What we learned about Iowa basketball freshmen Dasonte Bowen, Josh Dix from first media session
Nearly six months after a serious leg injury, Iowa men's basketball freshman shooting guard Josh Dix is busy inside the team basketball facility. A broken tibia and fibula put his immediate basketball future in question but one month into workouts at Iowa, the former in-state standout is just about back.
"I've been doing like everything except like contact stuff," Dix said. "Non-contact stuff, I've been doing all that so on good days I do that. In the weight room, I usually do everything the team's doing now and then on bad days it's just less workouts usually."
During Tuesday's practice, Dix participated in the lay-up lines during warmups before heading off for sprints on an adjacent court alone while the team went through 4-on-4 and 5-on-5 drills. He's not cleared yet but the expectation is that Dix will be available to play this season.
"I'd be surprised if he wasn't (playing)," McCaffery said. "Every doctor has said he should be ready by September."
When he is cleared he'll attempt to catch up to the progress made by fellow freshman, point guard Dasonte Bowen. The Boston native was a priority recruit for the Hawkeyes and may even start this season.
But he's still learning his way this summer.
The pace is much faster, but Bowen said the physicality is the biggest adjustment.
"Playing in the Big Ten, you have to put on weight for sure," Bowen said. "I'd say that's the main thing. High school to college is a lot different obviously. Guys are bigger but I think I'm starting to get used to it really well."
Bowen's listed at 175 pounds by Iowa, up 10 pounds from his high school days. He described himself as a "fiery, athletic leader." His aggressive, downhill style was on display during the brief media viewing period as he consistently pushed the pace and had good finishes at the rim.
He's competing with junior Ahron Ulis for the point guard job but McCaffery didn't rule out guards Connor McCaffery or Tony Perkins assuming some ball-handling responsibilities too.
"Ahron Ulis is in his third year playing really well," McCaffery said. "Bowen is a terrific player, competing every day. But we have other options.”
For Dix, his recovery isn't just about getting healthy physically but mentally as well. His workout load is increasing but Dix is still learning to trust his body again.
"Especially in the last month, it's been hard," Dix said. "I've been starting to sprint and stuff like that so just kind of getting the technique back. I've been running on a treadmill over at the track center, anti-gravity with like adjusted bodyweight and stuff. So I've been running, getting back up to my body weight and just trying to correct my technique again."
Dix said figuring out exactly where he is health wise isn't easy. Certain things have a higher percentage than others. For example, he said his jumping ability off his injured right leg feels about 75-80 percent healthy but he's closer to 90 percent when he's running off both legs.
But the good news is, his jumper hasn't been affected much.
"That's one of the first things that felt normal was my shot," Dix said. "I'm not sure when (I'll be cleared), I haven't been told anything in a while. The doctors have just said I've been looking good."
Dix credited McCaffery's approach to his injury in helping him improve. To ease expectations, McCaffery has reminded the young wing that the season doesn't start until November.
There's a similar confidence installment happening with Bowen on the court. McCaffery's philosophy, particularly on offense, of letting his players operate freely was a big selling point to Bowen during his recruitment. In early practices, he's growing more comfortable in the system.
"He never gets on you for a shot you take," Bowen said. "If you're taking it, you should be able to make it so I feel like that's a big part of it. Coaches can take players' confidence away a lot but I think he definitely instills it because he's letting you be free on offense."
It's to be determined when Bowen and Dix will share the court together but it might be sooner than many expected. They were the only two scholarship signees in the 2022 class.
"That's my guy, my roommate," Bowen said. "So I'm we're in the gym together daily. I think he's healing well and looks good in workouts and on the floor. I can't wait for him to be back 100 percent so we can be on the court together. It's been good seeing him handle it well mentally because it could be mentally challenging, especially with the type of injury he had. So the way he's been able to carry himself and still fight for that success is really respectable."
Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.