Okay, there's not a lot we can figure out from PTL box scores (if anyone ever bothered to put them online anyway). So Steve Generic put up 31 points? Okay, cool. 29 points and 15 boards for Sophomore Forward? Neat, but that doesn't really tell us a whole lot about what to expect from these guys once the actual season starts.
Fortunately, as mentioned on Tuesday, we're getting some highlight reels from various players at the PTL, and now we can start looking at how they're racking up these points on inferior competition—and whether it's at all sustainable against the big boys. Now, again, these are highlight reels, so it's important not to read too much into them ("My god, he's hitting every single shot! He's unstoppable!"), but going off the baseline of what we saw from these guys last season, we can get a sense of what to expect this coming year.
Aaron White's obviously not participating, and like him we pretty much know what we're getting from the likes of Roy Devyn Marble, Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe for the upcoming season. Here's a look at Iowa's newer and emerging players and what they're showing us this summer.
Positives: Versatility on par with Aaron White, except he's even longer. Can probably create matchup problems against most opponents. Stupid range, plus confidence in his mid-range jumper. MIght be Iowa's best finisher at the rim right now.
Negatives: Doesn't showcase much toughness at the rim or on the boards, though that may be a function of the highlight reel more than editing. Jumper technique isn't the smoothest, so some of the longer jumpers may be low-percentage against quality competition.
Positives: Holy hell that jumper. Extreme, borderline Kevin Durant-like confidence in his ability to can one if you give him 2 feet of room. Physically mature enough to play right away. Moves very well without the ball to get himself open, especially for an incoming freshman. First step off the dribble quick enough to create a shot.
Negatives: Still doesn't have the vertical explosiveness or speed that would put him physically on par with the elite wings of the Big Ten. Finishing at the rim in traffic could pose problems, and we don't see him making passes off these drives either (again, just one highlight reel though). Can he punish a good defender for overplaying the jumper?
Positives: Efficient footwork. Starting to develop some post moves. Passing game looks very good for a center (if a little hesitant). Defends the ball instead of the body exceptionally well on shot attempts. If the jumper is developing as a reliable facet to his game that's en enormous plus.
Negatives: Brings the ball down every. single. time. Would love to see him keep it high and finish instead of taking unnecessary dribbles and just don't see it yet. No highlights of him powering through defenders reaching in either. Some of that may just be the PTL style of play but no real sense that his freshman weaknesses are strengths now.
Positives: Very encouraging highlight reel. He's not Tony Parker, but the playing styles are similar: very good control, dictates pace, elevates on jumper very well to shoot over taller defenders. Surprising athleticism (and not just because he's white).
Negatives: Could dribble himself into trouble against better opponents. Flourished off the ball last season but not much using screens to get free in this reel. How good is he from deep?
Positives: Jumper stroke looks smooth, quick and reliable. A few slick bounce passes in the highlight reel. Looks prepared to be a primary scoring option in lineups without many offensive threats next season.
Negatives: All we're seeing is him hitting open jumpers, which, yeah. Worries about turnovers from last season aren't allayed. Would really like to see more of his game than his jump shot, but what can you do?
Positives: Still wonderfully athletic, still learning to harness it. Aggression around the basket on the offensive end bodes very well for upcoming season. On-ball defense looks improved, though competition should be considered. Keeps ball high (ARE YOU LISTENING WOODBURY) and shows ability to get ball out of trouble.
Negatives: Post moves still lacking in finesse, even if he's at least trying. Would like to see more reliability out of inside jumper. Not much pick-and-roll action on display, although yeah, it's the PTL.
The big men are still coming along, obviously. And against the inferior competition of the PTL, not only are we not going to see what they can do against strong opponents, but we're not going to see how well they've really improved their biggest flaws.
The guards' play is a little more instructive, though, and both Gesell and Jok look ready to roll for the upcoming season. Uthoff could very well be one of the top five players on the team, though he's at such a logjam at forward that we're not really sure how he'll be used and how often just yet. Either way there's plenty to be excited about here, even considering the fact that it's just the PTL, and the future is certainly bright.