Joe Wieskamp debuts in Iowa uniform, and shows he can rebound and defend as well as score

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Joe Wieskamp’s first basket in a Hawkeye uniform at Carver-Hawkeye Arena came, appropriately enough, on a putback of a teammate’s miss.

No, it didn’t officially count as the Iowa men’s basketball team flogged Division III Guilford College 103-46 Sunday in an exhibition game.

But coach Fran McCaffery has been saying all along that his prized freshman recruit from Muscatine is an elite rebounder at the wing position and not merely a prolific scorer. And the 6-foot-6, 205-pound rookie did nothing to dispel that impression in his debut.

“I just try to go up as high as I can to get every rebound. It’s something our coaches have been stressing a lot, is our 3, 4 (and) 5 hitting the offensive glass. So it’s a role that I’m going to try to improve at — just try to get some easy buckets that way.”

Iowa freshman Joe Wieskamp muscles in for a layup during Iowa's 103-46 exhibition victory over Guilford College at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Wieskamp led the Hawkeyes with 14 points.

Wieskamp finished with a team-high 14 points and added five rebounds in his 18 minutes, 31 seconds on the court. He also showed that he can play some defense, as well. His only problem was four turnovers that he chided himself for afterward.

“You’re not expecting him maybe to be a lockdown defender,” McCaffery said of Wieskamp. “He’s really good — he’s tough, gets on the glass, up in the passing lanes, slides his feet well, takes advantage of his length.”

Iowa’s season officially begins with a 7 p.m. home game Thursday against Missouri-Kansas City. Here’s more of what we learned Sunday about the 2018-19 team:

Bohannon battling a bruise, Fredrick taking year off

Wieskamp will be in the starting lineup at small forward Thursday. What isn’t known is whether junior point guard Jordan Bohannon will be able to join him.

Bohannon sat out both of Iowa’s exhibition games after suffering a bruised hip bone about two weeks ago. McCaffery said he was hopeful to have his best shooter suited up for this week’s games against UMKC and Green Bay on Sunday. But that will be up to the medical staff.

McCaffery’s son Connor, a redshirt freshman, started in Bohannon’s place Sunday and would be in line to do so again. He scored nine points but also had four turnovers. Maishe Dailey, a natural wing, was the backup point guard.

Freshman guard CJ Fredrick will redshirt this season, McCaffery announced. Fredrick was already in discussions about that possibility, but then suffered a rib injury in practice two weeks ago, which made it an easier decision.

McCaffery wants Fredrick to get healthy, add muscle, and learn to play three positions in his year off from competition. The redshirt also makes sense in that it spaces out the eligibility of the guards on Iowa’s team. There are three juniors at that position now in Bohannon, Dailey and Isaiah Moss.

Tyler Cook comes out dishing

Tyler Cook, a 6-foot-9 junior power forward, showed a little more finesse to his game Sunday, leading Iowa with seven assists. He even made a 3-pointer, something he has done only three times in games that counted.

It’s the type of all-around game McCaffery has wanted his best player to develop, one that would suit him well as he tries to move on to the professional ranks, likely after this season.

“A lot of guys, when they try to sort of become the player that plays that way, they hold onto (the basketball) too long — they don’t get rid of it; they kind of take it for themselves,” McCaffery said. “I want him to take it for himself sometimes, but if it closes down on him, I want him to give it up.”

Iowa power forward Tyler Cook looks to pass during an exhibition win Sunday. He led the Hawkeyes with seven assists and nine rebounds.

Cook had 12 points and a team-high nine rebounds to go with the assists.

He was asked if the plan is to lead the Hawkeyes in assists, as well as points and rebounds as he did last year.

“If they make shots like that, I might,” Cook said with a smile. “I’m just trying to find open guys, and they do a good job of running with me when I push the break — getting to their spots — and we’re understanding where each other’s going to be at and when.

“I told (Bohannon) when he comes back, he might as well move to the 4.”