PTL thoughts, July 6 (with video)

July 8, 2009
Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Aaron Fuller (24) pulls up for a shot over Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurry's Eric May (7) during their game on the opening night of the Prime Time league Monday, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Aaron Fuller (24) pulls up for a shot over Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurry's Eric May (7) during their game on the opening night of the Prime Time league Monday, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

I wrote about Eric May on Monday night, and he had a good performance. He scored 23 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished seven assists. He also showed his versatility by defending point guard Cully Payne, shooting guard Devan Bawinkel and power forward Aaron Fuller.

I was most impressed with Fuller, who notched 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. He’s stronger and more physical in the paint than last year. He also can shoot from the outside, hitting two three-pointers. Payne was up-and-down, scoring 22 points with eight assists. Bawinkel hit 4-of-6 shots — all three-point attempts — for 12 points. His style of game doesn’t transition well to the up-and-down Prime Time League.

I spent only a few minutes at the other game, where Matt Gatens returned in solid fashion. He scored 32 points, grabbed six rebounds and directed his team to a 100-81 win. He told me afterward he felt fine just two weeks after an appendectomy.


PTL analysis from first night, Cully Payne video interview

June 16, 2009
Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Cully Payne (3) pulls up for a shot over Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurrys' Jordan Stoermer (23) during their game on the opening night of the Prime Time league Monday, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Imprinted Sportswear/Goodfellow Printing's Cully Payne (3) pulls up for a shot over Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurrys' Jordan Stoermer (23) during their game on the opening night of the Prime Time league Monday, June 15, 2009 at the North Liberty Community Center. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

A few thoughts on last night’s game featuring multiple Iowa, Northern Iowa and other collegiate players:

I was impressed with incoming Iowa freshman Cully Payne. He’s young and hasn’t had to guard Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas or Michigan’s Manny Harris, but Payne brings the right temperament and swagger to the the point guard position. He’s listed at 6 foot (he might be a shade under), but he moves well with and without the ball. He’s left-handed, physical and has a decent shot. He can push the ball up the court or slow it down in a half-court set. He’s a different player from Jake Kelly or Jeff Peterson in that he’s a natural point guard.

Iowa’s Aaron Fuller carries more weight and looks much stronger. As a freshman last year he weighed 199 pounds. He’s now heavier than 220. That strength will help him defend power forwards in the post. That weight could be good for one more rebound and two more points a game. That could be a four-point turnaround in any game.

Iowa’s Devan Bawinkel still prefers the outside shot. Bawinkel, an incoming senior captain, caught the ball on the left wing about 17 feet from the basket.  He took three dribbles toward the hoop and could have pulled up for an eight-foot jumper or even drove to the hoop but instead passed the ball to the top of the key. He may need to hit a few jumpers when they’re available, even if they’re not beyond the arc.

UNI’s Anthony James and Antonio Jones are explosive, much more than any of Iowa’s guards or forwards. They combined for 32 points and could really move the ball up and down the court. Jones, a junior-college transfer from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, averaged 11.5 points last year in the Jayhawk Conference, the best juco league in the country. I think Jones can be real good.

Incoming Iowa freshman Eric May is better than advertised. He can play inside and outside. He’s competitive and explosive. During one offensive set, May, who stands 6-4, took the ball and charged at ex-UNI center Eric Coleman, who is four inches taller and probably 60 pounds heavier. May lowered his shoulder like a fullback and ran into Coleman, drawing a surprising blocking call. Coleman had an irritated look and neither player slapped hands after the play. May scored 20 points and I can see him challenging Fuller and Devan Archie for serious minutes at power forward this year.

UNI’s Jordan Eglseder showed great touch from the outside, along with solid inside skills. Eglseder, who stands 7-1 and weighs about 300 pounds, scored 25 points and was active at both ends of the court. I’m really interested to see how he competes against incoming Iowa freshman Brennan Cougill on June 22.


Lickliter likes how new captains lead Hawkeyes

May 26, 2009
Iowa's Devan Bawinkel (15) pulls up for a three-point shot over Ohio State's Walter Offutt (3) and Jon Diebler (33) during the second half of their college basketball game Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Bawinkel went 8 for 13 from behind the three-point line. Iowa lost 60-58.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Iowa's Devan Bawinkel (15) pulls up for a three-point shot over Ohio State's Walter Offutt (3) and Jon Diebler (33) during the second half of their college basketball game Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Bawinkel went 8 for 13 from behind the three-point line. Iowa lost 60-58. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Iowa men’s basketball coach Todd Lickliter isn’t averse to providing surprises when it comes to naming captains.

Last year he tabbed then-sophomore Jarryd Cole as a co-captain along with senior Cyrus Tate. It didn’t matter to Lickliter that Cole was coming off season-ending surgery for a torn ACL in his left knee. It mattered even less than Tate and Cole shared the same position.

This year, Lickliter tabbed Cole and incoming senior Devan Bawinkel as his captains. Cole, a junior this fall, was a given considering his previous status. The move to install Bawinkel as a co-captain shocked the player as much as anyone.

“Extremely surprised,” Bawinkel said. “He called me into his offense and I didn’t know what to expect, and he said, ‘We’re thinking about naming you co-captain. So I was in shock a little bit, but I was excited. I was just fortunate to be named that.”

Bawinkel, a 6-foot-5 guard, is the team’s only incoming senior but is entering only his second season with the program. He played one season at West Virginia before transferring to a Highland (Ill.) Junior College. He played in all 32 games last year (starting nine), but he was strictly one-dimensional on offense. He attempted 144 shots, but 139 were 3-point attempts. 

Bawinkel’s persona also drew wrinkles from many Iowa basketball observers about the choice. Bawinkel often keeps to himself and brings a low-key approach.

“The vocal part is not really my style,” he said. “I’m more of a quiet guy … just people should do just what is expected of them. I really don’t actually feel like I should tell them. At the same time I know they look for me to be more vocal.”

Lickliter wants Bawinkel to become more assertive on the floor as well as off the court. That includes shooting the ball almost at will.

“I don’t want him to hesitate,” Lickliter said. “I wanted him in position to shoot it, and we need for our other guys to be able to make some plays and get inside the defense. That’s what we worked on a lot, because he should spread the floor for us. And if they collapse, then he should be ready.

“I thought last year his shot preparation needed to be better because either he didn’t shoot it or he was a little bit late and contested. If he’s ready to shoot the ball, and we can deliver it with some precision, he’s a very capable shooter.”

Cole struggled to regain his explosiveness on the court following knee surgery. He started nine games last year and said he’s in good health.

Cole, a 6-7-center, also is a quiet leader who prefers to lead by example.

“I’ve said this time and time again, but I’m not really an authoritative-type figure,” Cole said. “I don’t mind talking by any means. If people need to hear something I’ll make sure that they do hear it. I’m not going to go out of my way to tell somebody that they’re doing something wrong. I’m always going to congratulate them.”

As the team prepares for its second of four exhibitions games in Europe, Lickliter raves about how his upcoming captains are leading the seven-member team.

“Jarryd is doing terrific,” Lickliter said. “I wish I were that healthy. He’s got great strength, and he’s a terrific leader. He and Devan are leading. I really appreciate the way they’ve embraced being captains.”


Lickliter names captains, talks about recruiting

May 6, 2009
Iowa guard Devan Bawinkel guards an Indiana player on Jan. 3, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa guard Devan Bawinkel guards an Indiana player on Jan. 3, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

MARSHALLTOWN — Iowa’s basketball captains for next year are junior post Jarryd Cole and senior guard Devan Bawinkel, Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said tonight.

Cole, a 6-foot-7 post, played in all 32 games last year and averaged 3.7 points and 3.0 rebounds a game. Cole joined graduating senior Cyrus Tate as co-captains last year.  Cole started a bit slow coming off knee surgery but started nine games.

Bawinkel , a 6-5 perimeter guard, played his first season at Iowa last year after transferring from Highland (Ill.) Community College. Bawinkel played in every game and started nine. He averaged 4.8 points a game and shot a team-high 139 3-pointers. All but five of his shots were 3-point attempts.

“I think they’re showing terrific leadership,” Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said Wednesday at the Marshall County I-Club banquet at Elmwood Country Club.

Lickliter said recruiting efforts for the upcoming season are ongoing, and he’s got a recruit coming in this weekend. Lickliter declined to say if this recruit was for 2009 or 2010. Sources close to the program say the player visiting is a transfer from another Division I program who won’t be eligible until the 2010-11 basketball season.

We’re still recruiting,” Lickliter said. “There are some out there. I’m really comfortable with the group we have. Would you like to have a little more depth? Yeah, but I’ve been here two years now, and we haven’t given out 13 scholarships. Yet I’m not that concerned about that.

“We will have a visit this weekend. I don’t know for sure how that will play out.”

Iowa currently has 10 players under scholarship for the upcoming season. Along with Cole and Bawinkel, Iowa returns sophomores Matt Gatens, Andrew Brommer, Aaron Fuller and Anthony Tucker, who likely will regain his eligibility following semester finals. Entering the program this year are incoming freshmen Cully Payne, Eric May and Brennan Cougill, along with junior-college transfer Devon Archie, a junior. Iowa also has red-shirt freshman John Lickliter, the coach’s son.

Four players from last year’s roster — guards Jake Kelly, Jeff Peterson, Jermain Davis and forward David Palmer — left the program.

“Having 11 is probably thin, but it’s very manageable,” Lickliter said. “It’s not important how many (players) you have, but who you have. And I really like who we have, and I like the spots that we have filled. At least now I feel that we have a good grasp of where we’re at and what our needs are and who’s going to be involved. I think you can really paint a much clearer picture for our recruiting efforts.

“We could (add another player). I wouldn’t say it’s pressing or that it’s guaranteed. But we could.”

If Iowa adds a transfer from another school, the player must sit out for a season but likely will be placed under scholarship. Iowa has three scholarships available for this fall and has one commitment for the 2010 season — Sioux Falls (S.D.) prep Cody Larson.

Iowa also has added a walk-on for the upcoming season. Nick Neari, a 6-3 guard from St. Charles (Ill.) North High School, is a close friend of Payne. He averaged 14 points a game in suburban Chicago.

Lickliter said he can’t comment on walk-on players.

“You can say that we’re going to have some (walk-ons), but they have to arrive, enroll and be on the roster. No different than a recruit.”


Lickliter talks about upcoming trip

April 17, 2009

Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter met with about 150 fans in Boone at the Boone-Story County I-Club meeting Wednesday. Along with recruiting and other topics, Lickliter also talked about the team’s upcoming trip to Italy and Greece in late May. Here’s the video:

Iowa will take seven players on the trip, including walk-on freshman John Lickliter. They include upcoming senior Devan Bawinkel, upcoming junior Jarryd Cole, upcoming sophomores Aaron Fuller, Matt Gatens, Andrew Brommer and Anthony Tucker.


Iowa basketball’s best, worst moments: Nos. 10 and 9

March 16, 2009

Iowa’s men’s basketball team finished 15-17 and 5-13 in the Big Ten. In a long season, there are always highlights and not-so memorable moments, particularly in a season that featured a little of both.

Over the upcoming week, I’ll rank the top and worst moments of the season — two every day. Here are the N0. 10 and 9 best and worst moments of the 2008-09 men’s basketball season.

No. 10 Best: Cyrus Tate’s effort against Indiana, Jan. 3

Iowa's Cyrus Tate leaps for the basket between Tom Pritchard (left) and Matt Roth (right) of Indiana during the game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, January 3, 2009. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Iowa's Cyrus Tate leaps between two Indiana defenders during the game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan 3. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Tate scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in a 65-60 win against Indiana in Iowa’s Big Ten home opener. Tate’s performance came in front of his mother, who had watched him play collegiately only once. It came in front of his sister, who lives in New York and never had seen him play. 

“I’m psyched for them to be here,” Tate said after the game. “It’s always good to have your family come and watch you play.”

At the time it seemed like a precursor to Tate’s season. Unfortunately for Iowa, it was his best moment of the season. In the Hawkeyes’ following game against Minnesota, Tate severely sprained his right ankle eight minutes into the game. He missed nine of the next 10 games, and failed to reach his ascending level of play when he did return.

No. 10 worst: Tate goes down, Iowa falls apart against Minnesota, Jan. 8

Iowa's Cyrus Tate (44) lies on the court after injuring his knee during the first period of their game against Minnesota at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009.

Iowa's Cyrus Tate (44) lies on the court after injuring his knee during the first period of their game against Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 8, 2009. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Iowa blew a 13-point, first-half lead in a three-point loss to Minnesota at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. But as previously mentioned, the loss was secondary to Cyrus Tate’s severely sprained right ankle.

Tate, Iowa’s senior post and co-captain, struggled with pain and swelling for two months. It nearly ended his season. 

“I want to get out there and play but what can I do about it?” Tate said in mid-February. “I plan on playing, continue playing basketball after this. This is a bad situation to be in, because I want to be able to contribute to our team and help out and be a presence for our team. But right now it’s something that I just can’t rush. You’ve got to let it take its time.”

Tate played for 13 minutes at home against  Northwestern, but was shelved for two more games when the injury re-aggravated. He finally returned back to the lineup for good on Feb. 22. 

No. 9 Best: Bawinkel’s 24-point barrage against Ohio State, March 3

Iowa's Devan Bawinkel (15) pulls up for a three-point shot over Ohio State's Walter Offutt (3) and Jon Diebler (33) during the second half of their college basketball game Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Bawinkel went 8 for 13 from behind the three-point line and Iowa lost the game 58 to 60.  (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Iowa's Devan Bawinkel (15) pulls up for a 3-point shot over Ohio State's Walter Offutt (3) and Jon Diebler (33) during the second half March 3, 2009 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Bawinkel went 8 for 13 from behind the 3-point line and Iowa lost 60-58. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

Iowa junior Devan Bawinkel nailed eight 3-pointers in 13 attempts, one 3-pointer from tying former 3-point bomber Chris Kingsbury’s record of nine. But Iowa’s Jermain Davis’ layup attempt was swatted away with 7 seconds left. Davis then missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to seal the loss.

Bawinkel tied freshman Anthony Tucker for the most points in a game this season with 24. Every one of Bawinkel’s attempts that game were from beyond the 3-point arc. He finished the season sinking 52 of 144 3-point attempts. He shot only five two-point attempts and scored just one two-point field goal during the season.

No. 9 Worst: Giving Indiana its only Big Ten win, Feb. 4

Iowa center David Palmer (2) is fouled by Indiana guard Devan Dumes as he goes up for a shot during the first half  of an NCAA college basketball game in Bloomington, Ind., Feb. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Iowa's David Palmer (2) goes up for a shot in Bloomington, Ind., Feb. 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Iowa trailed by as many as 20 points with less than 12 minutes left against the rebuilding Hoosiers at Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Iowa rallied to cut the Hoosiers’ lead to three points with 44 seconds left.

Iowa couldn’t finish the ultimate comeback. The Hawkeyes suffered two turnovers in the final 30 seconds to give Indiana its only Big Ten win this season 68-60.

Iowa had 14 turnovers in the game and hit just 30 percent of its 3-point attempts. Indiana, conversely, sank nearly 54 percent of its 3-point shots and 49 percent of its overall field goals.


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