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IOWA HAWKEYES PLAYER PREVIEWS: THE WALK-ONS

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Practice saying "Who is that?" with us this morning.

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Nicholas Baer

Bio: Freshman (RS), 6'7, 200 lbs. (Bettendorf, Iowa)
Last season: Redshirted

Okey Ukah

Bio: Senior, 6'7, 220 lbs. (Iowa City, Iowa)
Last season: 10 games, 2.4 minutes per game, 2 points, 7 rebounds

Michael Soukup

Bio: Junior, 6'4, 165 lbs. (Danville, Iowa)
Last season: Did not play after transferring from Southeastern C.C.

Steven Soukup

Bio: Junior, 6'4, 175 lbs. (Danville, Iowa)
Last season: Did not play after transferring from Southeastern C.C.

What we saw last season: Not too much.  Okey Ukah played some garbage time minutes, while the other three walk-ons didn't play. The lone freshman, Nicholas Baer, was officially a redshirt, and if either of the Soukups become contributors, they would presumably have an extra year of eligibility, as well.

Baer has a fairly impressive resume: He was player of the year in the Mississippi Athletic Conference as a senior, a conference that hasn't been consistently excellent in basketball but plays at Iowa's highest level.  But Baer was the exact thing that most teams don't want, an undersized post player with limited perimeter skills.  And so he fell to Iowa, and could build himself into a scary interior player off the bench with enough time.  The other three walk-ons are junior college transfers, Ukah coming from Kirkwood and the Soukups from Southeastern.  Their roles are almost certainly limited to garbage time and practice duty.

What we need to see this season: Honestly, not much more.  Fran McCaffery has said that Baer has the talent to be an honest-to-God contributor in this system and will get playing time, but he's also the same make and model as pretty much every other Iowa newcomer.  If he beats out scholarship players for playing time, so be it, but basketball isn't football, and walk-ons aren't solid contributors too often.  The other three are almost certainly limited to garbage time.

Best case scenario: Iowa is so good at basketball this season that the walk-ons get to play the entire second half of most non-conference games and all games against Wisconsin.

Most likely scenario: These guys get in during some November and December games, and otherwise go full-on Club Trillion during the Big Ten season.

One request: If Club Trillion is an actual option for Okey Ukah, please write a book. Because Okey's Twitter feed is already fascinating.