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Looking Ahead: Three Newcomers Who Could Boost Iowa's Basketball Fortunes Next Year

Taking a quick look into the future and the new additions for Iowa's 2014-15 basketball team.

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa's probably not quite done adding players to their 2014-15 recruiting class (they have four available scholarships if Darius Stokes isn't going to be under scholarship next year, as seems to be the case, and only three commitments to date), but that doesn't mean that we can't take a look at the ones they are adding to the mix next year.  Thus far, Iowa has two commits who have signed letters of intent, SG Brady Ellingson and PF Dominique Uhl.  This weekend Iowa added a verbal commitment from JUCO PG Trey Dickerson, who will have three years of eligibility remaining when he arrives at Iowa.


Shooting Guard
Sussex, WI (Hamilton)
6-4, 175

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 2★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

Ellingson was the first verbal of this class for Iowa; he committed back in late September.  He chose Iowa over offers from Missouri, Drake, Utah, and both South Dakota schools (USD and SDSU).

What we said back then:

I'm pretty sure he didn't attempt a single shot from inside in the three-point arc in either of those two first two highlight videos. He did attempt (and make) some 2-point shots in the final highlight video, including a few dunks (although I think it's fair to say that he's not likely to be winning many dunk contests at future Black and Gold Blowouts), but I strongly suspect that the first two videos are a bit more indicative of what aspect of his game attracted Fran's interest: his long-range shooting.

Based on these clips, Ellingson has a nice shooting stroke overall and a pretty quick release -- there were quite a few solid catch-and-shoot examples on display there. Really, Ellingson looks like a ready-made replacement for Josh Oglesby in the Iowa lineup. Oglesby will be a senior when Ellingson arrives in 2014; if Ellingson takes a redshirt that season, he could have four full years to fill Oglesby's shoes as Iowa's designated buzzcut-shorn three-point specialist. (On the other hand, if Iowa's three-point shooting woes continue in 2013-14, Ellingson may get an opportunity to play right away.)

Ellingson averaged 21.3 points and 3.5 rebounds last season, hitting on 51% of his field goal attempts and around 50% of his three-point attempts.  He missed time earlier this year while dealing with a bout of mono, but was still averaging around 25 ppg as of January.  He seems to have recovered well from that ailment, though:

But over the weekend, Ellingson became a legend.

On Friday night in Mequon, he poured in 29 points and went 8-for-9 from the free-throw line as the Chargers broke open a one-point game in the fourth quarter to upset Homestead, 57-47.

And on Saturday in Wales, Ellingson capped a 38-point night with an ice-cold, Jimmy Chitwood-style 3-pointer at the buzzer - with two defenders surrounding him - to lift Hamilton past Classic 8 Conference champion Kettle Moraine, 49-46.

And here's video of the shot in question:

If nothing else, maybe he can hit one of those late-game shots that Iowa never seems to make.

Here are a few more highlight reels:

Ellingson is a gunner and shooter and while Josh Oglesby has rebounded nicely from his horrendous shooting last year and an early season foot injury, Iowa can certainly use more shooters.  It's hard to say how much playing time he gets next year; on paper, it would seem difficult for him to squeeze many minutes away from Gesell, Oglesby, and fellow newcomer Dickerson.  He'll probably mainly be competing with Jok for minutes at the backup two-guard spot (unless Fran decides he prefers bringing Oglesby off the bench); whichever guy plays the best defense and shoots the ball well from deep will probably see the most minutes next year.  There's also a chance that Ellingson sees a redshirt next year, but if his shooting is as good as advertised, I think he'll see the court instead.


Power Forward
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ (Point Pleasant Beach)
6-8, 185

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

Yes, our nominal power forward recruit is listed at a weight only 10 pounds more than our shooting guard recruit's listed weight.  Hooray for unconventional body types?  Uhl committed to Iowa a few weeks after Ellingson, in mid-October.  He chose Iowa over offers from Maryland, Miami (FL), Boston College, Minnesota, Penn State, and others. He even did a hat game for his announcement!

What we said back then:

Uhl is originally from Germany, and came to New Jersey because he wanted to play college basketball. The German accent alone makes him one of our favorite players the moment he steps on campus, but the skill set -- his AAU coach described him as "a good slasher, takes kids off the dribble, [and] can shoot the ball now," and "can jump out of the gym" -- fits what Iowa is trying to do almost perfectly.

The one thing that Uhl is not: A traditional power forward. He's only 180 lbs. at the moment, and looks far more like a wing than a bruiser going forward. With guys like Aaron White and Jared Uthoff, McCaffery has shown he doesn't need Charles Barkley in the post, but if Uhl is going to survive in the Big Ten, he's going to have to bulk up some. Uhl mentions in his announcement that Iowa sees him as a "3, maybe a 4 against smaller defenders," so whether he ever really plays power forward is up in the air.

Uhl's high school team, the Point Pleasant Bleach Garnet Gulls, is having a great season -- 28-1 -- although Uhl might not be the best player on that team (it might be former BC verbal commit and 3* recruit Matt Farrell).  It was hard to dig up stats for Uhl beyond this:

Uhl had 9 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals Saturday in a 57-37 victory over Jackson Memorial in the Boardwalk Hoop Group Showcase. The 6-8 Uhl had 11 points in the previous game and had a high of 19 in the season opener.

But, hey, at least there are some new highlights:

The playing time issue for Uhl is interesting and difficult to answer.  Iowa certainly seems to be in need of guys to fill time at power forward with Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe departing after this year.  But, as Pat noted in our earlier write-up on Uhl, it's clear that he's not a traditional power forward and may not ever be one.  And even by the beanpole standards of Iowa's preferred guys at PF, like Basabe and White, Uhl seems a bit on the scrawny side right now.  White and Basabe are both listed at 220, for instance, which is 35 lbs. greater than Uhl's listed weight.  We'll probably see White, Uthoff, and forgotten man Kyle Meyer filling those minutes next year.  But if White and Uthoff are spending more time at the 4 next year, then there could be room for someone else to play on the wings -- and Uhl could be just that guy.  I doubt Uhl will play huge minutes next year, but he could be a member of Iowa's second unit and a guy that Fran turns to as a sparkplug off the bench.


Point Guard
Los Angeles, CA (Williston State C.C.)
6-1, 170

3★ Rivals, NR★ Scout, NR★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

There really isn't anything I can add to the discussion of Dickerson that Pat didn't already discuss in our article about him earlier today.  Although in addition to providing some valuable depth for Gesell next year, I'm curious to see if Fran experiments with lineups featuring both Gesell and Dickerson on the court.  Regardless, of all three newcomers Iowa is adding next year, Dickerson seems like the one best-positioned to make an immediate impact for Iowa on the court next year.

Finally, he's not an Iowa commit, but he may yet become one, so we'll mention him here...


Power Forward
? (Connors State College)
6-8, 215

NR★ Rivals, NR★ Scout, NR★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

Atwood's been tearing up the JUCO ranks (20.2 ppg, 9.2 rpg) and earned a lengthy list of offers as a result, including Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Kansas State, and Wichita State.  Iowa's not favored to land his services right now -- Arkansas is his current leader -- but he and Dickerson are reportedly very close and they've talked openly about wanting to play together in college.  Iowa already landed Dickerson, so... I'll you connect the dots here.  Iowa may not get him, but they do seem to have a shot.

What about you?  Which player are you most excited to see at Iowa next year?