Struggling Oglesby, Jok get widespread votes of confidence
IOWA CITY, Ia. – There's no sugar-coating things for Josh Oglesby.
"I am in a slump right now," the Iowa junior shooting guard said.
Oglesby is shooting 21.9 percent (7-for-32) in this busy young season, including 5-for-23 from 3-point range. Peter Jok, Iowa's other top outside threat, isn't faring much better – 25 percent (4-for-16) overall.
Cause for concern?
"I'll get out of this. I know I will," Oglesby said. "It's just been kind of rough at the beginning. But I'm going to fight through it and stay positive."
At some point, if Iowa is going to return to the 20-win mark and the NCAA Tournament, it'll need better accuracy from its 2 guards.
Another chance comes Wednesday in Iowa's fourth game in seven days. The Hawkeyes (3-2) welcome Northern Illinois (2-0) at 7:30 p.m. in a game available on a Web-only ESPN3 telecast.
Anthony Clemmons, considered a defense-minded guard, has actually been Iowa's best marksman at the 2. He has made seven 3-pointers in 14 attempts; he made six 3s all last season.
The importance of a credible deep shooting threat creates opportunities inside the 3-point line, too.
"It stretches out the defense more," Iowa point guard Mike Gesell said.
Gesell has continued to look to create shots for Oglesby and Jok as they've struggled out of the gate, for a very good reason.
"They're probably two of the best shooters I've ever played with. Just in a pure-shooter sense," Gesell said. "They've just got to continue to shoot with confidence."
In Monday's 72-61 win against Pepperdine, Oglesby and Jok combined to shoot 1-for-11.
The pair is hearing plenty of positive reinforcement. Senior forward Aaron White, the Hawkeyes' team leader in points, rebounds and hustle, pulled Jok aside during Monday's game.
His message: Keep creating shots. They'll fall.
"I thought tonight he played more aggressive than he has been," White said. "He's just got to see the ball go in the hole."
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has every intention to keep Oglesby and Jok on the floor – and calling plays designed for them to take shots.
McCaffery pointed to Oglesby's other contributions – such as a 13-to-3 assist-to-turnover ratio – as positives.
"The only time I'm going to get upset with either of them is if they're taking contested or bad shots," McCaffery said.
And they're not. So the green light is there.
"I've just got to stay positive," Oglesby said, "and keep shooting."
WEDNESDAY'S GAME: IOWA (3-2) VS. NORTHERN ILLINOIS (2-0)
Specifics — 7:30 p.m., Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City.
Following the game — TV: Web-only at ESPN3.com or WatchESPN. Radio: WHO (1040 AM), WMT (600 AM) and the Hawkeye network. Live scoring: livestats.hawkeyesports.com.
Preview — Iowa's Aaron White is averaging 8.6 free throw attempts per game. He leads the Hawkeyes in scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.8 ppg). ... This is Iowa's fourth game in seven days. Northern Illinois last played Thursday, a 78-67 win against Idaho. ... The Hawkeyes are 6-0 all-time vs. the Huskies, the last win coming by an 88-55 score in 2011 — White's third career game at Iowa. He had nine points in 21 points.