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 gave you sneak peak at the future of Isaiah Moss. Today, can Dom Uhl become Peter Jok’s Number 2?
“WHO DOES NUMBER 2 WORK FOR? WHO... DOES... NUMBER... 2... WORK... FOR?”
We can only hope that it’s Fran McCaffery and that Number 2 is newest locker room nickname for Dom Uhl (eye patch and all).
The junior forward out of Germany is quite the (if not, most) interesting character on this Iowa roster (in my opinion). I have no idea what we’re going to get out of him in 2016-17. I know what he needs to be, but the jury is out if he has it in him to make it happen.
During his nearly 1,000 total minutes played in the last two seasons, Uhl has either infuriated me to levels I never thought imaginable (he seems to be the token “If I had his height/athletic ability” guy among Iowa fans) or he escalates the blood flow in my body from pure excitement.
And there is no in between.
It’s not surprising then that no matter how hard I try, no matter how many times I have written and rewritten this piece, I can only see this upcoming season going in one of either two totally different directions for Uhl:
- Uhl, as one of only three upperclassmen, becomes a leader on this team. He finally takes that true (but raw) talent and turns it into an extremely useful inside/outside offensive game. McCaffery plays him (mostly) on the perimeter (because he’s done nothing but shine as the small forward in practice). This, of course, is where Uhl is most comfortable. From there he cements himself as one of the most diverse and multi-talented “Number 2” options in the Big Ten. Uhl becomes a white board nightmare for the mismatches he creates to opposing defenses. When guarded by a slower, plodding big man, he is able to put his athleticism to work by blowing by his defender and getting to the rim (also becoming one of Iowa’s most fouled players). When guarded by smaller guards, he smartly runs “Mouse in the House” isolation's on the block. He also is more equipped from outside showing off a more consistent three point shot.
- Uhl is forced to play in the post as the lone upperclassmen who CAN play the four and five spots, that the coaching staff truly trusts. Ahmad Wagner/Tyler Cook/Cordell Pemsl (unfortunately) are still a little too young to earn the majority of the minutes for McCaffery at the two post positions while Isaiah Moss, Nicholas Baer and Dale Jones outshine Uhl from the outside. While the minutes go slightly up for Uhl, the stats don’t follow as he is forced to expend too much of his energy banging with the big bodies of the Big Ten on the defensive end.
That’s all I see.
If you have something or see something else, please, I beg of you to say something. I want to believe in some sort of consistent ground, somewhere in the middle of either of these two scenarios. I just... can’t.
At the end of the day, I think that it’s time for Uhl to you know what or get off the pot. He has the opportunity to make a mark on this program and become the poster boy for what positionless athletes can achieve under McCaffery and this Iowa staff.
And while it pains me to write it, much is the same for Uhl coming into the 2016-17 as it was last year. Can he finally take that step up and become Dr. Peter “Evil” Jok’s, Number 2? Or will he find himself relegated to back up and defensive duties behind the bevy of potentially more “ready” prospects?
We’ll soon see.
But here’s to hoping that Dom Uhl likes to live dangerously: