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Archive for June, 2009

Palmer picks again

Friday, June 26th, 2009
David Palmer is moving on -- again. The former Iowa center has changed his transfer plans and will now enroll at Northern Kentucky instead of Southern Indiana, opting for a change because of an ongoing NCAA investigation into the basketball program at the Division II school that is among the reasons coach Rick Herdes has resigned. Palmer told the Evansville Courier & Press this week that "I just thought (NKU) was the right place for me to be and I had a great time when I went up there to visit.'' Palmer initially opted to sign with Southern Indiana because of its proximity to his hometown of Antioch, Tenn. Dropping down to the Division II level will allow Palmer to compete next season as a senior. He had burned his redshirt year at the Division I level following a transfer from Seton Hall to Iowa prior to the 2006-07 school year. Like Southern Indiana, Northern Kentucky is a member of the GLVC. Northern Kentucky finished 24-7 overall last season and won the East Division of its conference with a 14-4 record. The 6-foot-9 Palmer averaged 4.1 points and 2 rebounds per game last season for Iowa, scoring 40 of his 78 points and grabbing 15 of his 38 rebounds during a two-game stretch against Purdue and Wisconsin in mid-January after Cyrus Tate was injured. Palmer was one of four Hawkeyes to announce decisions to leave the program in late March. Jermain Davis has since announced his intention to spend his senior season at Division II Minnesota State-Mankato, while Jake Kelly will enroll at Indiana State this fall and Jeff Peterson will sit out the 2009-10 season following a transfer to Arkansas. Kelly has petitioned the NCAA in hopes of playing this season because of a hardship situation following the death of his mother, but that request has not been acted upon yet.

Big night for big men

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
The numbers show a draw in the first head-to-head meeting between two of the biggest big men in the Prime Time League this season. Northern Iowa senior Jordan Eglseder and Iowa freshman Brennan Cougill each scored 24 points Monday night in North Liberty, with Eglseder leading his team to a win. The former Bellevue Marquette prep is unquestionably in the best condition of his playing career and is playing that way. Healthy for over six months for the first time since enrolling at UNI, Panthers coach Ben Jacobson noted during UNI's recent golf outing that Eglseder's game seemed to be reaching another level. The 7-footer knocked down 8-of-9 shots from the field Monday, including all three of his attempts from 3-point range. Cougill used a solid second half to finish 11-of-22 from the field and led the game with 11 rebounds. Eglseder wasn't the only player displaying a hot hand Monday. Iowa freshman Cully Payne continued to show his offensive ability, hitting 6-of-9 shots from 3-point range as part of a 22-point game that complemented a 26-point effort from PTL teammate Aaron Fuller. Two Hawkeyes did not play Monday. Matt Gatens is out for about a week after undergoing an apendectomy early Sunday morning in an Iowa City hospital while a severely sprained ankle has sidelined walk-on John Lickliter.

Something special

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
The Game Time League tipped off Tuesday night in North Liberty and one future Iowa women's basketball player demonstrated why Hawkeye coach Lisa Bluder believes her program landed a player who is "something special.'' Morgan Johnson, a 6-foot-5 post player from Platte County High School in Missouri, scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in her debut at the North Liberty Community Center. The numbers mirror high school averages that allowed Johnson to help lead her team to the state's Class 4A state championship and led to a multitude of postseason recognition. The valedictorian of her senior class, Johnson was selected by the Kansas City Star, the Kansas City area coaches association, the Missouri state coaches association and the Missouri state media as the state's prep player of the year. She was also named as the Kansas City Star's female scholar-athlete of the year. "She beat out a player who is going to Tennessee for player of the year honors, so that says something,'' Bluder said prior to an appearance at an I-Club outing in the Quad-Cities last week. "Morgan had an exceptional senior season and she has a chance to be something special.''

Memorable experience

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
Matt Gatens believes the benefits the Iowa basketball team will reap from its recent trip to Italy and Greece extend beyond the confines of a court. The trip and the additional practices Iowa was allowed prior to its once-every-four-years overseas tour provided motivation during spring workouts and have helped the Hawkeyes continue to develop skills. It also has created a tighter bond among players returning next season. "That may be the biggest benefit of all,'' Gatens said following his first Prime Time League game on Monday. "It really gave us a chance to bond as a team and moving forward, that is going to be important for us. It was the trip of a lifetime and the coaches did a good job in giving us some freedom to explore and do things together while we were over there.'' Gatens appreciated the sites Iowa had a chance to explore during its time in Rome and Athens. He said being together 24-7 for a couple of weeks in a foreign country should create a tighter team as Iowa works toward the 2009-10 season. "We're all on the same page now, all working together, and that can only help,'' Gatens said. "We're working now with the new guys. They're all here now and we're spending a lot of time together. It's been a good few weeks for us, something we can build on.'' The building process continues this summer, during informal team workouts and pick-up games as well as at the PTL, where fans are getting their first glimpse of the four newcomers who will suit up for Iowa next season. I'll share some thoughts on that in upcoming days.

Prime Time picks

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Matt Gatens and Jarryd Cole were the first two players selected Wednesday night in the draft for the new-look Prime Time League. The league, which begins play next Monday at the North Liberty Community Center, is contracting to six teams this summer in hopes of creating more competitive action. Games will be played on Monday and Wednesday nights. In addition to Gatens and Cole, other first-round draft choices in the league are Adam Koch and Jordan Eglseder of Northern Iowa, former UNI player Eric Coleman and Iowa's Anthony Tucker. Gatens is part of a team that includes four current or future UNI players, Matt Schneiderman, John Moran, Matt Morrison and Adam Rodenberg as well as former Drake player Aliou Keita and former Davenport North prep Nick McFarlin, who began his college career at Radford. Cole's team includes Iowa junior college transfer Devon Archie, as well as former Hawkeyes Duez Henderson and Jason Price. Koch is part of a team includes Iowa's Andrew Brommer and that Panthers' Ali Farokhmanesh. Former North Scott prep Keaton Frye, now at the University of Dubuque, and former Davenport Central prep E.J. Hicks of Indian Hills are also on that team. Hicks began his career at The Citadel but left before the start of last season. Eglseder will be the post on a team that includes Iowa newcomer Eric May and Hawkeye walk-on John Lickliter. Coleman's team includes the Hawkeyes' Aaron Fuller and Devan Bawinkel as well as incoming Iowa freshman Cully Payne. Current and future UNI players Anthony James, Marc Sonnen and Antonio Jones are also on the roster. Tucker joins Iowa newcomer Brennan Cougill, former Hawkeye Darryl Moore, UNI players Kerwin Dunham and Jake Koch and former Augustana player Dain Swetalla on a team coached by former Marycrest and Davenport Central coach Ray Swetalla.