Lineup breakdown: Iowa men’s basketball

The Hawkeyes will be a national preseason favorite heading into next season.

Iowa+center+Luka+Garza+celebrates+after+crossing+the+20-point+threshold+for+his+fourteenth+straight+game+during+a+men%E2%80%99s+basketball+game+between+Iowa+and+Penn+State+on+Saturday%2C+Feb.+29+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Nittany+Lions+77-68.+

Nichole Harris

Iowa center Luka Garza celebrates after crossing the 20-point threshold for his fourteenth straight game during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Penn State on Saturday, Feb. 29 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions 77-68.

Robert Read, Sports Editor


The Iowa men’s basketball team surprised many by being among the top teams in the Big Ten last season. Next season, the Hawkeyes won’t be sneaking up on anybody.

Iowa finished the 2019-20 season with a 20-11 record before the Big Ten and NCAA men’s basketball tournaments were canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Big Ten Player of the Year Luka Garza had one of the best seasons in program history and led a young, injury-riddled Hawkeye team.

Assuming Garza pulls his name out of the NBA Draft, as well as the return of several injured players from last season’s squad, Iowa will be a conference favorite next season. CBS Sports college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein has Iowa ranked No. 5 in the nation in his preseason rankings. Here’s what the lineup will look like.

G — Jordan Bohannon (6-foot-1, redshirt senior)

 Bohannon only appeared in 10 games for the Hawkeyes before undergoing season-ending surgery on his hip. Already Iowa’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, Bohannnon will be back for a fifth year next season and will provide the Hawkeyes with some much-needed shooting.

The Marion, Iowa, native is a career 40.3 percent shooter from deep and is someone Iowa will be confident giving the last shot to at the end of games.

G — CJ Fredrick (6-foot-3, redshirt sophomore)

 Fredrick made quite the impression in his first year of action with the Hawkeyes. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native immediately became one of Iowa’s best perimeter defenders while also showcasing his lethal shooting abilities.

Although he missed multiple stretches during the season with injuries, when Fredrick was on the floor he was a playmaker for the Hawkeyes. Fredrick shot 48.3 percent from the field last season and an incredible 46.1 percent from deep.

G — Joe Wieskamp (6-foot-6, junior)

 After the departures of Tyler Cook and Isaiah Moss, Wieskamp took on a larger role in the Iowa offense. He finished second on the team behind Garza with 14 points per game. He went through a rough patch toward the end of the season, but Wieskamp was still among the top players in the conference.

Wieskamp announced that he will not go through the NBA Draft process this offseason and that he will officially return for his junior season. That’s good news for the Hawkeyes and bad news for the rest of the Big Ten.

G — Connor McCaffery (6-foot-5, redshirt junior)

 Connor McCaffery’s critics got quieter and quieter as last season went on. He led the country in assist-to-turnover ratio and showcased his ability to be a leader on the court for the Hawkeyes.

In a season where Iowa suffered injuries all over the court, McCaffery’s versatility proved to be crucial. Defensively, he could guard the opponent’s point guard or their power forward. Offensively, he was a steady ball handler that could also thrive without the ball in his hands.

C — Luka Garza (6-foot-11, senior)

 Assuming he decides to return for his senior season with the Hawkeyes, Garza will once again be one of the best players in college basketball next season. Garza’s ability to create a shot in the post, his precise footwork, and his now lethal 3-point shot create headaches for opposing coaches.

Garza’s defense is now underrated as well. The Washington, D.C, native held his own against the Big Ten’s best on the defensive side last season. He averaged 1.8 blocks per game.

Bench

 After losing Ryan Kriener and Bakari Evelyn, Iowa has some pieces to fill in the rotation for next season.

Joe Toussaint will be the top guard off the bench for the Hawkeyes. He filled in as a starter last season due to injuries and showed off his quickness and playmaking ability.

Expect Jack Nunge to fill in Kriener’s role off the bench. Nunge is coming off a torn ACL, but is the combination of size and shooting that head coach Fran McCaffery will find useful off the bench.

Patrick McCaffery is also expected to return for next season. He missed out on almost the entire season after health issues related to his previous battle with cancer surfaced. At 6-foot-9, Patrick McCaffery provides another lengthy defender and scoring threat for Iowa.

Newcomers such as Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, and Josh Ogundele could also earn some time for the Hawkeyes off the bench.

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