Iowa's hoops rotation remains work in progress

Mark Emmert

Two days before his Iowa men’s basketball team begins its season, coach Fran McCaffery is still not certain who his starters are.

“We’re just maybe going to move at a slower pace than we would like at figuring that all out,” McCaffery said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

"I have nobody playing horribly. Everybody has shown real signs of being very good players. So you want to be able to give them as long as possible to go after that playing time that’s in front of them.”

Iowa forward Dale Jones, recovered from knee surgery, is expected to be "a full go" when the Hawkeyes face Division II Regis in an exhibition game Friday.

Among the Hawkeyes that fans can expect to see at 7 p.m. Friday against Division II Regis University is senior Dale Jones, whose season was cut short after six games a year ago by a knee injury that required surgery. Jones, a 6-foot-7 forward will be “a full go,” McCaffery said after competing in Iowa’s “secret scrimmage” Sunday against Illinois State.

McCaffery said Jones, a Waterloo West graduate who transferred to Iowa after playing for two seasons at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, is still working back into shape and particularly on his defense. Jones averaged 5.5 points per game for the Hawkeyes before his injury.

"He does fight in the post, on the glass, he’s got a physicality to his game,” McCaffery said.

As for his point guard, McCaffery said he still has not decided on a starter between sophomore Christian Williams and freshman Jordan Bohannon.

“We need them both. They’re both going to play a lot,” McCaffery said. “Jordan gives you a dimension offensively that is really important to our team.”

That would be 3-point shooting, a specialty for Iowa’s reigning Mr. Basketball out of Linn-Mar. McCaffery said, with multiple low-post scoring options, it’s imperative for the Hawkeyes to play long-range shooters who can open up space inside.

He also said that sophomore Brady Ellingson is currently Iowa’s third-string point guard.

Iowa is coming off a 22-11 season but must replace four starters. The Hawkeyes are adding a five-player freshman class and forcing McCaffery to consider a multitude of factors when figuring out playing time, a process that figures to play out throughout the month. The Hawkeyes open regular-season play Nov. 11 by hosting Kennesaw State.

“Obviously, I’m looking for the right people but also it’s a sense of fairness in a competitive situation,” McCaffery said.

The Hawkeyes are set to announce their 2017 recruiting class on National Signing Day next Wednesday. That should consist of post players Luke Garza out of Washington, D.C., and Jack Nunge of Newburgh, Ind.

McCaffery’s son, Connor, a point guard from Iowa City West, will not sign a letter of intent at that time. The Hawkeyes currently don’t have enough open scholarships for all three players to sign.

Connor McCaffery, a four-star recruit, also intends to play baseball at Iowa.