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Lunch Links Hits the Hardwood

The basketball season gets earlier and earlier every year

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Media Day Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing has a way of stealing football season’s thunder like basketball.

The Big Ten is holding men’s basketball media days for what seems to be the earliest time I can remember, and well there’s Iowa hoopyball news!

First things first: Iowa sophomore Joe Wieskamp is on the 10-member preseason all-Big Ten team. I bet if Jordan Bohannon’s status was more clear (more on that later) he might’ve made the team, but maybe not. Wieskamp made over 40 percent of his three-point attempts last year, and was on the all-freshmen team.

It’s exciting. It’s motivation for me to go out there and prove I’m worthy of being on that list. That shows how much people respect my game. At the end of the day, I’ve got to go out and prove I’m worthy of being on there.

Here’s who else is on this year’s preseason all-conference team:

Ayo Dosunmu, Sophomore Guard, Illinois

Joe Wieskamp, Sophomore Guard, Iowa


Jalen Smith, Sophomore Forward, Maryland

Zavier Simpson, Senior Guard, Michigan

Xavier Tillman, Junior Forward, Michigan State



Lamar Stevens, Senior Forward, Penn State

Nojel Eastern, Junior Guard, Purdue

All caps denotes they were unanimous selections by the media panel, and Cassius Winston is the consensus preseason player of the year. I cannot believe I’m still typing the name Cassius Winston.

And now the most pressing news: is Jordan Bohannon gonna play this year?

Fran McCaffery told reporters that just two months ago, he was certain that Bohannon would be redshirting this year following hip surgery in November. Now? There’s a chance Iowa’s golden boy could be hitting the hardwood with five weeks until first tip.

My dad had hip surgery back in 2012. He still hasn’t fully recovered.

Iowa is still planning as though JoBo won’t be around. And that’s probably smart.

We’re trying not to put pressure on him in any way, shape or form, McCaffery said. I want him to be able to play his senior year as pain-free as possible. So we’re planning as if he’s not playing. If he plays, we’ll be thrilled that he is.

And he’ll be able to jump back in because of how good he is and because he’s a senior leader.

Without Bohannon in the mix, Iowa’s starting lineup is murky. True freshman Joe Toussaint is a lock for point guard (and probably is even with Bohannon, him sliding to the two) while Wieskamp and Garza are the other locks. That leaves room for Cordell Pemsl (suspension aside) Jack Nunge, Ryan Kriener and transfer Bakari Evelyn to make their hay on the court. Say nothing of the McCaffery brothers and CJ Fredrick. We’re looking at another minutes logjam for an Iowa basketball team.

It’s worth noting that the three-point line is moving back this season in college, for some reason. Losing a sharpshooter like Bohannon could be brutal, but from what we’re hearing, Fredrick has some shooting prowess himself.

The rest

  • Fran McCaffery is excited to return to the Palestra, where he played at Penn, when the Hawkeyes take on Penn State in January. It’s pretty cool you get to coach where sons in the same place you played yourself.
  • On the hoops recruiting front, Ottumwa native Xavier Foster is shooting to make an announcement in mid-November. He’ll be in Iowa City next weekend for the Penn State football game.
  • Our friends at GIA have a nice little wrap up of an interesting recruiting battle Iowa is having with a mystery school.
  • Carson King officially raised just shy of $3 million for the UI Children’s hospital.
  • I didn’t realize all the Lincoln roots Fred Hoiberg has.
  • It’s looking like Black Thursday over at SI.
  • The Twins-Yankees playoff curse is the greatest curse in pro sports. I’m going to the game Monday. It’ll be the first Minnesota postseason game I’ve been to since the Timberwolves-Lakers Western Conference Finals in 2004.