Iowa Hawkeyes Player Previews: Kyle Denning and Okey Ukah

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Because walk-ons deserve love, too.

Kyle Denning

BIO: Junior, 6-1, 160 (Cedar Falls, IA)
2012-13 STATS: 1.9 minutes per game, 0.5 points per game, 0.3 assists per game, .500 3FG%

WHAT WE SAW LAST SEASON

Denning's bio on Hawkeye Sports says that he saw "limited action" in 12 games in 2012-13 and, yeah, that's accurate. The walk-on played 23 minutes total, with the high-water mark coming against South Carolina State, when he played 5 minutes, scored 6 points on 2/3 shooting, grabbed a rebound, and had 2 assists. (He also had a foul and a turnover in those five minutes, so yeah: he was busy in that game.)

WHAT WE NEED TO SEE THIS SEASON

Honestly, not a lot. Denning should occupy the same role he had last year: an end-of-the-bench guard who will show up in blowouts, good or bad. (Denning mostly played in blowout wins last season, but he also appeared in Iowa's blowout loss to Baylor in the NIT championship game.) Denning is well down the rotation at guard and, barring a host of injuries, isn't likely to see a ton of playing time this year.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO

Denning continues to perfect his towel-waving and excited-clapping routines as a key component of the Bench Mob, while appearing in even more games than last year because WOO ROLL ON IOWA BLOWOUT TRAIN.

MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

Denning's 2013-14 season plays out a lot like his 2012-13 season: he provides valuable assistance to the team during practice, cheers on guys on the court from his spot on the bench, and sees action at the end of about 12-15 games.

ONE REQUEST

I'd like to see Denning collaborate with Darius Stokes and Kyle Meyer on some elaborate celebration routines for dunks and three-pointers; I think that's what our Bench Mob needs to really elevate their routine to another level. I'd also like to see him nail a few more 3s, just for fun.

Okey Ukah

BIO: Junior, 6-6, 210 (Iowa City, IA)
2012-13 STATS: N/A

WHAT WE SAW LAST SEASON

Nothing; Ukah walked on at Iowa last year, but NCAA rules required him to sit out. Ukah transferred to Iowa from Kirkwood Community College, where he played in 2011-12. Alas, they don't seem to track stats very well, so we're out of luck there. He scored 15.3 ppg and grabbed 9.4 rpg in the PTL last summer, if that means anything. (SPOILER ALERT: It doesn't.)

WHAT WE NEED TO SEE THIS SEASON

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I mean... your guess is as good as mine. Ukah, like Denning, is a walk-on and, given the depth on this Iowa team, I would say it's safe to assume that he isn't going to see a lot of minutes outside of blowouts. He's got interesting size and athleticism, but so does Darius Stokes and he only saw 38 minutes of action last year -- and that was with Meyer and Uthoff both sitting out the season. Iowa's frontcourt is even more crowded this year, so getting minutes figures to be an even more difficult task.

BEST-CASE SCENARIO

Ukah sees action in 12-15 games and becomes a fan-favorite for delivering some rim-rattling dunks in garbage time.

MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

Um... see above? Seriously, that's almost exactly what Ukah is likely to do this season. Any chance at more extensive PT is going to have to wait until 2014-15, when Basabe and McCabe have departed and the logjam in Iowa's frontcourt isn't quite as bad.

ONE REQUEST

I just want to see some fun dunks and some crazy celebrations from the bench from Ukah. That's it.

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