It was an interesting week for Iowa Basketball. It began with an absolute rout in East Lansing and ended with a big win over Iowa State. It also featured a surprise appearance by Cordell Pemsl, who had previously been ruled out for the season due to needing a procedure to remove screws from his knee. Instead, he surprised every Iowa basketball fan and made a huge contribution agains the Cyclones. Fran McCaffery got things started with the media ahead of tomorrow’s game against UNI in the Hy-Vee Classic in Des Moines answering questions about Pemsl, so we will too. Check out the full transcript here.
Q. How is Cordell? Is he going to be able to play Saturday?
COACH McCAFFERY: I think so.
Q. Has he been practicing well?
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, he’s been at practice. He doesn’t do everything, but he’s there working.
Q. Is it possible he could play the rest of the season?
COACH McCAFFERY: It’s a possibility, I guess, but it’s up to him. It really is legitimately day-to-day; how he feels.
Q. Will he practice on a limited basis throughout the year?
COACH McCAFFERY: That’s hard to say, too. It is now.
Q. How will that change what you do on the court?
COACH McCAFFERY: It gives us more depth, and he’s a different kind of player. I think you saw it the other night when we played Iowa State, what he brought to the table. He’s a competitor. He’s an experienced guy. He’s got some versatility. It’s clearly a benefit.
Well this is quickly becoming an interesting situation. If he keeps playing like he did against Iowa State and also feels up for it, I think that could really help the team. I still think Iowa would have been able to win without him last week, but he certainly played a role in making the win as dominating as it was. Is it just me, or is this situation really strange?
In other injury news...
Q. How is Joe [Wieskamp] doing? Is he better?
COACH McCAFFERY: Yeah, slowly. He’s still not a hundred percent but he’s getting closer.
A name you’ll be hearing a lot tomorrow for the Panthers is A.J. Green. Fran also broke down some of what he’ll bring to the table: a diverse skillset for a true freshman.
Q. You have obviously seen a lot of AJ Green over the years. Thoughts on how he’s translated to the college game?
COACH McCAFFERY: Very well. But, everybody would have expected that. His game is pretty complete. He can dribble, pass and shoot. He’s got size. He can score in bunches. He can load people up.
He’s always played the game with great confidence, and sometimes you see that not translate, but that’s not been the case with him. He’s kind of playing with the same kind of confidence and aggressiveness that he always has. It’s sort of been a seamless transition, I guess you’d say, for him.
I haven’t seen a lot of Green, but if the YouTube video below is any indication, he certainly fits Fran’s bill from above. He’s got nice ball-handling ability and a really nice shooting stroke.
Q. AJ Green, is that a guy you have get physical with and try to limit him?
COACH McCAFFERY: You have to be careful with that because then you put him on the free throw line, you better guard him closely. I mean, you’d better pay attention to him. You’d better know where he is. But that’s what makes them dangerous because as good as he is, they have other guys that make threes.
They have some athletes. They have got some size...They have a lot of ways they can go. They have kind of gone small at times. AJ’s got the ball most of the time. He’s kind of the key to everything. But they are surrounding him with people who can make shots, who can make plays, so that makes him dangerous.
It seems like Iowa’s three-point defense will definitely be tested against the Panthers.
Last but not least, this is the final iteration of the Hy-Vee Classic. What does Fran think of that?
Q. You grew up in the Big Five and experienced a lot of rivalries in your career. With the possibility of not playing Drake and UNI anymore, do you have mixed emotions on that? You’ve coached on that level and this level.
COACH McCAFFERY: You’re right. I think the Big Five is a little bit different kind of comparison, because when that started, everybody, all five teams played at one location, and they played doubleheaders and it went on for years and years and years ... We just started this a few years ago.
...Scheduling becomes confusing now and they just changed it again with the NET formula.
So it’s just one of those things. I have enjoyed the event. I have tremendous respect for Ben and his program. The players that he has are very good. It’s going to be a tough game for us. But we’ll just move on with whatever schedule we have.
Q. Do you ever see home and away, Drake and UNI coming back, or is it just too hard now?
COACH McCAFFERY: I don’t really think about it. Down the road, I wouldn’t say it’s not a possibility. I wouldn’t say no. I wouldn’t say yes.
Well that’s non-committal! Check back here later to see our hot takes about the Iowa/Iowa State/UNI/Drake scheduling. I promise BoilerHawk will break it down more than Fran just did.