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2014-15 Iowa Preview: The Bigs

There may not be as many bodies for Fran McCaffery to choose from, but Iowa still boasts one of the most formidable trios of big men in the Big Ten

Matthew Holst

Melsahn Basabe's departure and Kyle Meyer's transfer will mean more minutes for senior Aaron White, junior Adam Woodbury and senior Gabe Olaseni. Incoming freshman Dom Uhl may be an option at times if all goes according to plan.

The Starters

When the buzzer sounded at the end of the Hawkeyes' First Four overtime loss to Tennessee, the Roy Devyn Marble era ended and the Aaron White era began. The power-forward is now the face of the program (albeit for one season) and is expected to be one of the best big men not only in the Big Ten but in the nation. In some ways White's third-team All-Big Ten selection last season was a bit of a disappointment given all the tools he displays at times, but then again the same can be said about the Hawkeyes as a whole. The Strongsville, Ohio native averaged only 8.5 points and 5 rebounds in Iowa's final four contests including a forgettable 1 for 5 shooting performance against the Volunteers in the NCAA Tournament. Simply put, as White goes the Hawkeyes go. It's tough to ask someone who led last year's squad in rebounds per game (6.7), field-goal percentage (58.4) and free-throw percentage (80.7) to be even better, but the senior will have to be if he wants to seize the reins of the program.

Speaking of asking for more, Iowa fans and Roy Williams are ready to see Adam Woodbury finally live up to the high hopes attached to him coming out of high school. The 7' 1" center's first two seasons were schizophrenic; inconsistent minutes and hair-pulling fouls were followed by flashes of brilliant defense and dominant post-play. Head coach Fran McCaffery has displayed a quick leash on Woodbury at times due to early fouls (avg. 2.5 per game) and a deep bench but this season no such luxury exists. Instead, the junior will be forced to take on several more minutes per game than the 16 he has averaged the last two seasons and his offensive numbers (5.7 PPG and 3.9 RPG) need to jump to at least third-team All Big-Ten levels. Woodbury has started every game since arriving on campus yet has played 30+ minutes in only one contest (2014 NCAA Tournament vs. Tennessee) so it's safe to say the native Iowan's maturity on the court may dictate the 2014 Hawkeyes' season.

The Bench

Senior Gabe Olaseni is undoubtedly the Hawkeyes' most important bench-player as he will at times be paired on the court with Woodbury to form what Iowa fans hope is the new version of the Twin Towers. Fantasies aside, a point can be made that the London native gave the Hawkeyes last season what Woodbury didn't: 6.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG in almost 17 minutes per night. "British Air" has made gigantic strides from his freshman to junior campaigns and the challenge this season will be if the big man can develop any sort of jump-shot or offense on the block. If Olaseni can further his development it'll be tough to keep him off the boards and on the bench.

After Olaseni is a lot of unknown. Junior Jarrod Uthoff will start at small-forward but can play PF if need be because of his 6'9" frame and incoming freshman Dom Uhl could see some minutes when Woodbury and Olaseni get into foul trouble. How McCaffery uses the 6'8" Uhl will obviously become more apparent as the season wanes on.