Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE
BHGP details the Iowa big men in anticipation of the 2012-13 basketball season.
The Jamboree is your two-week preseason guide to the 2012 Iowa basketball season. We start like we start everything else: With player summaries, position by position.
Today: The bigs.
This is the first year in a long time when Iowa has had a roster deep enough to actually warrant splitting these position-by-position previews into three installments. The ongoing attrition-fest that was the Lickliter Era always left Iowa a few bodies short of a full scholarship load. Technically, they're still not at a full scholarship load this year -- per Hawkeye Report ($), 12 of 13 available scholarships are being filled. But they're full enough for our purposes. This is also the first time in several years -- maybe back to the Gorney-Looby Twin Towers days -- that Iowa has had enough big men to warrant giving them their own preview installment, too. The times, they are a-changin'...
The Blue Chipper
Adam Woodbury (#34, Freshman, Center, 7'1", 235, East HS (Sioux City, IA))
It's hard to underestimate how much the Adam Woodbury commitment meant to the Iowa fan base. Woodbury was a top 60 prospect on every relevant recruiting site and pursued by the likes of North Carolina, Ohio St., Wisconsin, and Minnesota. It came down to Iowa and North Carolina, and no Iowa coach had ever won a recruiting battle with Roy Williams for an in-state prospect. Even though his dad was reportedly a die-hard Hawkeye fan, everyone presumed Woodbury would head east.
That he didn't take the North Carolina offer did more to affirm Fran McCaffery's capabilities and raise enthusiasm for the program than anything to that date. Yes, the Gatens run in February and the Dayton win in the NIT -- and the crowd that came with it -- probably surpassed it temporarily, but a top 20 recruiting class with the best Iowa center prospect in more than a decade at the top of the list is going to do more long-term than any single game.
As for this year, it's not a certainty that Woodbury starts. He needs to add some weight, and centers notoriously need more time to adapt their games to the collegiate level. If Olaseni has taken a huge move forward, Woodbury will have some competition. He'll definitely play significant minutes, though, and he's the starter from the moment he wins the job to the moment he leaves.
Gabe Olaseni (#0, Sophomore, Center, 6'10", 229, Sunrise Christian Academy (London, England))
Olaseni was an afterthought to McCaffery's first class, an undersized shotblocker who was theoretically better as a situational contributor than a starter. He had offers from programs like Xavier, Auburn, and Mississippi, but little hype and few expectations. His first season had its moments: He scored eight points in the season opener against Chicago State and blocked three shots against Central Arkansas. He also recorded three personal fouls in one minute against Indiana. So, yeah, he's a project, but reports from offseason workouts and PTL indicate he's moving forward relatively quickly. Probably not a starter, but it's not out of the question.
Kyle Meyer (#42, Freshman, Center/Forward, 6'10", 222, Northview HS (Alpharetta, GA))
Before there was Woodbury, there was Meyer, a big power forward out of Georgia who became the first commit in Iowa's 2012 class. He had some interest from Indiana, Clemson and Texas, but his only other offers were from low-major programs when Iowa came calling. He committed before anyone could figure out what had happened, and was the only member of the class for almost five months. He got himself into a bit of trouble when he hit campus, and by all accounts his game needs some work before it's Big Ten-ready. It's highly likely that, barring injuries, Meyer redshirts his first year.