Andrew Fleming eager, ready to 'light it up' at Iowa
NORTH LIBERTY, Ia. – When Andrew Fleming arrived in Iowa in June, he unpacked a sweet shooting stroke and immense confidence.
Both aspects emerged Thursday night in the Prime Time League when former Hawkeye basketball star and Turkish pro Matt Gatens was out of town. Fleming stepped up in Gatens' absence, scoring 37 points — the night's highest total, even though he attempted 32 shots (making 14, including five 3-pointers) — to go with seven rebounds and seven assists.
"I realized quickly that I was going to have to score for us to win," Fleming said. "I was just trying to get to the bucket, make shots."
Fleming is one of six scholarship newcomers to the 2015-16 Hawkeyes, and he might be the most Division I ready. Senior guard Anthony Clemmons validated that assessment when asked which new Hawkeye had made the strongest impression in summer workouts.
"Andrew Fleming's standing out to me," Clemmons said. "His understanding of the game. His ability to shoot the ball. He's the biggest standout to me so far."
The 6-foot-4 native of Nashville, Tenn., attributes his perceived readiness to playing his senior season at the legendary Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va. He said he started the majority of games as one of 10 "high Division I" recruits on a team that went 47-1.
Fleming said every practice under coach Steve Smith at Oak Hill had a college-level intensity.
"(Smith) gets us to the point that we're sophomores in college instead of just freshmen," Fleming said. "I'm thankful for him and the program, because I feel like I'm separating myself as a freshman here. I feel good. I feel confident."
One of the reasons Fleming could be ready to step in right away is his ability to put the ball in the basket. He has shown an ability this summer to not only shoot from 3-point range but to create shots off the dribble.
Fleming said he watched from afar last season as Iowa experienced inconsistency at the shooting guard spot, with then-senior Josh Oglesby struggling from long range.
Fleming and redshirt freshman Brady Ellingson (Fleming's PTL teammate) join returning starter Peter Jok as the primary 2 guards. They have the potential to strengthen that position in Fran McCaffery's sixth season at Iowa.
"Overall, whenever we're in a drought, I'm going to make shots," said Fleming, who is averaging 28.3 points and 23.7 field goal attempts in three PTL games. "If we come down the court, I'm going to make shots.
"No doubt. I think me, Brady and Jok will light it up this season."