Three new Iowa basketball players won high school state championships last year, a trait Coach Todd Lickliter said you can’t overlook when rebuilding a basketball program.
“There is a uniqueness to Matt Gatens, Anthony (Tucker) and John (Lickliter); they’ve won state championships,” Lickliter said. “I don’t want to downplay that. I never won the last game of the year. … For having a couple of guys that have done it, it’s a good thing. Even though it is at a different level, still I’m excited about those that are coming in and their approach to the game.”
Gatens and John Lickliter, Todd’s son, helped Iowa City High win the Iowa Class 4A state championship last year. Tucker, a 6-4 guard, scored 27 points to lead Minnetonka (Minn.) to the large-school state title. Tucker also was a member of the Minnetonka Student Leadership Honor Society.
Players like Gatens, Tucker and Lickliter seem to have winning attributes coupled with academics that Lickliter is looking for in his recruits. Freshman Andrew Brommer, who played AAU basketball with Tucker, is an engineering major from Rosemount, Minn. Freshman Aaron Fuller, one of the best players in Arizona, is a computer science major.
“When we recruit, we look at guys who have good poise, that are skilled, that have a presence for their team. They lift up their teammates and the offense,” Lickliter said.
More than half of Iowa’s basketball team is new this year. Along with the five freshmen, junior-college transfers Devan Bawinkel and Jermain Davis also are on the team. Six players return from last year: Cyrus Tate, Jeff Peterson, Jarryd Cole, Jake Kelly, J.R. Angle and David Palmer.