116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In the current era of college basketball, there’s plenty of together time.
From July 20 until the first day of fall classes, Division I players can have summer practice and conditioning with required activities not exceeding eight hours per week.
But when the Iowa men’s basketball team reconvenes on Sept. 29 to practice for the 2021-22 season that starts Nov. 8, it will be the first time everyone is good to go at the same time. Presumably.
Connor McCaffery (both hips), Joe Toussaint (ankle) and Ahron Ulis (wrist) had offseason surgeries and rehabilitations. Patrick McCaffery is getting over a sprained ankle. Filip Rebraca had an illness that wasn’t COVID-19. Kris Murray has had a “nagging thing,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Monday.
“Every time somebody gets sick,” McCaffery said, “you’re like ‘Oh boy, I hope he doesn’t have COVID,’ and luckily that hasn’t happened yet. We’ve had a couple guys that got sick and have to be tested. They were negative. The whole team’s vaccinated, so that helps.”
What practicing without the full complement of players this summer reinforced, though, is the coming season’s Hawkeyes have depth.
“At least you feel you can absorb some of those injuries,” Fran McCaffery said. “Two years ago we had a really good team. We didn’t have a lot of depth. It hurt us, especially in a couple road games that year. Because I thought that team was really special. I loved that team.”
McCaffery has a lot of players. He also has a lot of players who will either assume new roles, or will get more thrust upon them. Veteran guards Jordan Bohannon and Connor McCaffery will be joined by a lot of players who either have two years or less of college game experience, or are a senior transfer post player (Rebraca, from North Dakota) joining a new team.
“We feel pretty good about our personnel and our depth,” McCaffery said. “It may be the most depth we’ve ever had.”
The coach knows what he has, he just had to figure out how to assemble it.
“Figuring out the starting lineup, figuring out what the rotation’s going to look like, are we going to play more guys,” he said. “We’re going to go up-tempo on defense, which is going to require more substitutions. That can be a good thing, but can also be disruptive if guys aren’t settled down because they’re coming in and out. That’s what practice is for.”
It’s also why the schedule starts with six home games against no one likely to receive votes in the preseason Top 25s. Iowa will face Virginia, Purdue and Illinois from Nov. 29-Dec. 6, though, so you’ll have a good idea what the Hawkeyes have before your Christmas shopping is done.
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