Matt Gatens is off plying his trade with the Phoenix Suns' NBA Summer League team (best of luck, Gater), which means (duh) that he's not going to be back at Iowa next year. (That's the sort of cutting insight you come to BHGP for, right?) And that means means that for the first time in three years, Iowa will have a new leading scorer next year. In fact, if Gatens had averaged just 1.0 ppg extra in his freshman season, back in 2008-09, he would have led Iowa in scoring for four straight years. In any event, Gatens and his 15.2 ppg are gone now, so the question is: who will replace him as Iowa's leading scorer? Here are the most likely candidates.
ROY DEVYN MARBLE: Marble was Iowa's second-leading scorer a year ago (11.5 ppg). With Gesell earmarked to take over the starting point guard job, Marble's likely to slide over to Gatens' starting two-guard spot, a role that could allow him to really flourish. Marble may also replace Gatens as Iowa's go-to scorer at the end of games (a role he occupied quite successfully at times last year).
AARON WHITE: Dunk L'Orange finished the season just a hair behind Marble on the scoring charts (11.1 ppg) and he's been laying waste to the PTL (29.4 ppg, with a pair of 40+ pt efforts). The usual caveats about PTL performance apply, but it's not like White hasn't shown signs of his impressive scoring prowess before -- he ended the season on a tear (25 pts against Dayton, 22 pts against Oregon) and, overall, he had 17 double-figure scoring outings last year as a true freshman.
MELSAHN BASABE: Mel went through the proverbial sophomore slump last year (his ppg dipped from 11.0 as a freshman to 8.2 as a sophomore), but he's been good in the PTL (22.2 ppg) and all the talk about him this offseason has been about how he revitalized he is and how eager he is to improve upon last season's mediocre showing. He's also the closest thing this team has to a senior leader (Eric May is the only actual senior on the team, but he figures to play more of a supporting role), which may or may not mean anything.
MIKE GESELL: Gesell's scoring bona fides are impressive: he averaged 30+ ppg as a prep star and is averaging 22.8 ppg in the PTL this summer. On the other hand, the same old caveats about PTL performance apply to him, too -- probably even moreso since he hasn't had a real taste of D-I hoops (let alone the Big Ten) yet. And even if he is able to score reliably in college, he may be asked to be more of a facilitator for Marble, White, and Basabe next year. Still: he's apt to have the ball in his hands more than anyone else, he has a strong track record as a scorer, and scoring point guards are very much en vogue these days.
JOSH OGLESBY: Admittedly, this is even more of a dark horse pick than a true frosh like Gesell -- Oglesby averaged only 6.4 ppg last year, good for sixth best on the team (behind Gatens, Marble, White, Basabe, and Zach McCabe). So why include him? He figures to inherit Gatens' role as the top long-distance shooter on the team. He made 37% of his 3s last year, and while that was technically only fourth-best on the team (Gatens, McCabe, and Marble were ahead of him), he figures to be shooting far more 3s than either McCabe or Marble. If his development as a gunner takes a step (or three) forward this year -- who knows?
Who ya got?