Bohannon in line to play in Iowa's basketball exhibition; Pemsl will not

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

Iowa point guard Jordan Bohannon has had some good and bad days at practice this month while attempting a quick comeback from hip surgery.

Assuming Monday is one of the good days, the senior will take the court when the Hawkeyes play an exhibition game against Lindsey Wilson College, coach Fran McCaffery told reporters Wednesday.

“He had a good practice (Tuesday),” McCaffery said. “He’s getting back in to it. He’s not where he wants to be. He’s not where he could be. But I’ve been really impressed with his determination to get back to where he’s one of the best players in our league.”

A three-year starter, Bohannon opted to have surgery in May to shave bone off his right hip and repair a labral tear that had been causing discomfort. He has said he’s prepared to redshirt this year in order to be completely pain-free for his final college season. But he’s also said that he wants to test out the hip in select early-season games to get a feel for whether he can play a full Big Ten slate this winter.

Bohannon can play in up to nine games and still apply for a medical redshirt. The exhibition game will not count toward that total.

McCaffery reiterated Wednesday that the plans regarding Bohannon have not changed.

“We’ll see if he can play through it. If not, we’ll shut him down,” McCaffery said.

The way Bohannon approached his rehabilitation has impressed his coach.

“He did everything he was supposed to in the beginning. I think that was important,” McCaffery said. “He was very methodical in his approach. Just a little bit on the bike and then a little bit of jogging, then a little bit of shooting, spot shooting.”

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon (3) runs up court during an open practice following the Hawkeyes men's basketball media day, Wednesday, Oct., 9, 2019, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.

Once Bohannon was cleared to absorb contact, he returned to practice.  

“He’s had really good days. He’s had some bad days, which is to be expected,” McCaffery said. “I think he’s been very professional with how he’s handled that. And we’ll see where it goes from here.”

Monday’s tipoff is at 7 p.m. Iowa follows with its Nov. 8 season opener against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at 8 p.m.

Pemsl will serve suspension

Redshirt junior forward Cordell Pemsl will not play in either of next week’s games, McCaffery said. Such is his punishment for a September OWI arrest.

He will be eligible to return to game action Nov. 11, when Iowa hosts DePaul.

Pemsl returned to practice two weeks ago and is playing well, McCaffery said.

“He’s been as you would have expected him to play as a veteran. He’s been solid with his skill set, and he knows what we’re doing,” McCaffery said. “I’ve been pleased with him.”

Backcourt starters remain biggest question

McCaffery said he’s getting close to deciding his starting lineup for next week’s games. It’s safe to assume junior Luka Garza will be in at center and sophomore Joe Wieskamp at small forward. Those are the only two starters returning from last year’s team, pending Bohannon’s availability.

But who will start at the two guard positions, and how the minutes will be divided up, may be the biggest unknown about this year’s Hawkeyes.

McCaffery plans to get a long look at all four options there — Bakari Evelyn, CJ Fredrick, Joe Toussaint and McCaffery's son, Connor.

“All four of those other guys are playing really well. They all bring different things to the table. I’m really excited about this group,” McCaffery said.

“We have depth back there. We have versatility back there. That’s, I think, what’s critical.”

Who is Lindsey Wilson, and why are the Blue Raiders coming here?

Lindsey Wilson is an NAIA school located in Columbia, Kentucky. The Blue Raiders are coached by Keith Adkins, in his second season there. Adkins and McCaffery have known each other for decades.

“We’ve talked probably for the last 15 years or so about playing,” McCaffery said. “I felt like he had a good team this year, and I thought it would be a good time to do it.”

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.

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