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Archive for October, 2008

A bottom-line guy

Sunday, October 26th, 2008
Todd Lickliter didn't hesitate Sunday when he was asked by a reporter at the Big Ten's annual media day how he would gauge success in his second season at Iowa. He was quick to point out that the scoreboard provides the only measurement he needs. "I've never gone into a game believing that we were going to do anything other than win,'' Lickliter said. "I feel like that is the approach you have to take.'' Lickliter was one of three second-year coaches talking in those terms Sunday in a hotel conference room nestled near O'Hare airport. Minnesota's Tubby Smith and Michigan's John Beilein talked about the importance of tangible results as they build programs. "People talk about there being a process. I've never thought of it in that fashion,'' Smith said. "I'm just like my players. I want to win and I want to win now.'' Iowa players are in tune with that as well. Saturday's open practice provided a glimpse of what can be expected from the Hawkeyes in the 2008-09 season. There was more flow to Iowa's offense, the result of players having a better understanding of the Hawkeye offense in their second season and of new personnel who will allow Iowa to score from additional spots on the court. This team does appear to have some long-range shooting potential. Anthony Tucker demonstrated that in the 36 minutes that Iowa scrimmage Saturday. Tucker knocked down five of the 14 3-pointers the Hawkeyes hit in their most extensive scrimmages of preseason workouts. Lickliter said Sunday he has also been pleased with what he has seen from Tucker and returning player Jeff Peterson at the point. Success on the perimeter is a critical component to making the Iowa offense work and Lickliter likes the depth of shooting talent he sees on this year's Iowa team.  

Attitude adjustment

Monday, October 13th, 2008
There was a different feel to things Monday when the Iowa basketball team hosted its annual media day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Some of it was to be expected. It's the start of a new season and nobody has lost a game at this point. The return of a healthy Jarryd Cole should also help the Hawkeyes' inside attack. But the feel extended beyond the normal. Coach Todd Lickliter and his staff seem more comfortable with the collection of players they are teaching as Iowa starts practices. One year's experience in the system the Hawkeyes are using has helped. Returning players are clearly more comfortable with what is being asked of them and have spent the offseason working to correct deficiencies. Coaches are clearly more comfortable with their knowledge of the players and the talent they bring to the table. Seven newcomers have provided an attitude adjustment as well. Beyond the infusion of youthful enthusiasm, each has brought a willingness to learn and blend into the Iowa system. They are allowing Lickliter and his staff to teach in a learning environment that should allow the Hawkeyes to progress. More than one returning player mentioned Monday that last season a willingness to learn did not always exist. That's understandable. The players that filled Iowa's roster a year ago weren't recruited to run the system they were asked to run. In some instances, that led to freelancing which only added to the frustration felt by players and coaches alike. "This year, we're together. We're tight,'' guard Jake Kelly said. "That's only going to help in the long run. I think we all understand that a little better. Especially the returning guys, we've seen what it's like when everybody isn't all working toward the same thing and the results aren't pretty. We're determined to change that this year.''

Liking his leaders

Saturday, October 11th, 2008
During an appearance last Monday at the Davenport Grid Club, Hawkeye assistant coach LaVall Jordan talked a lot about the leadership he sees developing on this season's Iowa team. Cyrus Tate and Jarryd Cole are co-captains of a Hawkeye team that will be introduced Monday at the team's annual media day and Jordan said both have the ability to provide Iowa with what it needs to succeed. On Tate: "He had a great finish to last season and Cy really bought in to what we were preaching. He understands what we're trying to do and is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. If he continues to progress as he did during the Big Ten season a year ago, we have a chance to be successful.'' On Cole: "The way he handled his rehabilitation last season says a lot about the way he leads. He was our biggest cheerleader and I'm not sure I've seen anybody work any harder to get back. He's in unbelievable shape and with he and Cy inside, rebounding isn't going to be as big of an issue as people think.''

Family ties

Monday, October 6th, 2008
The first member of the Iowa women's basketball recruiting class for 2010 is no stranger to the Iowa program. Jade Rogers, a 5-foot-11 forward who is a junior at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, has made a verbal commitment to sign with the Hawkeyes one year from now. She is the step-daughter of former Hawkeye men's player James Moses, who lettered at Iowa from 1989-92. Rogers chose Iowa over an offer from Michigan State. She earned first team all-state honors last season from the Iowa Newspaper Association and ranked among the league scorers and rebounders in Class 4A, averaging 22.3 points and 13 rebounds per game. She underwent ACL surgery in April, but is expected to return to the court this season for the Cougars.