Gatens closing in on return


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When Matt Gatens walked out of the Carver-Hawkeye Arena tunnel barefoot, he wasn't just missing his shoes.

For the first time in two weeks, the Iowa shooting guard wasn't sporting a clunky black cast on his arm.

Gatens tore a tendon in his left hand during practice on Oct. 26 and had surgery two days later. While his hand is still supported by a thick brace, the Iowa City native said his doctor was pleased with his progress.

"[The doctor] was pretty excited," Gatens said. "He thought it felt right and felt good. I'm excited about how it's healing up — it's just really stiff from being in a cast for a while."

Whether Gatens makes an appearance in Iowa's season-opener on Nov. 14 will depend on how he responds to practice this week. The 21-year-old said he feels "ready to go" after spending the past two weeks riding a stationary bike and running, but he hasn't handled the ball since his surgery.

"[Gatens has] maintained himself physically," head coach Fran McCaffery said. "From a cardiovascular standpoint, he'll be fine. But in terms of getting your timing back down where it was, I mean, he was really in a groove. So it's understandable that he might be a little rusty."

McCaffery will have plenty of options if Gatens is unable to play against South Dakota State on Nov. 14. His tentative starting lineup — sophomores Cully Payne and Eric May, freshmen Zach McCabe and Melsahn Basabe, and senior Jarryd Cole — combined for 60 points in Sunday's 111-66 exhibition blowout of Illinois-Springfield.

"I'm not too worried, more than I would be for any other game," Basabe said about Iowa's season-opener. "I'm still a new college player, so obviously I'm excited and a little nervous, but I definitely think the exhibition got me more comfortable. Now I just have to keep playing basketball and getting better every day."

Hawkeyes sign Oglesby

Cedar Rapids native Josh Oglesby signed a national letter of intent to play for the Hawkeyes next year, McCaffery said. Oglesby gave a oral commitment in late September.

The 6-5 Oglesby is considered a three-star recruit and the No. 36 shooting guard in the class of 2011 by rivals.com. The Cedar Rapids Washington standout averaged 16.3 points and was named second team all-state and first team all-conference as a junior.

"He's an outstanding shooter," McCaffery said in a statement. "But more importantly, he's a really good basketball player. Josh wanted to be a Hawkeye, and there's no question in my mind that he's going to have a tremendous career."

Stokes to redshirt

Freshman Darius Stokes has probably seen his last action of the season, McCaffery said. The walk-on forward recorded five points in Iowa's exhibition with Illinois-Springfield.

McCaffery said Stokes has potential — he compared the former Linn-Mar High School standout to former NBA All-Star Dennis Rodman — but said he'll redshirt the rest of the year, barring injury to the Hawkeye frontcourt.

"If he wants it, he could be a good player here," the coach said. "There are very few people at 6-7 who are that athletic."

'Bring a Buddy' games

The Hawkeyes' next two games — on Nov. 14 and Nov. 16 — have been designated "Bring a Buddy" games. Students with season tickets are encouraged to bring a friend, who will receive free admission. Those who bring a buddy to both games will be eligible to win a variety of prizes.

Student season tickets are available for $75, plus a postage and handling fee. The first 500 students to buy season tickets will receive a free T-shirt in addition to their "Hawks Nest" shirt.

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