Woodbury shows potential in Iowa men’s basketball victory

BY TOM CLOS | DECEMBER 03, 2012 6:30 AM

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It took eight games, but Iowa basketball fans finally got to witness what made Adam Woodbury a top-50 national recruit coming out of high school.

After an up-and-down opening month to his college career, the freshman center turned in a complete performance in the Hawkeyes’ 88-59 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 1.

The Sioux City native scored a career-high 13 points with 5 rebounds and was a dominant presence down low, finishing with eight of the team’s 38 points in the paint. He was also deadly from all spots on the court, going 5-6 from the field against the Islanders.

“It was definitely one of [my best games]. I felt like I got it going early and I kept it up through the rest of the game,” Woodbury said. “I was happy with how I played.”

The rookie big man proved he has the potential to be more than just a post player, showing expanded range near the midway point of the first half by stepping outside the key and knocking down a jumper from just inside the 3-point line.

“Their shot blocker played inside a lot, so he was going to block a shot and didn’t pick me up,” Woodbury said. “I shoot that shot pretty regularly in practice and felt I had to take it in the game.”

Woodbury also had success at a place where he has struggled so far: the free-throw line. It was the weakest aspect of his game entering college and proved to be through six games this season — the rookie shot just 61 percent from the charity stripe.

But against Corpus Christi, the 7-footer made 3-of-4.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym and been working hard with the coaches [on making free throws],” Woodbury said. “I shoot them every day in practice, and I think it’s been showing.”

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery was impressed by the center’s imposing performance against the Islanders. He trusts Woodbury’s work ethic, suggesting that he will one day become one of the premier free-throw-shooting big men in the country.

“He’s really worked on it. He’s confident up there.” McCaffery said. “I think he’ll be a 75 percent free-throw shooter before long.”

The head coach noted that Woodbury’s ability to stay out of early foul trouble will be crucial if the team wants to be successful when the level of competition picks up.

“[Adam’s] getting better at that, and he has to, because we need him out there,” McCaffery said. “He’s got to be a defensive presence without fouling.”

The freshman agreed, acknowledging that avoiding early foul trouble has been a problem this season. He felt that conquering that issue was a big part of his breakout game.

“I felt the game came a lot easier for me, staying out of foul trouble,” Woodbury said. “That was a big key for me, just to get more time in there and get more comfortable.”

When Woodbury is at his best, the Hawkeyes have the ability to score seemingly at will. He adds a dimension to an Iowa offense that has lacked a low-post presence for the better part of the last decade.

Most importantly though, the center has the power to make everyone around him that much better as well.

“[Adam] came out really aggressive, and they were giving him a good post position,” junior guard Devyn Marble said. “If their big guys want to play behind him, then we’ll just continue to feed him and let him score.”

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