116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CHICAGO — Joe Wieskamp probably made himself some money this week.
The payoff could come July 29, the day of this year’s NBA Draft. Iowa’s Wieskamp left impressions at the NBA Draft Combine that can only be described as favorable.
The Muscatine man was projected by many as a mid- to late-second-rounder before the Combine. The whims and needs of NBA teams dictate these matters in the end, but Wieskamp will do some climbing in the next batch of mock drafts.
ESPN’s Chad Ford tweeted that Wieskamp “tested as a great athlete, an elite shooter, playmaker. Surprised he isn’t getting more late 1st looks.”
“I’ve been a big Joe Wieskamp guy for the last two years,“ said NBA writer Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. ”Had him as a top-50 prospect even pre-combine. And man, he turned some heads this week. Great second 5 on 5 game, great athletic testing. All around strong week.“
In his team’s scrimmage Friday at Wintrust Arena, Wieskamp had game-highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds. It wasn’t from gunning. He took good shots, shots that for many players are low-percentage, but not for him.
We’re talking NBA 3-pointers. The Big Ten’s best 3-point shooter of 2020-21 made 6 of 7 Friday and 8 of 13 over two days. That works.
He made one from the top of the key in the game’s first minute. He made them from the corners. In the second half he hit a 3 off a catch-and-shoot, followed by one on a pull-up.
His final basket, a 2-pointer, came after an NBA-worthy head fake.
“I think I’m the best shooter here,” Wieskamp said Friday.
He didn’t just shoot his way into the consciousness of the numerous NBA executives here. He proved earlier in the week he has the athleticism the league demands from its talent.
“I showed I’m more athletic than a lot of people think,” Wieskamp said Friday.
How so? Well, they measure a lot of things at the Combine. Of the dozens of players who participated in athletic testing here, Wieskamp tied for fourth in a vertical leap off the run, was fourth in lane agility, and was sixth in the three-quarter-court sprint.
The 6-foot-7, 205-pounder was second, third and third, respectively, among all forwards.
In the 2019-20 season, Wieskamp said. “Guys got up in CJ’s (Fredrick) and my space,” and it affected him.
Last season, he said he showed “I can be physical, too.”
His defense is a work in progress. He got beat for baskets several times in the two days here. But he also had three steals Friday, and turned one into a layup at the other end of the floor.
In a wow moment Thursday, Wieskamp blocked a lay-in attempt by Utah State 7-footer Neemias Queta.
Wieskamp has the body (his 4.1 percent body fat was the second-lowest of all Combine invitees who were measured), the hops and the game to fit. In fact, the NBA game may play more to his strengths, as it has former Michigan player Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat.
At any rate, anyone who clung to hope he would return to Iowa for his senior season can start looking for a new dream. Wieskamp has worked out for the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs, and has more team visits set up.
“I feel ready for the next step,” he said. “I’ve proved I can compete and excel in this league.”
During Wieskamp’s Friday game, Iowa player Patrick McCaffery tweeted “Can’t wait to watch him prove people wrong.”
McCaffery amended that moments later to “proving smart people right, dumb people wrong.”
You didn’t have to be all that smart to see it Friday. Wieskamp is going to The League.
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