Tyler Cook declines interview; Cordell Pemsl uncertain about Hawkeye future

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — There might be more than one Iowa power forward on the move this college basketball offseason.

We already knew Tyler Cook, the team’s leading scorer, was exploring the NBA Draft process without hiring an agent.

On Tuesday, fellow sophomore Cordell Pemsl discussed his Hawkeye future. And he was, in a word, non-committal.

Cook declined an interview request prior to the team’s season-ending dinner at the UI Athletics Hall of Fame. Pemsl, though, addressed the frustrating 14-19 season that was and his plans for next season.

Iowa's Cordell Pemsl is pictured during the Hawkeyes' game against Northwestern at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018.

Which, currently, the product of Dubuque Wahlert High School isn’t sure about.

“I don’t know. I wanted to be a Hawkeye since I was a little kid. Last year obviously didn’t go as anybody planned,” Pemsl told the Des Moines Register. “I’m going to keep working this spring and finish up academically and do what’s best for me.”

That sounds like a guy willing to transfer to another school.

Is he?

“The choice is up to me,” Pemsl said. “I want to do what’s best for my career, on and off the floor. Whatever makes me happy.”

A promising freshman season for Pemsl turned into a middling sophomore campaign.

His averages dropped from 8.9 points to 5.7; from 5.0 rebounds to 4.5; from 61.7-percent shooting to 56.5. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward also went from 14 starts as a freshman to zero as a sophomore.

Pemsl hasn’t redshirted, so if he transferred to another Division I school, he could sit out a season and still retain two years’ eligibility.

But perhaps his decision will hinge on what Cook does.

Cook, who averaged 14.0 points and 28 minutes a game as a sophomore, would leave behind a significant gap of opportunity for others if he turns pro. As long as he doesn't hire an agent, Cook has the option of returning to Iowa without losing eligibility.

Is that what Pemsl’s decision depends upon?

“I know that if Tyler leaves, obviously, that makes room for myself,” Pemsl said. “But regardless, we have a lot of bigs that can play at any given time. If one of us are hot — Ryan (Kriener), myself, Luka (Garza), Jack (Nunge) — we’ve got a lot of guys that can score.

“I don’t know the answer to that question, to be honest with you.”

Pemsl is a crafty, effective player when his game is clicking. On Tuesday, he lamented the fact that he wasn't the player he wanted to be as a sophomore. He also said he’s continuing to work hard at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to improve.

“I want to be here, and I want to give 100 percent to this university,” he said. “I guess we’ll just see what happens.”