Deion Sanders' Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Is Imminent The North Liberty Prime Time League kicked off Monday night, giving reporters their first good look at incoming recruits and returning players. The early returns are promising. First, Aaron Fuller found the weight room:
Iowa’s Aaron Fuller carries more weight and looks much stronger. As a freshman last year he weighed 199 pounds. He’s now heavier than 220. That strength will help him defend power forwards in the post. That weight could be good for one more rebound and two more points a game. That could be a four-point turnaround in any game.
Don't be fooled by the fact that Iowa forward Aaron Fuller only scored eight points Monday. He has gained about 20 pounds of muscle since the season ended in March. He can score on the inside and on the perimeter and he can defend more than one position. If Gatens isn't Iowa's most versatile player than Fuller might be.
Perhaps more importantly, presumed point guard (and convicted killer) Cully Payne got better reviews than The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on his first night:
Payne, a 6-foot incoming freshman from Schaumberg, Ill., passed the ball with both consistency and flair during his team’s Prime Time League game. He controlled the game’s tempo, moved well without the ball and shot the ball decently from the outside. It was just one outing of many for Payne, but he showed he’s going to compete for more than just playing time this year.
Payne scored 12 points and dished two assists in his team’s 89-74 win against Mike Gatens Real Estate/McCurry’s. Often the best passes he made helped get people in position to get to the basket, which didn’t count for assists.
Scott Dochterman - who might already have a mancrush on Payne; he wrote about him three times in one day - also got a quick interview. Given the other options at point guard, which essentially amount to John Lickliter or Dean Oliver in a fake beard, Dochterman's infatuation may be warranted. Payne's quick acclimation into Iowa's offensive system and ability to run the show might be the most important factor in the Hawks' 2009-10 campaign.
Other news: Devon Archie is big and athlethic, but Shaq-esque from the free throw stripe; Cougill is a project; Jarryd Cole is working on a mid-range jump shot; Greg Brunner is working with the big men this offseason, which will probably lead to our entire front line barreling uncontrollably into defenders and getting called for charging ad infinitum.
Caring Is Creepy Recruiting "expert" Tom Lemming removed his lips from Charlie Weis' ass long enough to address the rejuvenation of Iowa recruiting in the Chicago area:
[T]he Hawkeyes haven't done well in the Chicago area in recent years--Illinois and Notre Dame have landed a majority of the elite players--but Ferentz and his staff, including chief recruiter Les Erb, are showing signs of making a major comeback with the class of 2010....
Iowa also is in on several of the top prospects in the Chicago area, including tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz of Johnsburg, quarterback Taylor Graham of Wheaton North and offensive lineman Zach Fulton of Homewood-Flossmoor.
Fiedorowicz, the nation's top-rated tight end, likely will choose Iowa or Ohio State. Graham favors Iowa or UCLA. And Fulton may choose Iowa or Tennessee.
Other Illinois products on Iowa's recruiting chart are fast-rising defensive tackle Bruce Gaston of St. Rita, offensive tackle Marek Lenkiewicz of Andrew, running back LaSteven McKinney of Nazareth and quarterback Sean Robinson of Rochester.
To date, Iowa has signed 5 players, all on the defensive side of the ball and all consensus 3-star recruits. Lemming also mentions Iowa's better-than-average chances of signing QB/ATH A.J. Derby ("It appears he likely will choose Iowa or Florida" despite LSU's recent interest) and OT (and #1 recruit in the country) Seantrel Henderson. Obviously, it's early, and we've learned not to read too much into the current college preferences of teenagers, but things appear to be looking up on the recruiting trail.
Miscellany Michigan State apparently hired The Enlightened Spartan to design their annual football poster. Jamie Pollard gets a contract extension. Iowa State fans are inconsolable. A high school umpire in West Burlington clears the crowd after getting booed. And the brilliant Brian Spaeth is writing the inevitable Saved by the Bell reunion movie. Two words: Nuclear oil.