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Prime Time highlights firepower

BY KYLE MANN | JULY 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Prime Time League is off to an exciting start this summer, and tonight, the players will try to keep the momentum going with a worthy follow-up to last week’s action.

Several of Prime Time’s stars will take stage; one, Jarrod Uthoff, who is returning from the Nike Basketball Academy, will face the challenge of scoring more points than Mike Gesell and Matt Bohannon did last week.

With Gesell (52) and Bohannon (41) combining for 93 points for Brendan Unkrich’s Pelling/Comfort Care, the duo single-handedly outscored two of the other five teams in action last week. 

Fortunately for Randy Larson’s Westport/Beat the Bookstore, perhaps no team is more equipped to defend the perimeter. With 6-9 Uthoff, 6-8 Dom Uhl, and spry 6-4 Northern Iowa guard Aarias Austin, the team’s defenders have the athleticism and length to stay in front of their men and keep a hand near the ball.

Uthoff and Uhl in particular will be intriguing to watch defend in unison; the two could ideally form one of the more intimidating defensive wing duos not only in Prime Time but the Big Ten as well.

“I really don’t see any reason why we couldn’t be,” Uthoff said.

At 6 p.m., two games will offer another opportunity to see several of Iowa’s incoming freshmen, including one who is rising above the others early in the summer.

Six-four guard Andrew Fleming is off to a hot start for Jess Settles’Marion Iron, leading his team with 24 points per game on 44 percent shooting from beyond the arc, and he will try to continue that against Dan Ahrens’ Jill Armstrong squad.

In his initial games, Fleming has appreciated the support from fellow Hawkeye Brady Ellingson and former Iowa guard Matt Gatens.

“They just told me to catch-and-shoot, because they know I can make them,” Fleming said. “I’ve been making them, so it’s a credit to them.”

If Fleming is in fact the sharpshooter he has appeared to be, he could be an impact player sooner rather than later for an Iowa offense he feels is particularly conducive to his skills. 

“Whenever you’re playing with shooters like I’m going to be playing with at Iowa, the half court is going to spread out, and there are going to be guys open,” he said. “If I’m hot, or Brady Ellingson is hot, if we get hot as a team, it’s going to be deadly.”

Settles assembled a similarly guard-heavy roster that has showcased Fleming’s ability as well as Gatens’. As a player without college experience, Fleming said he sees Gatens as somewhat of a mentor, and the ex-Hawkeye likes what the newcomer has to work with.

“I think he could contribute right away,” Gatens said. “He looks ready physically, and he can really shoot it.”

Marion Iron’s small-ball offense will be an interesting matchup for the post-oriented attack of Armstrong, led by Adam Woodbury, Okey Ukah, and Dondre Alexander.

The other game at 6 p.m. features Peter Jok and Northern Iowa’s Wyatt Lohaus and Ted Friedman for Linn County Anesthesiologists, which has looked like one of the most well-rounded teams in the league, and Culver’s/Vinton Merchants, featuring Nicholas Baer and Anthony Clemmons.

With a lot of firepower, Prime Time figures to provide another week of fireworks heading into the Fourth of July weekend. 

Follow @KyleFMann for news, updates, and analysis of Prime Time League basketball.


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