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Hawk frosh show flashes

BY KYLE MANN | JULY 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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Only two teams remain standing in the Prime Time League, and of the four Hawkeyes remaining, three are seniors and one a sophomore. All Iowa newcomers have been eliminated from title contention, officially ending their first summer as Hawkeyes. With our first sample to draw from, here’s what we learned:

Andrew Fleming

Fleming played alongside Matt Gatens for Marion Iron, which quickly led to comparisons between the two. Gatens, however, believes Fleming will show a more versatile repertoire offensively.

“I kind of became just a shooter toward the end of my career,” Gatens said. “But [Fleming] can put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop pretty well. He’s physical.”

Fleming proved to be a lethal shooter at times, but as the summer went on, he gained aggressiveness and showed flashes of his ability to penetrate and either put the ball up or pass to a teammate.

Perhaps his most impressive quality, however, has been his attitude. Coming from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, Fleming’s demeanor is observably atypical of a freshman.

“I wish you guys knew what Oak Hill is about and could see it,” Fleming told reporters on Sunday. “You’re out there by yourself with nine guys in the woods, playing basketball at 6 a.m., lift four or five times a week, you’re playing basketball three times a day for multiple hours, we play tillmidnight. We do it every day to the point it’s probably too much, but we love it. It got me a lot better.”

Christian Williams

Williams was the late bloomer of the bunch; he didn’t fully find his stride until midway through the summer. But when July came around, Williams did, too.

Standing in the 6-5 to 6-6 range, Williams likely has an even longer wingspan, and he uses his length and fluid athleticism to his advantage when attacking the hoop. He is not overly explosive or strong, but he is at his best leading the break in transition.

“I played quarterback in high school,” Williams said.  “So I feel the most comfortable with the ball in my hands.”

Often, he would corral a rebound on defense and jettison his defender, aggressively initiating a fast break. Once past half court, his movements are slithery and his vision sly, creating sneaky good looks for himself or a cutter. He even showed a smooth pull-up, which made his transition game deadly at times.

Williams could perhaps be a year away from significant minutes, but he could be an exciting playmaker for Hawk coach Fran McCaffery in the future.

Brandon Hutton, Ahmad Wagner

No two players are the same, but at this stage in their careers, Hutton and Wagner are strikingly similar as prospects. Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, they are in dire need of a duo like this.

Hutton is listed by Rivals at 6-6, 195 pounds, while Wagner comes in at 6-7 and 215 pounds. They’ll remind some of the bigger wings seen at Michigan State each year, and both have a refreshing hunger for defensive intensity.

“I’m from the city of Chicago, and we don’t really take anything lightly,” Hutton said. “We’re always on it, on it, on it. If I’m not the best, I’m second to the best defender; I look up to Anthony “Sapp” Clemmons.”

Basketball in general seems much more offensive-minded nowadays, so it’s rare to find not one but two young players who pride themselves on the dirty work.

“My aggression rebounding was good this summer, but mostly my defense,” Wagner said. “I can guard any position; guard, forward, or post.”

McCaffery’s recruiting class has a different feel than those in recent years. It is not only talented but physically impressive, and the players individually have role-specific mindsets that should mesh well in coming years. 

And considering Isaiah Moss, the highest-ranked of the recruits, has yet to make it to Iowa City, the future is promising for the Hawkeyes.


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