Bio: Junior, 6'7, 203, Cedar Rapids, IA
2012-13 stats: 3.0 minutes per game, 0.3 points per game, 0.8 rebounds per game, 2 blocked shots
What we saw last season
When McCaffery arrived three years ago, he found a roster not just short on talent, but short on bodies. And so McCaffery did what Tom Davis did for years before then: He brought back the practice squad. Stokes was one of McCaffery's first walk-on targets: A 6'7 forward from Cedar Rapids with obvious athleticism and an impeccable pedigree -- his father, Greg Stokes, was a former Iowa center and second round pick of the Philadelphia 76ers -- who had planned on spending a year or two in junior college before taking a run at big time college basketball.
McCaffery offered Stokes a spot on the practice squad, a redshirt, and a possible spot on the team in the future. That future has not yet come, in any significant way. Stokes played in 12 games last year, all in garbage time, and scored a grand total of four points. His first three seasons in the program did not produce much on the court, but it did enough for McCaffery to give Stokes a scholarship for this year and, presumably, his senior season in 2014-15.
What we need to see this season
Absolutely nothing more than last season, unless that garbage time is coming in wins. Even on scholarship, Stokes is an undersized power forward at best. We've got plenty of those. Just hang out, celebrate on the bench, and help out when things are out of hand.
Darius plays in the final six minutes of every game and celebrates at the end, because then Iowa has gone undefeated without so much as a close game. If we're being modestly realistic, though, it's not much more than last year: 15 games, 60 minutes, 20 points, 15 rebounds.
Most likely scenario
Stokes appears in 12 games when either things have gotten out of hand or McCaffery needs another handful of fouls (not out of the question in a year where defensive rules are being enforced as never before). He scores about 40 points total, grabs a handful of rebounds, records a blocked shot or two, and is otherwise exactly the same player as before: A practice teamer and good team player whose efforts for the program are fully deserving of the scholarship he now holds.
He should have a special celebration. "Stoking the fire," maybe, where he has explosive devices in the sleeves of his warmup that explode like Gob Bluth.
Or he can dance like a chicken, like Gob Bluth.
Or he could just pull off his tearaway pants, like Gob Bluth.
What I'm saying is, I wish Darius Stokes was a magician.