Iowa forward Joe Wieskamp discusses a quiet pair of games from him. "I'm still trying to figure out my role," the freshman says: Mark Emmert, firstname.lastname@example.org
IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Iowa men’s basketball team scored 168 points in a pair of victories last week in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Freshman forward Joe Wieskamp had only five of them.
It was a pair of quiet offensive performances for the Muscatine native who scored 25 points in his first two college games.
“Joe was close to being really good,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after wins over Oregon and Connecticut gave his team the 2K Classic championship. “He had a great rip and drive ... He drove the one time and got fouled. I thought he was going to have a dunk and one. I’m not worried about him. He’s terrific.”
Wieskamp said Monday he was concentrating on doing the little things to help his No. 22 Hawkeyes win. That included defense (he had one blocked shot and two steals) and rebounding (he had eight).
“We’ve got a lot of scoring options. Obviously, I didn’t have a lot of scoring opportunities out there. I know my time will come,” said Wieskamp, who was 1-for-8 from the field in New York.
“I’m still trying to figure out my role. … It’s early in the season. I’ll figure it out.”
It was reminiscent of a stretch early in Luka Garza’s freshman season a year ago. The center was active offensively in his first three home games, and then the Hawkeyes traveled to the Cayman Islands for a tournament. Garza scored four points in the first two games.
Garza knows what Wieskamp is feeling.
“There was definitely a wall for me,” Garza said. “I had a struggle with my confidence. I think it’s the same with Joe, that he’s got to continue to maintain his confidence. I think it helps him a little bit that we’re winning. Because last year I was playing bad and we were losing and everything felt like it was coming to an end.”
Garza went on to average 12.1 points per game last season. He was named MVP of the 2K Classic after putting up 34 points with 13 rebounds in New York. Things worked out well after an early-season dip for him.
Iowa (4-0) flew back from New York late Friday night. On Saturday, Garza went to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to hop in the cold tub. He was feeling exhausted.
He peeked onto the court and saw Wieskamp putting up shots.
“Joe’s got a tremendous work ethic,” Garza said. “He’ll get through that.”
Wieskamp is the all-time leading scorer among Iowa high schoolers who competed in the state’s largest class. He knows his points will come.
“Any guy can go out and get 20 any night. But it’s a full team effort,” he said of the Hawkeyes. “We really bought in defensively, and I think that’s what won us those games.”
Iowa faces Alabama State (2-2) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The home game will be televised on BTN.
Garza has a good idea of what fans are going to see.
“He didn’t shoot great last weekend, but he’s been shooting well all season. We have all the confidence in him,” Garza said of Wieskamp.
“I guarantee you, Alabama State, he’s going to destroy.”