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Iowa basketball player previews: Riley Mulvey

Can the sophomore center make an impact in non-garbage time this season?

Iowa v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

It’s that time of year again: Iowa basketball is just around the corner. In the lead up to the first game of the season we’re going to take a look at each Hawkeye and what we might expect from them in the 2022-23 season.

First up: Riley Mulvey

#44 - Riley Mulvey, F, 6’11”, 245 lbs
Sophomore; Rotterdam, NY; St. Thomas More

2021-22: 18 games, 80 minutes, 6/12 FG, 4/4 FT, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks

To put it kindly, it was a weird and tumultuous 2021-22 season for Riley Mulvey. After Fran McCaffery struck out in the transfer portal in trying to snag a center, Mulvey announced he was going to reclassify from the ‘22 class into ‘21.

He was the 213th ranked recruit according to 247 after the change and selected Iowa over Penn State, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech among a smattering of northeastern colleges. His highlight reel was most notable in his length and athleticism, something which has been missing from Iowa’s roster at center since Adam Woodbury? Gabe Olaseni?

Unfortunately, he struggled to crack the rotation last season with most of his time coming out of position in garbage time alongside Josh Ogundele. His high point, minutes- & points-wise came November 22nd against Western Michigan with 8 in 13 minutes. In the Big Ten Tournament, he had 3 blocks against Northwestern and 4 ... eventful ... minutes trying to hold down the fort against Zach Edey. He got a three up.

In the offseason, he was aggressively forthright in his assessment of his freshman season: “I should have been taking it more seriously.” He mentioned specifically working with Iowa assistants instead of just getting shots up by himself as a way to improve.

My view on him ahead of ‘22 goes one of two ways. The first is to view him as a guy with three years of eligibility left but an extension of his high school tape: a springy & willing defender and a guy who can run the court to get easy baskets on offense. The other way is that the 80 minutes he played are a harbinger of things to come where he looks out of place and still growing into his body.

If he was able to put his words into action, he’ll find time as Iowa’s backup to Filip Rebraca and may have some moments which show what he can really do. If it’s more of what we saw last year, he might still be a year away from being a year away.