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Ten Days Until Iowa Basketball: Joe Wieskamp

If Iowa wants to make it back to the NCAA Tournament this season, its sharpshooting sophomore will need to be the catalyst.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Iowa vs Tennessee Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With only ten days left until the start of Iowa basketball season, BHGP’s player previews continue with arguably Iowa’s best and most important player of the 2019-20 season.

Joe Wieskamp

Shooting Guard/Small Forward

6’6”, 205 lbs.

Muscatine, IA (Muscatine, HS)

Wieskamp is one of the mostly highly touted recruits of the Fran McCaffery era and expectations for the talented freshman were understandably high when he arrived on campus last year. Still, even the most optimistic Iowa fans couldn’t have reasonably expected Wieskamp to perform as well as he did from day one. A look at Wieskamp’s 2018-19 accomplishments shows exactly why he was named to the pre-season All-Big Ten team and why Iowa is counting on him to lead the team during Jordan Bohannon’s likely absence:

· Voted to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and was twice named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week during conference play

· Made the second most three-pointers of any freshman in program history (59)

· Had the second-best three-point percentage of any freshman in program history (42.4%) and the second best of any player in the Big Ten last season

· Had the fourth-best free throw shooting percentage of any freshman in program history (76.7%)

· Became one of only three freshmen in Big Ten history and three players in Iowa history to go 6-6 or better from three-point range in a single game

· Became the first Iowa freshman in 22 years to score 19 points and grab five rebounds in an NCAA tournament game

Wieskamp’s reputation as a prolific high school scorer had fans salivating about what he could bring to the offensive side of the ball, and he certainly didn’t disappoint during his freshman season. Wieskamp established himself as the best three-point shooter on the team, an impressive feat considering that he shared a backcourt with two other sharpshooters in Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss. While Wieskamp is known for his near perfect shooting stroke, it was his least technically proficient shot of the season that cemented his place in Iowa basketball lore.

However, Wieskamp showed that he was more than just a shooter. He finished second on the team in rebounds with 4.9 per game and proved to be better than expected when taking the ball to the rim. He also established himself as the best perimeter defender in Iowa’s backcourt by using his savvy court awareness and deceptive length to frustrate opposing wings and challenge shots.

Wieskamp will have to shoulder a much greater burden this season if the Hawkeyes want to make it back to the NCAA tournament. Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon were both gravitational players who forced the defenses to account for them whenever they stepped onto the court, creating more opportunities for players like Wieskamp to get set shots by finding holes in the defense. With Cook playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jordan Bohannon in danger of missing the season due to injury, Wieskamp will be expected to grow up fast in the face of significantly more defensive pressure in 2019-20.

Still, discounting the chances that Wieskamp could rise to this new challenge is just as foolish as believing he wasn’t capable of the breakout season he orchestrated as a freshman. Wieskamp is a legitimate future NBA prospect who could elevate his game to an entirely new level if he can improve his strength, his explosiveness off his first step, and his lateral quickness on defense. Iowa may need Wieskamp to reach his NBA potential sooner rather than later if the team hopes to mount another run to the NCAA tournament, and the spindly sophomore from Muscatine might just be up to the task.