The Hawkeyes men’s basketball team will be looking to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006 in the upcoming season. In order to do so, the big men will have to work on their skillsets during the offseason.
Iowa made significant strides in head coach Fran McCaffery’s third year. The Hawkeyes racked up 25 wins, finished in the top half of the Big Ten, and made it to the NIT Championship game. Nine key contributors from last year’s team will be back and Iowa will add talented newcomers Jared Uthoff and Peter Jok.
Sophomore to be center Adam Woodbury came to Iowa City as one of the top 50 recruits in the class of 2012. The Sioux City native had an inconsistent first year on campus. The talent and offensive skill set is there. He has the ability to average a double-double. To do so, Woodbury will have to bulk up and refine his skills. The brunt of his workload should take place in the weight room. He’s only 230 pounds, which is fairly light for his seven foot frame. The Black and Gold big man had difficulty against teams with physically imposing post presences, like Michigan State’s Adrian Payne and Derrick Nix. He competed hard but looked over-matched against the Big Ten elite. If Woodbury can put on 15-20 pounds of muscle then he could see a jump similar to the one Meyers Leonard made in his second season at the University of Illinois.
Gabe Olaseni is the backup center on the Iowa roster. The junior to be is 6’10 225 and possesses great athleticism capable of drawing oohs and ahhs from the crowd. The England native is still raw as he’s relatively new to the game of basketball. Olaseni is already an active defensive presence in the paint for the Hawkeyes. When he and Melshan Basabe are on the floor they combine to create a daunting shot-blocking tandem that controls the paint. What he needs to work on is developing a more consistent offensive attack. Olaseni has potential to be a dangerous post player if he can add a few go to post moves along with a consistent midrange jumper to his offensive repertoire.
Overall the future is looking bright for McCaffery’s squad. The Hawkeyes will go into next season with NCAA tournament aspirations. The development of their centers will be important to a successful season. Olaseni and Woodbury need to major roles in 2013-2014 if the Hawkeyes want to make a postseason run.