Men's hoops in good hands


What to know:

The 2014-15 Iowa men’s basketball team made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. The Hawkeyes were defeated in the second round by Gonzaga, which advanced to the Elite Eight. It was a good sign for Hawk fans who rememered Iowa’s loss in the play-in game in 2014.

The Hawkeyes’ 12-6 Big Ten record was the best conference record under head coach Fran McCaffery — the previous best was 9-9. And for the third-straight season, the Hawkeyes won 20 or more games. 

Whom to know:

Iowa will return four starters this coming season. Perhaps the biggest name is forward Jarrod Uthoff, who earned third-team All Big-Ten honors last season. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Mike Gesell, Adam Woodbury, and Peter Jok are the other returning starters. All three will figure to play bigger roles than they did last season.     Along with the returning starters, Anthony Clemmons and Dom Uhl also return; both played significant roles last season. Iowa is also bringing in six new players in, a mix of freshmen and junior-college transfers.

Looking ahead:

The 2015-16 Iowa men’s basketball team will face a similar problem to what it did last season. With the graduation of Hawkeye great Aaron White, Iowa will have to retool to take another step forward under now sixth-year coach McCaffery.

The good news is that last year proved that replacing a transcendent player such as White is possible; last year’s team exceeded expectations in the wake of Devyn Marble’s graduation. Lots of fans are looking for Uthoff to have a big season and lead the team the way his predecessors, like Marble and White, did.

If McCaffery’s track record at Iowa says anything, the Hawkeyes’ future is in good hands.

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