Notebook: Iowa men's basketball aims for consistency

BY TORK MASON | OCTOBER 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery said he wants his team to find more consistency in 2012-13. Last season produced four wins over teams ranked in the top 20, but the Hawkeyes also had a shaky nonconference performance and lost to Campbell in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I’m expecting much more consistent effort per man, much more consistent effort at the defensive end of the floor,” McCaffery said during the team’s media day on Thursday.

The third-year head coach said turnovers and improved defensive effort are major factors in finding consistency. The Hawkeyes want to push the tempo this year, and he said they can’t be sloppy and expect to have success.

“You can’t turn the ball over and not defend and expect to win. That can’t happen,” he said. “So if we cut down on our turnovers, play a little better defense, and fewer second-shot opportunities, the shooting percentages are going to go down. Our running opportunities are going to increase, and we’ll certainly be better off.”

Junior forward Melsahn Basabe said the key to finding that consistency lies in their routine.

“The only way you can get consistent is by being consistent about working hard every day,” he said. “Having consistent habits will lead to consistent results.”

Marble to replace Gatens as the “go-to”

Matt Gatens shouldered the brunt of Iowa’s offense last season. But Gatens is gone, and the Hawkeyes now need someone to fill his role as the team’s go-to player. Junior Devyn Marble is poised to do just that.

Marble was second on the team with 11.5 points per game and 126 assists last season. He spent significant time playing point guard, but McCaffery said Marble will spend most of his time off the ball. Marble said he’s prepared for the higher expectations.

“A big thing I wanted to do was I wanted to make sure I came in good shape. I’m in really good shape this year,” Marble said. “That was a big key. I got stronger, more explosive. I’ve been working on my legs and quickness. So I’m ready. I just need November to come around.”

Freshmen will make Hawkeyes faster, more intense 

McCaffery came to Iowa with the goal of becoming a fast, high-pressure team. He now has the players to make that goal reality, thanks to the freshman class. He said depth has been the biggest obstacle to fully implementing his system.

“We do have those kinds of players,” McCaffery said. “I think in the last couple of years we did obviously last year, but even our first year, we could play like that, but we weren’t deep enough.

We’re going to press, but how are we going to press with a short roster and a short bench? You’re just going to get beat. You have to be prudent with how you decide how much you’re going to employ here.”

The point of attack will be handled by freshmen Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons, who McCaffery said are both capable defenders, and he’s comfortable relying on them as the first line of defense.

Clemmons said he and his fellow newcomers bring an added dimension to the team.

“I say me and Mike bring that bang to the game,” he said. “The fast-paced, pushing the ball up the court, just running up and down, playing defense and getting after it. And when you’ve got a 7-footer, [Woodbury], he brings that bang down low with his scoring ability, passing ability, all that.”

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