Oh yeah, what a feeling! Football is in the air which means Iowa Hawkeyes basketball is right around the corner. We’ll be counting down the days, here and there, until Iowa’s first game tips off. The countdown continues with… Joe Wieskamp.
55: Luka Garza
51: Nicholas Baer
35: Cordell Pemsl
30: Connor McCaffery
25: Tyler Cook
24: Nico Hobbs
20: Riley Till
15: Ryan Kriener
13: Austin Ash
Meet the Freshman: Joe Wieskamp pic.twitter.com/ETDhNfF8AR— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) June 24, 2018
#10 Joe Wieskamp, G
Hometown: Muscatine, Iowa (Muscatine)
Stars: 247 Sports - 4 Rivals - 4
Joe Wieskamp is a true freshman entering his first season with the Hawkeyes. He comes in as the highest rated recruit in the Fran McCaffery era as a consensus top-50 recruit nationally. So just how good can JW be?
Very, very good.
As a high school senior a season ago at Muscatine, Joe Wieskamp averaged 33.7 points per game on 55.6% shooting and 13.5 rebounds per game en route to being named the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Iowa for the second straight season. He also left as the school record holder in career points (2,376), points in a single-game (54), 3-pointers in a single-season (62), scoring average (26.1 ppg), and career rebounds (908).
Those 2,376 career points are good for the MAC conference record. He pushed aside former Iowa and Davenport North Star Ricky Davis, who finished his high school career 1,619 points, now good enough for second all-time in the conference.
As impressive as those high school numbers are, perhaps more impressive are the early reports out of Hawkeye practice.
Jordan Bohannon just said that incoming freshman joe Wieskamp dunked over Tyler Cook during their first open gym this summer, and that it made quite an impression.— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) July 5, 2018
That’s not an easy task.
Since then, the reviews have continued to be glowing. At every turn, Fran McCaffery has taken the opportunity to praise Wieskamp. Back in August, it was the declaration that JW was certainly the most highly touted recruit Fran’s had and that he was living up to that hype.
Then in October, Fran got more specific, telling the Des Moines Register :
“He’s a really good defender. He’s a really good ball-handler. He can guard a number of different positions, so it gives us some flexibility there. … I think he kind of views himself as somebody who can really help our team, even if his shot is not falling on any particular day — and that’s because he’s got such a complete game.”
We all know by now that coach McCaffery can be a bit prone to hyperbole at times. And that’s some pretty high praise. But it just coming from Fran. Joe’s teammates are taking notice too.
Junior guard Maishe Dailey had this to said about Wieskamp:
“He was as advertised, scoring wherever on the floor.”
So, what should Iowa fans expect out of the freshman phenom this season? For starters, I’d say a day 1 starter. Much like Adam Woodbury and Mike Gessell before him, I expect Joe Wieskamp to start every game he’s able to during his time at Iowa. He’s that good.
In terms of what he’ll bring to the team, it’s a little bit of everything. He’s known most as a scorer, but there seems to be a common misconception that he’s strictly a shooter.
While he is indeed a tremendous shooter, regardless of whether he’s wide open or with a defender in his face, he’s going to surprise some people with his ability to put the ball on the deck and finish at the rim. He’s quicker than you’d expect from a pure shooter and once he gets a step, he has a killer instinct in the paint. He can pull up from anywhere or dunk on just about anyone (see Cook, Tyler).
He’s also a very willing passer. Wieskamp didn’t have out of this world assist numbers at Muscatine, but that wasn’t for lack of trying. He’s a very heady player and seems to always make the right play. In high school that often meant passing up contested shots to hit open teammates, even if they didn’t always knock down the shot. Look for him to excel at finding the open man in Fran’s offense if the shot isn’t there for himself.
Defensively, JW uses his combination of height and quickness to play very solid defense for a guy with a reputation as a scorer. He’s best suited to defend the 3 where he has the height to match up and will likely be as quick or quicker than anyone he faces. At the two, he can stay with his man as well as a guy like Dailey, who has a similar build if slightly smaller.
And finally, Wieskamp is an excellent rebounder at his position. Look for him to average 5+ rebounds a game as a freshman. That should help limit second chances for opponents and create extra opportunities for the Hawkeyes.
Double digit points seems like a tall task for any incoming freshman in the Big Ten, but Wieskamp has the tools to be a 10/5/3 a night kind of player. Those numbers would likely be good enough for the All-Big Ten Freshman team and would be an excellent step toward the NCAA Tournament for the Hawkeyes.
Hawkeye fans should be excited to feast their eyes on Joe Wieskamp.