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Before stepping on campus, Silverstein impressing

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JULY 09, 2014 5:00 AM

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Despite finishing 1-10 in conference play last season, Iowa men’s tennis may be poised for an improvement next season. An incoming class headlined by five-star recruit Josh Silverstein has coach Steve Houghton thinking big.

“Josh has it all in terms of what were looking for in a recruit,” Houghton said. “He’s one of those guys who will have an impact on the court and in recruiting as well.”

Entering his 35th year as Iowa’s head coach, Houghton believes Silverstein will be instrumental in a potential turnaround of the program. But it’s not just his talent that has the coach excited. For an 18-year-old who hasn’t begun his college career, he is making his presence felt.

“When I looked at Iowa, I loved the coaches, players, and campus,” Silverstein said. “I knew if I could persuade others to visit, they would love it, too.”

As much as he said he loves everything about Iowa, the 17th-ranked player in the country is not a fan of last year’s record.

“I want to work on making Iowa a powerhouse,” Silverstein said. “And it takes more than one player to make good team.”

Silverstein helped recruit incoming freshman Lefteris Theodorou, and he is focusing his attention on high-school prospects — among other things.

To say his summer has been busy would be a gross understatement. His intensive training includes numerous practices and workouts a day in College Park, Maryland, at one of the top training facilities in the country.

“Results come from hard work,” Silverstein said. “If I stay committed to the lifestyle of tennis, I’ll keep getting better.”

Silverstein has been active and extremely successful on the summer circuit. He took second in singles and doubles at the National Open in Pennsylvania in May and was the singles runner-up in the Eastern Sectional Qualifier in June.

He’s shown that he can compete with the top junior players in the world and is ready to take the next step.

Silverstein chose Iowa over Ohio State, a traditional powerhouse. Rather than going with the established program, he opted to help turn one around.

Playing time was a big factor in his decision, and he chose Iowa because he presumably will get more playing time right away and play at a higher position than he would on a loaded roster such as that in Columbus, Ohio.

“One thing you see immediately with Josh is he wants to be a professional,” assistant coach Ross Wilson said. “He is enthusiastic, loves to train, and promotes the program and university.”

Silverstein may be a freshman, but the lefty from Great Neck, New York, will take on on some of the conference’s best players. Developing his game and building up his new program are new challenges his short, but impressive track record suggest he will embrace.

“He’s one of the top two or three players I’ve ever recruited,” Houghton said. “He has the potential to be a great leader."


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