Bio: Junior, 6'6", 205 lbs. (West Des Moines, Iowa)
Last season: 19.9 minutes per game, 7 points per game, 34.3% 3-point FG%,
What we saw last season: In one word: inconsistency. Peter Jok had one of the slowest starts to a season that you will ever see as a sophomore, but he was able to bounce back in the middle of the schedule before fading again at the end.
As you can see, his adjusted game score per minute only broke above the team average once in the first month-and-a-half of the season and was actually in the negative a handful of times. He was able to play better as the season went on, but he fell off a cliff again at the end of the year. Jok was the poster boy for inconsistency last year.
So what exactly was wrong? Well, do we ever really know what's going on when a player is struggling? But from a results-oriented perspective, we could look at the data and see that he had an off year shooting the ball. The main culprit came inside the three-point line, where he made just 37% of his two-point attempts. Part of that was because he was taking more long two-point jumpers than he had in the past, but another huge issue was his inability to finish strong near the rim, where he converted on only 39% of his attempts last year. Even this three-pointers -- where he finished the season shooting a decent 34% -- were inconsistent, as he made just 18% of his attempts from downtown in November and 26% in March.
But if there was a reason to optimistic for the future, it was Jok's performance in December through February. And by the time Big Ten play came rolling around, Jok's play was very important to a team that had been struggling to find any type of consistent guard play early in the season. Here's what I wrote in April:
If you look at his splits, he scored more points per game, shot the ball better from the field, had slightly fewer turnovers, and was just an overall better offensive player against Big Ten teams this year. It's not all that surprising that his defense was worse against Big Ten teams than it was against non-conference opponents, but the fact that he only tallied 0.1 of his 0.6 offensive win shares against non-conference opponents should tell you just how bad he was to start the season. Consequently, that 0.5 offensive win shares in Big Ten play should show you just how valuable he was to Iowa during their late season run.
Peter Jok was a valuable player for Iowa as they made their late-season tournament run last year. He was a guy who reliably put up 8 points per game against Big Ten competition, and was capable of scoring double-digits when you needed him to. His offense at the two guard position became so important that Fran McCaffery made him the starter over the veteran senior, Josh Oglesby.
Overall, though, Peter Jok's sophomore campaign was inconsistent. But, in the end, isn't that what we expect of all sophomore campaigns?
What we need to see this season: Obviously, the key is consistency. With the graduation of two of Iowa's best players, the Hawkeyes are going to be looking to Jok more this year. That's especially true on the offensive side of the ball, where he will have to help make up for the 28 points per game being vacated by last year's seniors. And Jok is already changing his approach in just about every part of his life in anticipation of his junior year. Along with the healthier diet and whatnot, Jok also switched his number from 3 to 14 to signify a fresh start to his career. But perhaps my favorite part of that article is this quote:
"I'm trying to get my shots off differently," he said. "I can get my shot off when I want to, but it's more coming off screens, and taking my man to the basket. I am trying to get to the rim more so I can get to the free throw line."
The main offensive knock levied against Jok over his career has been his inability to attack the basket. In his first two seasons at Iowa, we have seen him be primarily a jump shooter. Normally, in his first two seasons, when Jok utilized a screen, it was to do something like this:
This year, it would be great to see him also incorporate this into his game more:
As a junior, Iowa doesn't just need Jok to continue to be one of the best three-point threats on the team, they also need him to turn into more of a pure scorer. That means attacking the basket more often and drawing fouls, but it also means cutting his turnovers down and not giving the opposing team free points.
Jok has had plenty of flashes of brilliance mixed with lapses of judgement over his first two years, but those two years are behind him. He is now a junior and he is now #14. It's time for him to step up and be a go-to guy on this Iowa Hawkeye team.
Best case scenario: Jok has a Devyn Marble-like breakout junior campaign. Not only does he connect on 37% of his three-point attempts, but he learns how to be a more effective scorer overall. On top of scoring the ball, Jok also stops making head-scratchingly bad decisions with the ball at times and cuts his turnover rate by a lot. On the defensive side of the ball, Jok gets tougher and is able to use his length and quickness to keep opposing Big Ten wing players in front of him at all times. The overall improvement to his game not only sees him averaging something like 15 points per game, but it makes him one of Fran's most trusted players, which means he's seeing the court 30 minutes per night by the end of Big Ten play and his breakthrough season gets him voted Second Team All-Big Ten.
Most likely scenario: Jok's game looks improved as a junior, but there are still some of the same old inconsistencies. He shows flashes of knowing how to attack the basket, but he's all too eager to hoist up a contested jumper at times. His points per game goes up to about 12 due to increased playing time and Iowa's need of a number two scorer behind Jarrod Uthoff. He cuts his turnovers down a bit and his defense looks improved, but still, there are still some lapses in judgement. Overall, though, Jok's improvement is still clearly visible and he enters his senior year with hopes that he finally reaches his high talent ceiling.
One request: More plays like this, Pete:
You are so much more than just a shooter. This year is the year to prove that.