116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - There's neither pressure on nor panic from Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery as to who opens his team's exhibition against Northwood (Fla.) at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The coach places less value on starting lineups than media and fans alike. The minutes are likely to even out, and the fifth-year Iowa coach is more concerned about how his combinations and lineups work together than who gets their name announced before tip-off.
'What do we like in terms of offenses, defenses? What do like in terms of personnel?” McCaffery asked on Wednesday. 'What do we like in terms of combinations of personnel? We've talked a lot before, all of us, about the big lineup, the small lineup, the quick lineup ... different combinations to get guys ready and then also to play those guys at different positions. So there's a lot that goes into that and this will be a great opportunity to see how it all comes together.”
Iowa's frontcourt is locked into place. Senior power forward Aaron White has started 94 consecutive games. Junior center Adam Woodbury boasts 80 straight starts. Junior Jarrod Uthoff is slated to open at small forward and senior Gabe Olaseni will see heavy minutes at center and some at forward. The backcourt is where Iowa remains open, and that's where the uncertainty begins.
Junior Mike Gesell has 63 starts and is set to open at point guard. But Gesell also has the flexibility to move to shooting guard, where he has opened 15 games. Junior Anthony Clemmons started 13 games at point guard as a freshman, and sophomore Trey Dickerson was a third-team junior-college All-American last year.
'One of the things I really like about those three guys is that you can really play them all together,” McCaffery said. 'Not necessarily all three of them together but certainly two of them together. So I'll do that. I think so far Mike has been really good. But Clemmons and Trey have been really good as well. I think that's the beauty of it. All of their games are a little bit different as well. So I can go a lot of different ways. In terms of who has established himself to this point at that position, the starter would be Mike.”
Shooting guard remains wide open. Senior Josh Oglesby (6-foot-6) has eight career starts and averaged a career-high 6.6 points a game off the bench last year. He drilled 40.3 percent from 3-point range and had the team's second-most 3-pointers (31) despite missing 12 games with a broken foot.
Sophomore Peter Jok scored a career-best 10 points in the team's NCAA tournament loss to Tennessee. During camp, Jok suffered a sprained ankle that hampered him for a few weeks, McCaffery said. But Jok has returned to his pre-injury form as of late.
McCaffery said he doesn't view Jok and Oglesby as strict two-guards and there is potential for both to play at the same time.
'Now if I do that and I have a point guard on the floor with those two, which I think is what you want because you'd want that guy to load those two up, then they have to stick their nose in there and rebound the ball,” McCaffery said. 'We can't have three guards dropping back. We've got to get guys on the glass, we've got to get guys blocking out. They might have to guard a guy who's 6-8 at the small forward position. They're both almost 6-6 and they both have good frames and are willing to do that so it gives me that flexibility.”
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