season

If there’s any team that Wieskamp can get going against once again, it’s Illinois.

Wieskamp dropped 18 against the Illini earlier this season and recorded 24 points when the teams battled in the regular season last year, hitting all six of his 3-point attempts.

Throw in the fact that Iowa could have an opportunity at a double-bye for next week’s Big Ten Tournament within reach, and that makes a breakout game from Wieskamp even more possible.

“I think as a team, we want to get back to how we play,” Wieskamp said. “Just having fun out there, playing together. Go finish the regular season strong.”