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What's going on in the PTL?

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The PTL was in action with a pair of games last week, 7/7 in North Liberty and 7/10 in Waterloo.  Here's a round-up of highlights and observations from those outings.


PTL Thoughts & Observations for 7-7-16

-Freshmen forwards Cordell Pemsl and Tyler Cook matched up against each other with Pemsl's team winning a close game. Pemsl scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half and grabbed four rebounds. He also splashed in 1 of 2 from behind the 3-point arc.
Cook finished with 17 points, three rebounds and five assists. He ignited the crowd with a couple of thunderous dunks.
Pemsl and Cook share some similarities. They can face the basket, handle the ball and pass. Cook is more explosive while Pemsl uses positioning and angles to get free inside.

Iowa freshman Cordell Pemsl moves past injury-plagued history

"Trying to get each other to go to the next level because we know there's always a next level," Pemsl said of his battles with Cook. "We never want to just play mediocre. We want to give our best game no matter what. We're always giving full effort, whether we're making mistakes or not. As long as we're pushing each other, that's all that matters."

Cook, at 6-8, is in line to be the starting power forward for Iowa this winter. Pemsl, if completely healthy, could spell Cook and sophomore center Ahmad Wagner. It would be a bulky, if inexperienced, trio for the Hawkeyes.

"I'm a little undersized to play the 5 (center), but I have the body to play the 5," Pemsl said. "Four (power forward) is where I feel more comfortable because at that position some of those guys have to come out and guard me because I can shoot the ball. So I may be matched up with someone a little smaller so I can go post up, too. Because that's been my game since I was a little kid. That's kind of a position where I know I can go both ways.

Iowa's Ahmad Wagner looks to develop his game

Wagner averaged 2.6 points and 2.6 rebounds over 10.1 minutes a game last year for Iowa. He hit 68.1 percent from the field, including nine of his last 11 attempts. He was a beast against Indiana, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 17 minutes.

But his direction was narrow. He was asked to affect change, bring toughness and energy. He played mostly under the basket and displayed very little along the perimeter. That's changing in summer workouts, and he's playing primarily at forward.

"I'm taking the ball off the glass and pushing it," Wagner said. "I'm working on shooting the ball.

"We can all shoot this year and a lot of people that are versatile can play on the wing. So we're working on driving and kicking and in our offense — the five and the four and three — they're all interchangeable. So we've all been working on different positions."

Iowa point guards lock in on competition

Williams averaged only 5.1 minutes and 1.4 points a game last year. Early on, Williams struggled with consistency, which kept him on the bench. But he flashed his potential with an eight-point effort in 12 minutes against Indiana.

"Picking things up, I don't think it was too difficult for me," Williams said. "I think the difficulty was a lack of confidence. That was the main thing that (assistant coach Kirk) Speraw always preached to me was about you've got to have confidence. If you want to be a good player, you've got to have confidence.

"Coming in to Indiana, coach just told me do what I do. Just get on the wing and the run the fast break and get to the basket. That's what I tried to do."

Bohannon was named Iowa's Mr. Basketball in March after averaging 25.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and connecting on 92 3-pointers. He added 58 assists and 28 steals.

"Our games are obviously totally different, and that's what helps us the most," Bohannon said. "We can play with each other when we're on the court together and we already have good chemistry together. He's obviously a lot more of penetrator, and I shoot it more than he does around the arc. Our games help each other a lot, especially when we're playing together."

Observations: What we've learned about Iowa basketball this summer

Moss, a 6-5 wing player with a shooter's mentality, has scored 24 points in each game while hoisting 34 shots total. He wants the ball in his hands at all times, sometimes to his team's detriment. He is 8-of-16 from the 3, and has converted 12-of-15 free throws on drives to the basket in which he seems to hope defenders try to get in his way. There won't be that many shot attempts available to Moss once the season starts — backing up star shooting guard Peter Jok won't allow for it. But for the summer, Moss' daring and Williams' control are a hard-to-stop combination, and perhaps the best attributes of each player will rub off on the other.

As usual with Uhl, it's been hard to read too much into his PTL appearances so far. He has 46 points but is 6-of-21 from the arc. He also has 20 rebounds, but at a springy 6-9, there's always a sense that he should be more dominant. It could be that he's just coasting against inferior competition.

Baer has, not surprisingly, flashed an energetic all-around game this summer, scoring 45 points, with 26 rebounds and eight assists in two games. He says he's working on his ball-handling so that he can better attack off the dribble this year. The results have been mixed so far: He's 18-of-28 from inside the arc, but just 2-of-12 from beyond it.


More highlights from Hawkeye Report:

PTL Waterloo from HawkeyeReport on Vimeo.

Anyone else in attendance at one or both of those games?  Feel free to share your own observations in the comments.

The PTL resumes action tomorrow night (July 14) in North Liberty.