Kelly earns 2nd Big Ten honor

March 9, 2009

From the Big Ten:

Iowa’s Jake Kelly garners his second weekly award of the 2008-09 campaign on the heels of posting a pair of double-doubles last week to end regular season play. The double-doubles marked the first two of his career as the Hawkeye sophomore averaged 20.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists in two home contests against Ohio State and Penn State. In Iowa’s opening matchup of the week, Kelly kept his squad in the game against the Buckeyes, netting 19 points and grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds. On Saturday against Penn State, he then paced the Hawkeyes with 22 points on eight-of-16 shooting from the field while handing out 11 helpers. The Carmel, Ind., native led his squad through two overtimes, connecting on clutch shots to pull out the win on Senior Day in Carver Hawkeye Arena.


My final Big Ten ballot

March 8, 2009

In the past week I’ve changed my mind so many times about all-Big Ten selections it has prompted a call from the Big Ten Conference. There’s about 30 players worthy of consideration for all-Big Ten honors. There’s also about eight players with whom I’d have no problem earning first-team honors.

With that in mind, and after a few preliminary ballots, here’s how I voted for the all-Big Ten teams and honor awards that will be released by the Big Ten Network on Monday.

FIRST TEAM

Kalin Lucas, Michigan State; Evan Turner, Ohio State; Talor Battle, Penn State; Manny Harris, Michigan; Mike Davis, Illinois

SECOND TEAM

Robbie Hummel, Purdue; JaJuan Johnson, Purdue; Jake Kelly, Iowa; Jamelle Cornely, Penn State; DeShawn Sims, Michigan

THIRD TEAM

Kevin Coble, Northwestern; Craig Moore, Northwestern; Raymar Morgan, Michigan State; E’Twaun Moore, Purdue; Jason Bohannon, Wisconsin

COACH OF THE YEAR

1. Bruce Weber, Illinois; 2. Tom Izzo, Michigan State; 3. Ed DeChellis, Penn State

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

1. Matt Gatens, Iowa; 2. William Buford, Ohio State; 3. Delvon Roe, Michigan State

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Talor Battle, Penn State; 2. Kalin Lucas, Michigan State; 3. Evan Turner, Ohio State

Voting for the all Big Ten team was difficult to say the least. Before voting, I compiled a list of 30 players, then condensed it into groupings. I considered about 12 players for first team, and two of the best players — Purdue’s Robbie Hummel and Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan — missed significant time with injury or illness. It wasn’t easy.

Wisconsin (no Marcus Landry or Joe Krabbenhoft, ouch), Illinois (no Chester Frazier, Demetri McCamey and Mike Tisdale hurts) and Minnesota (Lawrence Westbrook and Al Nolen) were difficult because they had so many players of similar ability. Purdue (Chris Kramer) and Michigan State (Goran Suton) had players that were tough omits. Penn State (Stanley Pringle) was a toughie.

My picks are guard-heavy, and I switched multiple times between Battle, Lucas and Turner for the league’s player of the year. Ultimately, I went with Battle because I think he can do more and means more for his team than the others. That’s not a slight to Lucas or Turner, however.

Coach of the year was the easiest. Weber’s team wasn’t expected to compete for the Big Ten title after a sub-par 2007-08 season. Izzo sometimes suffers unfairly because everyone expects Michigan State to be good. The No. 3 coach selection was tough between Penn State’s Ed DeChellis and Northwestern’s Bill Carmody.

I had Buford slightly ahead of Gatens for top freshman honors until the teams met last Tuesday. Although their stats are similar, one intangible remains etched in my mind: Gatens doesn’t play with Evan Turner.

Kelly was a late jump, but if anyone thinks I’m home-towning him to second team, think again. He’s scored 19 or more points in the last six games, took over at the point without starting there all year and defends against his opponent’s best offensive player. That’s tough for anyone, particularly for a player with a broken finger and several other ailments. Plus, since he’s taken over the point, Iowa has played its best basketball all season.


Nothing on the line? Don’t tell Iowa

March 7, 2009

IOWA CITY — Nothing on the line? Tell that to Iowa sophomore Jake Kelly who woke up Saturday with a 101-degree body temperature and spilled his guts in a trash can 50 feet from the basketball court early in the second half.

Nothing on the line? Ask senior Cyrus Tate, who lugged a swollen right ankle up and down the court for 42 minutes Saturday afternoon.

Nothing on the line? Hard to tell at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday where Iowa, the Big Ten’s 10th-best team, outfought, out-hustled and just gutted out a 75-67 double-overtime win against Penn State in the teams’ Big Ten regular-season finale. If there was nothing on the line, Kelly wouldn’t have played. Tate wouldn’t have bawled his eyes in the locker room. Matt Gatens and Devan Bawinkel wouldn’t have played 50 minutes.

“I think it was just the desire,” said Tate, who scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his final game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. “I think all of the guys gutted it out, just said ‘OK, we’re going to take this; this is our home.’ I think guys just really had that mindset, that focus (Saturday).’”

Kelly notched his fourth 20-point effort this season, finishing with 22 points, 11 assists and four rebounds — three of which were offensive. He’s scored at least 19 points in the last six games.

Playing was the key objective for Kelly entering Saturday’s game. He didn’t practice Friday and is taking antibiotics for a sinus infection.

“When I woke up I had a 101, and I just thought, ‘No way,’” Kelly said. “I didn’t even go to pre-game meal or nothing. When I got here, I decided to play. We don’t have that many bodies. It was like, ‘I’ll give it a shot.’ I didn’t think I was going to play that much.’”

Kelly didn’t play the final 3 minutes in the first half, the first time in five games he left the court. Less than 30 seconds into the second half, he told assistant coach LaVell Jordan he was going to vomit. Jordan told Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter, who promptly called a timeout. Kelly left the court, vomited and ran back to Lickliter’s huddle. Kelly then played the rest of the game.

Kelly scored 16 points and dished eight assists after halftime. He gave Iowa a six-point lead with 1:40 left in regulation. He passed to Jarryd Cole under the basket for a layup with 10 seconds left to knot the score at 56-56 and send the game into overtime. But Kelly saved his best for overtime, scoring nine points — all 3-pointers.

With 55 seconds left in the second overtime and Iowa leading 68-67, Kelly shot from the top of the key and banked in a 3-pointer. It was his second 3-pointer off the backboard.

“I had no idea where those were going,” Kelly said. “I had no legs, nothing. I was blessed to hit those, that’s for sure.”

Post players Tate and Cole normally rotate but instead combined for 77 minutes, including both overtime periods. Cole had 14 points and 11 rebounds and hit all five shots from the field. Both were effective against Penn State’s constant switching on defense, giving Iowa choices in the post. It also gave Iowa a 43-32 rebounding edge.

“I think we complement each other well,” Cole said. “Whenever one of us attracts so much attention, it takes pressure off either one of us and either one of us are able to produce when that happens.”

“I think we unleashed a new weapon,” Tate said. “It gets a lot of pressure off me or Jarryd being down there all by ourselves trying to rebound. It gives some teams something to think about.”

The game’s other highlights — Penn State rallying from nine-point deficit with 2:39 left, Nittany Lions guard Talor Battle scoring 26 points, Senior Day festivities and Iowa edging last year’s average attendance totals by 100 (10,861) — paled compared to Iowa’s resiliency and determination. Iowa finished 15-16 and 5-13 in the Big Ten but had lost seven games by six points or less.

“It’s definitely fitting,” Kelly said. “We need it. It’s our time, I think. Maybe we’ll put some momentum going into the Big Ten tournament.”

“We’ve had some setbacks and some rough times and these guys never hung their heads or felt sorry for themselves,” Lickliter said. “They just seized the next opportunity.”

Nothing on the line? Tell that to Penn State, who could have soared to No. 2 in the Big Ten. Now, they could miss out on a bye for this week’s Big Ten Tournament.

Nothing on the line? Not if you play basketball at Iowa.


My all-Big Ten ballot

March 3, 2009

Voting for the all Big Ten team was difficult to sasy the least. Before voting, I compiled a list of 30 players, then condensed it into groupings. I considered about 12 players for first team, and two of the best players — Purdue’s Robbie Hummel and Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan — missed significant time with injury or illness. It wasn’t easy.

Wisconsin (no Marcus Landry or Joe Krabbenhoft, ouch), Illinois (no Chester Frazier, Demetri McCamey and Mike Tisdale hurts) and Minnesota (Al Nolen) were difficult because they had so many players of similar ability. Purdue (Chris Kramer, E’Twaun Moore) and Michigan State (Goran Suton) had players that were tough omits. Penn State (Stanley Pringle) was even a toughie. The No. 3 coach selection was tough between Penn State’s Ed DeChellis and Northwestern’s Bill Carmody. Likewise, the league’s balance added to the chaos.

Anyway, here’s how I voted for the all-Big Ten basketball team; I waited until after Tuesday’s Ohio State-Iowa game to officially submit it. so fire away with your thoughts, but let’s at least be civil.

FIRST TEAM

Kalin Lucas, Michigan State

Evan Turner, Ohio State

Talor Battle, Penn State

Manny Harris, Michigan

Mike Davis, Illinois

SECOND TEAM

Robbie Hummel, Purdue

JaJuan Johnson, Purdue

Jamelle Cornley, Penn State

Raymar Morgan, Michigan State

DeShawn Sims, Michigan

THIRD TEAM

Kevin Coble, Northwestern

Craig Moore, Northwestern

Lawrence Westbrook, Minnesota

Jake Kelly, Iowa

Jason Bohannon, Wisconsin

COACH OF THE YEAR

1. Bruce Weber, Illinois; 2. Tom Izzo, Michigan State; 3. Ed DeChellis, Penn State

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR

1. Matt Gatens, Iowa; 2. William Buford, Ohio State; 3. Delvon Roe, Michigan State

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Evan Turner, Ohio State; 2. Kalin Lucas, Michigan State; 3. Talor Battle, Penn State


Kelly’s performance prompting Iowa point guard controversy?

February 23, 2009

IOWA CITY – Jake Kelly’s multi-faceted performance at point guard Sunday may re-open Iowa’s discussion at the position for both the short and the long term.

Kelly, a sophomore from Carmel, Ind., earned him the Big Ten Player of the Week Award on Monday. He is the first Iowa player to win the award since Cyrus Tate won it almost a year ago.

Kelly scored 23 points, dished nine assists and grabbed eight rebounds – career highs in all categories – to lead Iowa to a 70-60 overtime win against Michigan. Kelly, who stands 6-foot-6, usually plays an off guard for Iowa (14-13, 4-10 Big Ten) but slid over to the point. Sophomore point guard Jeff Peterson has missed Iowa’s last two games with a pulled right hamstring. Junior guard Jermain Davis, who had played the point in Peterson’s absence, is out indefinitely with a bruised left knee.

Following Sunday’s game, Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter was asked by a reporter if he expected Kelly’s performance. Lickliter cut the question short. “Are you asking why I didn’t do this earlier?” Lickliter said with a laugh. “I don’t blame you. In the way that we play, he was handling the ball a lot anyway.”

On Monday, Lickliter was asked if moving Kelly to the point could become permanent.

“Right now, it’s in Jeff’s absence obviously,” Lickliter said. “But we’re always open to what will help team progress.

“Jake obviously has done a very good job in being able to fill it. We’ve gone through a few guys, and as I said (Sunday) our perimeters usually handle quite a bit. Even though we relied on Jeff to initiate the offense, our perimeters handle it. I think there’s a certain comfort level for Jake.”

Kelly said after Sunday’s game that he enjoys playing point guard because he can dictate the game’s tempo. He seemed more efficient as the game progressed. Iowa slimmed down most of its offense and ran primarily motion sets. Kelly had just two turnovers – both in the first half – and played all 45 minutes. He scored nine points in overtime, including seven points on three of Iowa’s first four overtime possessions.

“We ran some sets but a lot of it was high ball screens and things like that,” Kelly said. “(We were) trying to get help on the roll down low with Matt (Gatens) rolling up, and that allowed us to drive lanes and kick out.”

Kelly got everyone involved, from the post to the perimeter. He assisted four of post Jarryd Cole’s five inside baskets. Kelly’s other five assists netted 3-point baskets for Iowa. He also defended against Michigan’s Manny Harris, the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, and held him to nine points.

“Jake’s concern is helping his team win,” Lickliter said. “He showed that (Sunday).”

Kelly likely will run the point again this week, this time at league leader Michigan State. Both Peterson and Davis are day-to-day, Lickliter said, but Davis could miss more time with his injury. Along with the hamstring pull, Peterson has played with a broken left wrist, which he suffered at Ohio State on Dec. 31. Peterson’s wrist will require surgery following the season.

“I really think Jeff, I believe, he’s getting close,” Lickliter said. “I do think (the hamstring pull is) an injury that could linger and nag for a long time.

“Jeff as all of our guys I’m sure, but Jeff I’ve seen, he can play with the some pain. What we’re trying to do, we don’t want to do any damage. So once (Iowa trainer) John (Streif) feel like he’s past that point, I’m sure Jeff will be available. I don’t know how much, but it’s just one of the things that nags. He can have a setback. We’re just going to have to be patient with him.”

Peterson had played at least 33 minutes in every Big Ten game before the hamstring injury. He has 106 assists to 79 turnovers and averages 10.6 points a game. Kelly averages 10.3 points, has 76 assists and 66 turnovers this year.


Kelly wins Big Ten award

February 23, 2009

From the Big Ten:

Jake Kelly earns his first weekly laurel after delivering a clutch performance in Iowa’s dramatic overtime victory over Michigan in the Hawkeye’s only game last week. The Hawkeye sophomore played all 45 minutes in Sunday’s contest and posted 23 points, eight rebounds and nine assists – all career highs. Kelly was also a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line. With the game knotted at 56-all after regulation, Kelly scored seven of Iowa’s first nine points in the extra period to give the Hawkeyes a commanding 65-58 lead with 2:17 left to play. With the win, Kelly helped the Hawkeyes improve to 2-0 in overtime this season.


Kelly’s status for opener …

November 13, 2008

Iowa sophomore guard Jake Kelly is uncertain if he’ll play in Iowa’s season opener Friday against Charleston Southern.

Kelly practiced Wednesday with a broken middle finger on his right hand, which was submerged in tape and a bandage. He suffered the broken finger last week when Cyrus Tate stepped on it in practice.

“It’s day-to-day,” Kelly said. “If I wake up Friday morning and it feels a lot better, then I’m going to play.”

Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter also is uncertain about Kelly’s condition.

“I just wait, and I really leave so much of that up to (Iowa trainer) John Streif (with) whom I have great trust,” Lickliter said. “We’re going to do what’s best for (Kelly). It’s like I know he would have wanted to play in the exhibition, but we’re going to make sure we don’t get a setback on it. We’ve waited this long, we’re going to make sure it’s healed.”

Kelly started 25 of 32 games last year and averaged 7.3 points a game.


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