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Jok gets things going against Maryland-Baltimore County

BY DANNY PAYNE | DECEMBER 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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Ahead of Iowa’s matchup with North Carolina, head coach Fran McCaffery had a message for Peter Jok: simplify and don’t press. Up to that point, the sophomore had shot 7-of-24 from the field and 2-of-11 from beyond the 3-point arc in seven games.

In the Hawkeyes’ win over the Tar Heels, Jok went 0-of-4 from the floor and played a season-low nine minutes in his worst game of the season.

When the team got back to Iowa City, the tables turned. Jok had a message for McCaffery: Give me more minutes.

“I told Coach that I need to play more because I wanted to work on playing my own pace out there and being more comfortable,” Jok said.

McCaffery honored his request, and although it was against astronomically inferior Maryland-Baltimore County, Jok tied his career-high in minutes with 24, hit a career-high four triples, and dropped a career-high 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting in a 77-47 win Dec. 6 in Carver-Hawkeye.

Jok got his stroke down early, hitting the first two deep shots he took, and he managed 9 points before he missed any variety of bucket.

“He never lacks confidence, so that’s a good thing,” Iowa center Gabe Olaseni said. “Just seeing the ball go through the hoop, a couple lay-ups, free throws, a couple 3s … once he scores, I think we’re a lot better.”

Olaseni is correct in terms of confidence. Jok rarely passes up an open opportunity to shoot. He has the prototypical shooter’s mentality, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

During his cold stretch, it was the latter. He had trouble getting in a rhythm and because he does take a high number of shots, things can pile up quickly. Another piece to the puzzle was because Jok said he’s never gone through a stretch where he shot that poorly in his life, not even in high school.

He looked to some of his former AAU coaches and teammates for advice to break out of the slump, and said they all gave him the same message: Just keep shooting.

“For me, if I miss a shot, I just move on,” Jok said. “I feel like the next shot is going to go in, but if it doesn’t go in, I just keep shooting.”

Even more of a testament to Jok’s confidence, he said there were some plays he left on the floor, and although it was statistically his best showing of the year, there were things to improve upon.

Obviously the game against the Retrievers can be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s encouraging for Jok, McCaffery, and Company to see the performance Jok had.

As Olaseni said, if Jok can get going, Iowa can stretch the floor and be a more dangerous team. Now, the Hawkeyes are just hoping he keeps things up.

“He’s been really flawless. He’s had some great workouts,” McCaffery said. “He shot it really well after we got back [from North Carolina], and it’s great to see him get going and the guys look for him.”

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.


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