Breakdown: What they're saying about Iowa's newcomers

Dargan Southard

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Jordan Bohannon’s initial goal was simple.

“First week, (we were) just trying to get the guys to like us,” said the 6-foot freshman, one Iowa’s five scholarship newcomers this season. “We were trying not to mess up, just random stuff like that.

“After that first week, we were all pretty cool with each other. Me and (fellow freshman) Tyler (Cook), we would kind of make fun of the upperclassmen because they wouldn’t talk to us at first, just didn’t know what we’re about.”

The ice, though, has been broken, and beneath it reveals a freshman class oozing with versatility and cohesiveness. Bohannon (Linn-Mar) and freshman forwards Ryan Kriener (Spirit Lake) and Cordell Pemsl (Wahlert) are in-state guys who played on the same AAU team for years. Cook stands as a highly recruited physical specimen, and 6-foot-6 combo guard Maishe Dailey could develop into a vital piece down the road.

Here’s a look at this season’s crop of newcomers, as described by players and coaches.

Tyler Cook, 6-foot-9, 253-pound forward from St. Louis, Mo.

Cook will be looked upon to make an immediate impact and has drawn praise from the jump. When asked how Cook — a consensus top-100 recruit who held offers from UConn, Kansas, Iowa State and others — compares to previous highly touted Iowa prospects, Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery didn’t hold back.

“He probably has the highest ceiling,” he said.

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Sophomore Christian Williams: "Tyler kind of knows the expectations, but I don’t think it has fazed him at all. He came in and has done what everyone has kind of expected. He’s come in being aggressive and being the big dunker that he is. He can jump out the gym and he’s strong around the rim.

"Sometimes, (the expectations) get to guys heads a little bit. They might become a little cocky, but Tyler, he keeps himself real humble."

Bohannon: "Tyler’s an energy guy. He brings energy every day, so that’s going to help a lot when we might have a down day — he’s going to bring that energy and kind of feed it back to us."

Jordan Bohannon, 6-foot, 182-pound guard from Marion, Ia.

The sharpshooting freshman is the latest Bohannon in a family tree full of collegiate athletes. Jordan’s father, Gordy, was an Iowa quarterback, and his three brothers — Jason, Zach and Matt —all played Division I basketball.

Kriener: “You just say the name ‘Bohannon,’ and you think of shooting. That’s no different with Jordan. He’s an exceptional shooter and a great playmaker too. He’s everything you want in a point guard, and I’m glad he’s on my team.”

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Cook: "I remember earlier in the summer, I came up here (at) probably 11 (p.m.), midnight. I walked in the gym, and he’s already in here. He’s working on his ball handling, getting up shots. Even when the rest of the guys aren’t here and even when it’s not required, he’s putting in work. You can tell he wants to be great. His work ethic — how serious he takes the game — it’s not surprising, but it’s pleasant to see more guys like that."

Cordell Pemsl, 6-foot-8, 249-pound forward from Dubuque, Ia.

Pemsl figures to factor into the frontcourt rotation in some fashion. He committed to the Hawkeyes way back in May 2014, choosing Iowa over offers from Creighton and interest from numerous other schools.

Kriener: “Cordell says he models his game after a guy like Draymond Green. He’s definitely not the biggest guy, but he’s one of the strongest guys out on the floor. When someone bigger than him gets the ball, he just says, ‘Hey you’re not scoring on me.’ He mans up and really uses his strength as an advantage. That’s something that can really help him down there.”

McCaffery: "He's a guy who has a real good feel for how to play the game. When you’re 6-foot-8, 250 (pounds), and you know how to play — you can dribble, pass and shoot, you know how to post up, you know how to use angles — that’s a guy who can really help you. I’m really excited about him."

Ryan Kriener, 6-foot-9, 247-pound forward from Spirit Lake, Ia.

Kriener is one of Iowa’s three in-state scholarship freshmen. He battled an illness this summer that limited some of his offseason work, but McCaffery said Kriener is “more than caught up.”

Cook: "Ryan’s got great touch. Whether it’s around the rim or even out to the 3-point line, he can really stretch the floor. He has great footwork inside, and he’s strong as an ox also. He’s long — 7-foot-2 wingspan — can finish over the top of guys as well. So Ryan really knows how to use his body, knows how and where he can get his points at."

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Maishe Dailey, 6-foot-6, 183-pound guard from Beachwood, Ohio.

Dailey was the last true freshman to sign, inking with the Hawkeyes in May after previously decommitting from Rutgers. Dailey could be a potential redshirt candidate who can make a larger impact down the road.

Cook: "He’s a Swiss army knife. He can do pretty much everything. So you get the ball to him in transition, he’ll take one or two dribbles and make a play or jump over somebody and dunk. He can pull back out and shoot from anywhere on the court. He has a lot of tools, and I’ll think he’ll surprise a lot of people, even this year."

Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting and Iowa athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and Email him at or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.