College basketball OFFICIALLY starts November 11, 2016. As a frequent flyer of the BTPowerhouse website, I’m positive you already knew this. BUT with less than 100 days until the Iowa Hawkeyes open up against the Kennesaw State Owls at Carver Hawkeye Arena, I felt I had no choice but to go Hard Body Karate and give our wonderful community members the finest Iowa Hawkeyes prep guide for the 2016-17 season.
Last week we looked into the prospect of Tyler Cook becoming a borderline super hero. Today, we look at the 2016-17 point guard position.
This might be the first time — probably since Cully Payne was jump passing his way through the Big Ten schedule for Todd Lickliter — that a majority of the Iowa faithful have some legit questions at the point guard position. The cupboard seems a little bare, BUT if you squint your eyes and squat down low, there’s something shiny and new in the bottom corner.
Two little delectable morsel’s who, when paired together, could combine to be one young and solid point guard... as long as one of them continues to listen to the coaching staff and the other hits open shots from downtown (something those that watch Iowa basketball haven’t seen consistently the past few seasons).
Iowa will start their first game with a ton of young, inexperienced talent all over this roster. But worrying about the point guard position is probably the last thing any of us should be worrying about. Since taking over the program in 2010, Fran McCaffery has done one solid job at finding and creating talent to run his offense.
Go back to the start of this new basketball era and you’ll remember that Bryce Cartwright stepped in adequately as the stop gap in 2011 and 2012 as McCaffery scrambled to just obtain dudes that could play basketball above an intramural level. After that, Dev Marble took on the point guard duties full time — mainly because nobody else on the roster could get him the ball when he wanted it and where he wanted it. Once Marble graduated, he handed the reigns over full time to Mike Gesell — who I believe will always be one of the most underrated players in the McCaffery era, and quite possibly Iowa history — and the indispensable Anthony Clemmons (who I’m going to miss so much if only because I loved listening to Big Ten Network announcers gush about his Lansing, Michigan grit).
McCaffery and his staff have figured it out every year they’ve been in Iowa City. And I fully believe they will do so again.
Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m too optimistic. But as someone that was working his way through his Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree from 2007-2011, I watched guys like Payne and Tony Freeman and Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson and Anthony Tucker all transfer out of Iowa.
I watched some of the worst point guard play, perhaps in Iowa history. LIVE. Every game. I didn’t miss one. There was period in my life when Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson leaving gave me feelings.
Jake Kelly and Jeff Peterson.
So this somewhat blurry outlook of the point guard position for the 2016-17 season honestly, doesn’t worry me.
I get that the roster is chalk full of unproven (but intriguing), uber-athletic, work-in-progress prospects that aren’t land locked as “point guard only” type players (i.e. Christian Williams). I understand that the one that “is” a point guard is ultimately a 4-star string bean of a freshman who the next time he’s labeled as a “get the team into the offense/pass first” type of guy, it will be the first.
But I believe in the flashes I’ve seen from Williams, the #SilentKiller.
And the overall scoring talent of Jordan Bohannon:
But more importantly, I believe in this staff’s ability to mold both of these two totally different players into one really lethal point guard.
From the reports that came out towards the end of the season and during the summer, McCaffery is impressed with Williams for his length (not shocking), his consistency in running the offense — like Gesell did for the last two years — and for his ability to match up with multiple positions on the defensive end.
And Bohannon is, well, a Bohannon. He can shoot from the outside as well as any other point guard prospect in the nation. He’s not overly athletic and won’t dazzle you with his ability to get to the rim, but if and when defenses bend to stop guys like Ahmad Wagner and Tyler Cook in the post, the freshman point guard is a kick-it-out-for-three nightmare.
And I love kick-it-out-for-three threats that can also play point guard. It’s everything we (sometimes unfairly) wanted Mike Gesell to be.
If Williams takes any sort of positive step this offseason and if Bohannon can get some of those freshman mistakes out of the way early in practice and in the non-conference schedule, the Hawkeyes have their next great two headed monster at the helm of their offense.
And suddenly that barren cupboard is once again fully stocked.