Guards take the spotlight
While the Prime Time League is obviously a developmental league first and foremost, another unavoidable element to the league is that fans and coaches take the opportunity to compare how players stack up against one another, even if those players come from the same program. This was very much the case for Iowa and Northern Iowa fans in the July 31 championship game.
The title bout between Randy Larson’s and Ron Nove’s teams featured perhaps the most star-studded guard matchup of the entire season, and it could have major implications in a minutes battle for some Hawkeye guards and Panther guards.
Larson’s eventual title-winning team had Iowa’s Anthony Clemmons matched up against Nove’s Trey Dickerson, the talented but unproven juco transfer. There has been a lot of discussion in recent weeks surrounding Dickerson and Clemmons, particularly after Clemmons made comments about not wanting to share his minutes, but Clemmons made it clear there was no ill will coming into the game.
“I talked to Trey before we got here,” Clemmons said. “He’s a tremendous player; a lot of people are excited to see him play. And a lot of people were excited to see this matchup.”
“We just talked about how we wanted to come out and have fun and compete,” Dickerson said.
With that said, the intensity on the court was palpable.
“Whenever Anthony and I play against each other we go at it,” Dickerson said. “We go at it in practice, so we know each other’s games now. I think it’s really going to pay off, and we wanted to come out and show the fans what we can do.”
Clemmons’ team came out on top, and that was largely because of his picking up the role as lead dog with Adam Woodbury playing in Estonia. Clemmons finished with 26 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds, and that included 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point range and a dagger from the corner in the waning seconds of the second half.
Dickerson had 13 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds in the losing effort. To contrast with Clemmons’ accurate shooting, Dickerson went 0-of-6 from behind the arc.
Clemmons and Dickerson weren’t the only two guards competing with a little more than just the Prime Time title on the line. Co-MVP and Northern Iowa guard Matt Bohannon, playing for Larson’s team, was matched up against Nove’s Deon Mitchell. Mitchell was Northern Iowa’s starting point guard last season.
Bohannon has shown off a very well-rounded game this summer, and as a result, the Panthers have a bit of a different dynamic between them.
“Deon and I don’t really compete for anything,” Bohannon said. “He’s a point guard, and I’m a little bit more of a shooting guard or an off-guard. We both played a lot the last couple years, and it’s fun to have him out here.”
Mitchell’s pass-first mentality was on display in the championship; his 8 assists were tops in the game. He also had 10 points and 2 rebounds. Bohannon, however, has been one of the surprises of the summer and showed why Panther fans should be excited about their backcourt this season.
Bohannon had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in helping bring home the title.
Fans enjoyed watching the matchups, but in the end, it’s nothing the players aren’t used to.
“I’ve had competition since I stepped on a court,” Clemmons said. “All I do is go out and compete.”
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