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Three takeaways from Prime Time League tryouts

BY DANNY PAYNE | JUNE 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Prime Time League kicked off Sunday with tryouts and a draft to make up the teams. Dozens of players from Iowa colleges and high schools took part in the tryouts; however, none of the Hawkeye basketball players participated. Below are three story lines leading up to the season-opener, which is scheduled for Thursday.

Watch out for the twins

Identical (seriously, these two couldn’t look more alike) twins Steven and Michael Soukup are back for their second year in Prime Time. After playing for coach Ray Swetella last year, the pair went to Southeastern Community College in Burlington.

The Soukups did not play much in their first season as Blackhawks, but that didn’t seem to hinder them on Sunday. They played on separate teams, which they do not prefer, but they had a strong morning that was enough to get them drafted for their second year. Michael Soukup went in the eighth round to Prime Time director and founder Randy Larson’s team. Steven Soukup will play for Swetalla again.

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“We really liked Coach Swetella; he was a good coach, learned a lot from him, it was a lot of fun,” Steven Soukup said.

Each team is allowed to have two Hawkeye players. Larson chose Adam Woodbury and Anthony Clemmons, and Swetalla picked Mike Gesell and newcomer Dominique Uhl.

‘The best player here’

Former Iowa City West standout Deondre Alexander lit up the tryouts and was subsequently taken in the third round by Dan Ahrens. The 6-3 shooting guard’s most impressive play of the day occurred after he missed a 3-point shot at one end of the court. Appearing frustrated for a brief moment, Alexander sprinted back down the court and sent an opposing player’s attempt at a lay-up into the wall with authority.

That play, added to a large number of strong drives and sound defense, put the second-year Prime Timer in high regards with coach Kevin Lehman.

“I mean, he’s the best player here,” Lehman said.

After he was kicked off West’s team during his senior season in 2013 for disciplinary reasons, Alexander played for State Fair Community College in Missouri last season, averaging 11.3 points per game and 3.4 rebounds per game. He will play with forward Jarrod Uthoff and newcomer Brady Ellingson.

A chance for Roth

Taylor Roth said it’s always been a dream of his to play basketball for Iowa. Entering his senior year, that dream will not be realized. But he will get to play on a team with Peter Jok and Okey Ukah and take a bit of a consolation prize.

Lehman took Roth — who graduated in 2010 from Camanche — in the final round on Sunday evening. He was one of the only Iowa students to participate in tryouts. An onlooker at the tryouts half-jokingly called him a scoring machine, but Roth had different thoughts.

“I usually try not to keep track of how many points I have,” he said despite knocking down numerous shots all over the court.

Sunday wasn’t an exception — the 6-2 guard couldn’t say how many points he scored.


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