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HAWKEYE HOOPS: Let’s Talk Lineups

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Who will be the first five Hawkeyes on the floor this season?

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The beginning of the season is always the most fun. We have basically nothing except speculation and optimism. Oh and if you’re Hawkeye football, you haven’t alienated your fanbase yet.

So now that basketball is on the horizon, we can start to speculate on which of the newcomers will be the first on the floor this year. Part of the excitement with this team is that we simply do not know what we have, outside of Peter Jok. The possible lineups for opening night against Regis are endless (yeah, it’s an exhibition but hey, it’s still two teams playing on the hardwood and keeping score). Let’s take a look at what we have shall we?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Iowa vs Temple Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

LOCKS

Peter Jok: Yeah when you have one returning starter who is 2nd team all-B1G and preseason All-American (according to some), that guy is going to start. The only question will be whether he starts as a 2 (undoubtedly the position he’d play in the NBA) or 3 (the position he played last year).

Tyler Cook: So I’m probably jumping the gun and I know coaches don’t care about stars and rankings, but when you bring in a freshman talent like Cook, you probably sold him on something like immediate playing time. I suspect that part of Fran’s allure to Adam Woodbury and Mike Gesell 5 years ago was the promise of playing and playing early. Not only that, but Cook will provide much-needed athleticism and bulk around the basket. Despite some divided opinions on Woodbury, the dude ate up space and rebounded. Cook can help replace some of that and provide some highlight dunks in the process.

LIKELY NOT

Maishe Dailey: I think Dailey will wind up being a bright spot for the Hawkeyes down the road. He has great moves and glides up and down the court Devyn Marble style. But he’s still very slender and a true freshman. He’s likely looking at a deep backup 2 role or a redshirt.

Brady Ellingson: I think Ellingson has the potential to fill an important off-the-bench role IF, and I mean IF, his shots are falling. We haven’t gotten to see much of Ellingson, but what we have seen is that he has the capability to get hot, but still lacks quickness and athleticism, which hurts him defensively.

Dale Jones: I do think Jones will either be in the starting lineup or very close to it by B1G play. I think he is very underrated and his latest appearances show him sporting off some added muscle. But since he is coming off a second knee surgery and this article is for next week, I don’t see it.

NCAA Basketball: Coppin St. at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Moss: Once again, I have pretty high hopes for Moss as Jok’s heir-apparent. However, this guess is going by the plain lack of stuff I’ve heard about it from the brief coach talk I’ve heard. He could surprise, but I don’t think it will happen by next Friday.

Riley Till/Charlie Rose: Walk ons. So yeah. Maybe Till will be another Baer down the road

POTENTIAL LINEUPS

So with that out of the way, who will join Jok and Cook? We have seven players fighting for three spots. Here are a few of my guesses at how this will go.

Athleticism

  1. Christian Williams
  2. Peter Jok
  3. Dom Uhl
  4. Tyler Cook
  5. Ahmad Wagner

Pros: Decent experience plus lots of length and athleticism which should help defensively. This lineup should be able to get up and down the floor in a hurry.

Cons: Not sure where the offense would come from without Jok. Uhl was frustratingly inconsistent last year and Cook can’t do it all down low (hopefully he can, but he is a freshman after all).

Shooting

  1. Jordan Bohannon
  2. Peter Jok
  3. Nicolas Baer
  4. Dom Uhl
  5. Tyler Cook

Pros: If Uhl can get going, this group should be able to stretch the floor, especially if Cook’s outside shot has improved like some have said. And I like to see Baer on the floor.

Cons: Leaving the starting PG duties to a freshman is always a tricky business. And maybe Williams will come around with shooting and maybe Bohannon can’t get it going, but Fran has said they are basically neck and neck so who knows.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Iowa vs Temple Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Fast-Developing Freshmen

  1. Jordan Bohannon
  2. Peter Jok
  3. Dom Uhl
  4. Tyler Cook
  5. Cordell Pemsl

Pros: The shooting would be good, presumably. The front line would be pretty athletic.

Cons: That’s a lot of freshmen on the floor. I don’t see it and this is admittedly a wild shot in the dark. But I do have a feeling about Pemsl. He reminds me of a poor man’s Georges Niang. Hopefully he’s less of a DB than Niang, but match half his production. It should also be mentioned that Ryan Kriener very well could be where Pemsl is as well.

Ball-handling

  1. Jordan Bohannon
  2. Christian Williams
  3. Peter Jok
  4. Dom Uhl
  5. Tyler Cook

Pros: I admittedly like this lineup now that I’ve written it down. The offense should be solid assuming the shots are falling. Fran has also said in the offseason that Williams is a pretty able defender so it may be tough to keep both of them off the floor. And Dom is a pretty nimble ball-handler for a bigger guy.

Cons: There’s a noticeable lack of beef on the inside. I’m not sure how well the rebounding would be with this lineup either.

Most likely/Experience

  1. Christian Williams
  2. Peter Jok
  3. Nicolas Baer
  4. Dom Uhl
  5. Tyler Cook

Pros: I think this is ultimately the one we see next week and likely for most of the non-conference. There is experience, good ball handling, good length/athleticism, and should be some decent outside threats if the Baer and Uhl from January of last year return.

Cons: Even though I said that I like Baer on the floor, I actually prefer him in a sixth man role because his energy can be contagious for the new guys. How will the rebounding be if Uhl is not more aggressive?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Iowa vs Temple Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

So, in conclusion, I think Uhl is likely an opening-day starter after all, but I think his leash may be short if his aggressiveness does not pick up. Overall, though, I think our athleticism will be greatly improved and Fran will be able to employ a variety of defensive looks. A key matchup to watch will be who gets the nod at PG between Bohannon and Williams. As we all know, college basketball is a guard’s game and PG can make or break a team.

Let the games begin!