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BTPowerhouse 25 - #3 Peter Jok

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BTPowerhouse's staff counts down the best players in the Big Ten heading into the 2016-’17 season.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

In the months leading up to the 2016-’17 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.

I am proudly here to say/write/humblebrag that Peter Jok has come in ranked as our third best player in the Big Ten conference heading into the 2016-17 season. There is little doubt that the stars have aligned for the senior shooting guard to breakout as the main offensive source for a very young and inexperienced Hawkeyes team. With a little injury luck and some added NBA-level skills, Jok could very well be the best shooting guard in the Big Ten, and the country.

BTPowerhouse 25 - #3 Peter Jok

  • Eligibility: Senior
  • Career Totals: 93 games, 872 points, 225 rebounds, 109 assists, 68 steals
  • 2015-16’s averages: 27.7 minutes, 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals
  • Positional Role: FLAME THROWER... and, I guess, shooting guard

After tearing his patellar tendon as a freshman — an injury that created plenty of problems during the remainder of his high school career — many pundits, coaches and recruitniks didn’t think Jok would be able to reach an elite, Division-I level of play. As some powerful programs started pulling their offers, Fran McCaffery stuck around and won the commitment of a player that probably wouldn’t have given the Hawkeyes — who were still rebuilding at the time — a second look had he been healthy.

For his part, Jok has more than rewarded the Iowa coaching staff for sticking with him in a time of need. As a junior, Jok basically doubled up in every statistical category from his sophomore season, playing a majority of his minutes as the second banana behind Jarrod Uthoff.

Going into this year, it’s clear that this is Jok’s team now and if Iowa hopes to return to the NCAA Tournament, he’s going to have to take an NBA-level leap... something that is absolutely a possibility.

Player Strengths

McCaffery saw the potential weapons Jok possessed a long, long time ago:

"When I first saw him, I thought he could play the one," McCaffery said. "He was a big guard and he was a big presence, but the more I was around him, I said this guy can really make shots, as a shot maker, but also who can drive, who can post."

Check. Check. And Check.

Jok does a bevy of things well on the offensive end. He’s got one of the quickest releases in the country; which makes him dangerous from anywhere on the court. Jok’s shot is at its best when he catches the ball already in the pocket which limits the ball’s total amount of space and time traveled. When that all comes together — whether he’s being pinched, or in open space — it’s a beautiful thing:

He’s also mastered moving around without the ball in his hands. So many times last season, Jok was a drifter, occupying empty spaces in collapsed defenses that were being forced to stop Jarrod Uthoff and the athletic slashers that surrounded him:

This will surely change this season as Jok will be the focus of all opposing defenses. He won’t be able to just sneak around into open gaps anymore. Where he can — and is going to have to — make a killing will be on P&R’s with someone like Dale Jones or in the two man game with Tyler Cook on the block for easy dump and kick-outs.

Area’s of Improvement

Stamina and defense are always going to be buzzwords when discussing the negatives of Jok’s game. He absolutely improved in both last season, but it can’t end there. He will need to increase his defensive effort once again as he will — for better or worse —have to be the defensive captain of this team.

Ball handling is another big area that Jok HAS to improve on. Last year he averaged 1.4 turnovers per game and it always seemed to be when he tried to put the ball on the floor.

Here’s hoping the Iowa staff has developed some sort of training regiment like this:

Player Projection

Peter Jok is going to be an All-Big Ten First Team selection. There’s no question in my mind about this. He is the best offensive player on a young team that is probably going to struggle to score at certain points of the year. Jok is going to have to be that safety outlet. While I think that maybe his overall efficient percentages may go down due to tougher defensive schemes, his output will surely be higher.

But more importantly, I think with the season many of us are expecting him to have, Jok will end up hearing his name called in the upcoming NBA Draft... something that seemed borderline impossible a few years ago.

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'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings: