Prime Time League holds tryouts

BY SAM ODEYEMI | JUNE 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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Forty-two basketball players turned out to compete in the Prime Time League tryouts at the Field House on June 11.

The league is poised for another summer as it enters its 25th year, and league director Randy Larson spoke very highly about the style of play.

“In our game, you have a pickup atmosphere, but you have a coach saying, ‘This is how you are going to do it — if you don’t do it that way, you won’t play,’ ” Larson said. “These men learn how to play whole-style basketball — [when you] get the ball moving, you get a better shot after eight passes instead of two. You have to set screens, talk on defense, and do all the little things to win.”

The participants at the tryouts were a variety of players from local high schools, Northern Iowa, Temple University in Philadelphia, and Coe College. Players from the Iowa men’s basketball team will play in the league but didn’t have to try out.

With an abundance of shooters and wing players at the tryouts, league coaches said their glaring needs would be point guard and center. There was an assortment of talented players, but a few stood out in particular.

Okey Ukah

Ukah recently graduated from Iowa City West, and he hasn’t decided where he will play in the fall. He is 6-7 with a lot of raw talent. He stood out defensively with his hustle and shot-blocking.

“I just want to show [the coaches] my athleticism,” he said. “I know what I’ve been working on, and I know I can add to a team.”

Ukah said he wants to show he is able to play with other Division-I players on this stage.

“Even though I’m being looked at as a walk-on, I deserve to play at a high level,” he said. “I’m ready for it.”

Anthony Lee

Lee is a versatile 6-9 forward from Davenport. The native of Columbia, Md., averaged 23 points and 14.0 rebound per game as a senior at West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Fla., and he recently completed his first year at Temple.

He can handle the ball and play both on the wing and in the paint, and he also made his presence felt on the defensive end by blocking shots and grabbing boards. He has only played a few times since he had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back in January, so he’s still getting his conditioning back, but showed a pretty left-handed jump-hook and good footwork.

Andre Murphy

This will be Murphy’s second year in Prime Time. The point guard stands only 5-10, but he is very quick and a solid shooter and playmaker. The fifth-year Iowa senior, who tried to walk on to the Hawkeye men’s team last year, said he wants to try again in 2011.

“I’m just out here trying to contribute,” Murphy said. “They told me I didn’t have to show up [to the tryouts], but I still wanted to show to show the coaches I’m still around. I’m here, I’ve improved my game, and I’m trying to get to the next level.”

At least one coach noticed. Kevin Sanders, who is in his fifth year coaching in the Prime Time League, said Murphy showed all the attributes of a good guard.

“You have to have a point guard that can make the right decision and motivate your team,” he said. “I believe I see that with Andre.”

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