It’s been an up-and-down beginning to the season for Fran McCaffery and Iowa Basketball. A deflating loss to DePaul last week took any hype around the season away. And some wins against teams that weren’t exactly blowouts but hypothetically should have been is cementing that, especially heading into next week’s Las Vegas Invitational.
But this team is young. And things will take time to gel throughout the non-conference schedule. Or so we hope, at least.
Ahead of tonight’s game against North Florida, tipping at 6, and Sunday’s game against Cal Poly, which tips at 4 on Sunday, Fran McCaffery met with the media yesterday afternoon. Check out the full transcript here.
Q. Three games in, how is Jordan’s health? Is it getting better or how would you assess his progress?
FRAN McCAFFERY: I think he’s getting a little better. I thought he was good the other night. He’s been good at practice. Getting closer to being himself.
Q. At the least you play him the games he can play --
FRAN McCAFFERY: He’s going to keep playing for a while and then we’ll see how he feels.
I certainly haven’t been overly impressed with Jordan Bohannon this season, and for good measure. He’s not healthy, and it appears as if he’s trying to play his way into health. Frankly, it makes me a bit nervous that he’s playing but I’m not a medical professional, so I’ll leave this up to the coaching and medical staffs, and Jordan himself. But still, I don’t want to see this get worse.
Q. How are you feeling about your team’s shot selection through the first three games?FRAN McCAFFERY: Pretty good. It wasn’t great coming down the stretch the other night. We took a couple shots early in the clock that weren’t necessary as you get under two minutes, but I don’t see a lot of guys forcing shots, shooting contested shots. That’s when it really becomes a problem. If we’re missing, we’re missing open shots and we’re creating open shots for other people. So I think any time you’re a coach and your team is taking open shots, that’s what you encourage them to do. You encourage them to move the ball and mix up post feeds, drives, threes, and share it to where teams can’t really focus on one or two guys.
That’s an improvement from Fran’s answer to a similar question last week. Yes, Oral Roberts was a different quality opponent than DuPaul, but still, shot selection is something this team needs to work on, so any improvement is necessary at this point.
Q. What can you guys do to get Wieskamp going a little bit more?
FRAN McCAFFERY: I think that’ll happen without too much difficulty. He’s got the green light. He’s never been a guy that hunts shots. We want him to shoot as many times as he wants, but he’s going to shoot when he’s open. Teams are covering him closely, as you can imagine ... I’m okay with him shooting 15 or 20 shots if he wants to, and we’ll keep going to him when we do.
This is an interesting answer. When Fran talks about someone having the green light, it’s the ultimate compliment from him. But later in this answer, he goes on to say that Wieskamp is just a part of the offense. I think that’s a mistake. Wieskamp should be the, if not at least a, focal point of the offense.
Q. What do you want to see tomorrow night that maybe you haven’t seen?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Well, I think we’re going to have to consistently defend. This team is really gifted offensively. They’re capable of putting up a lot of points. Not a big mistake group. They run good stuff. They move the ball, share the ball. They defend. They compete. They have an expectation of what the season is going to be like for them. So we have to be able to perform on a consistent level defensively and execute our stuff offensively while understanding time and score and playing the kind of game that you need to play to beat a really good team.
And last but not least, let’s end on a bit of a sad note.
Q. How is Patrick’s attitude?
FRAN McCAFFERY: He’s been really good. We’re continuing to work through it, trying to help him manage what his body is going through, what it’s been going through. It’s a huge adjustment, as we all know. But his attitude, to answer your question, has been very good.
Q. Has he been practicing?
FRAN McCAFFERY: Yeah.
Q. Will he play tomorrow?
FRAN McCAFFERY: We’ll see how he’s doing, but I don’t think so.
Q. Do you have to slow him down at all or is his body doing that for him?
FRAN McCAFFERY: It’s very unique to say the least. Not having gone through this, there’s not many test cases of it. But when you go through what his body went through -- you talk about his weight, you talk about his energy level, you talk about his sleeping, his eating, his digestive system, it’s completely different than what anybody else goes through, and it takes a huge toll when you are going against the athletes the caliber of the guys he’s going against right now. So it’s been a huge adjustment for him physically and obviously mentally, as well, as a result of that.
He’s doing the best he can, and we’re working with our medical staff and our nutrition folks to try to help him.
We continue to wish nothing but the best for Patrick McCaffery. If nothing else, at least it seems like he and the entire team, are taking things in stride and doing whatever is possible to make the situation as manageable as possible.