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Iowa Hoops Player Profiles: The Walk-ons

Iowa added a couple taller shooters this offseason who may generate new cult followings

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Iowa Hawkeyes basketball season is coming at juuust the right time. While the expectations aren’t as high as last year, the possibility of a successful season still exists. Over the next week, we’ll take a look at the players on Iowa’s roster and what type of season we might expect from them. We’ll kick things off with the walk-ons!

Austin Ash

#13, RS Senior, G, 6’3”, 180 lbs
2020-21 stats: 1.7 PPG, 33% 3P, 2.7 MPG, 9 games
Career stats: 1.6 PPG, 31% 3P, 3.2 MPG, 26 games

Not technically a walk-on, the Mount Vernon product has spent the better part of four seasons delighting Hawkeye fans with his celebrations and long-range shooting in garbage time. His role is not expected to change all that much but if Iowa is in desperate need for an extra shooter, he could be a guy in very niche situations.

He snagged career highs in points & minutes against Savannah State in 2018 where he went absolutely launched it (3/9 in 20 minutes for 9 points) in a 46 point Hawkeye win. Considering the Hawks are slated to play 8 teams currently rated 220th or worse according to KenPom, we may see a fair amount of Ash in the non-conference.

Carter Kingsbury

#14, Freshman, G, 6’4”, 225 lbs
2019-20 stats (HS): 21.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 3.9 APG
Career stats: N/A

Kingsbury is a familiar name in Iowa City, as his father Chris, still holds the single-season mark for 3s in a season at 117. Carter shows much of the same shooting stroke of his father and graduated from Ponca HS in 2020 as its all-time leading scorer. He spent 2020-21 at Brewster Academy (same prep school as ‘22 recruit Dasonte Bowen) and selected Iowa over a bevy of D-II opportunities and walk-on spots from Dakotas North and South. Here’s some tape:

He’s got a little more “look” as a potential contributor with the stroke of a kid with an absolute gunner of a father. Like Ash, though, it’s likely his playing time is limited to when games get out of reach.

Luc Laketa

#25, Freshman, G, 6’4”, 180 lbs
2019-20 stats (HS): 15.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 60% FG, 45% 3P
Career stats: N/A

Like Kingsbury, Laketa spent 2020-21 at prep school at the behest of Fran McCaffery - Fran and Laketa’s dad go back to Notre Dame because of course they do. While Iowa nabbed just Luc, his brother Rhett opted for D3 ball at North Central College.

Laketa has much the same profile as Kingsbury as a solid shooter with some ability off the bounce and in the lane. He shows a lot of what you see from past Hawkeyes but in a frame a few pounds lighter and few inches shorter.

Walk-ons have an integral role within college basketball to facilitate smooth scouting operations which give them an ability to demonstrate their aptitude and skill alongside projected players. Iowa’s seen kids find their way into the rotation (most notably, Nicholas Baer) so you can’t necessarily count out any of the above three as someone who could hit a shot off the bench.

However, it’s likely they’ll see their playing time confined to garbage time. We hope that’s happening in big Iowa wins.