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Archive for June, 2013

Desired destination

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz was talking bowl games today during a mid-summer press gathering in Iowa City. Ferentz spent the bulk of his time talking about the work his players are putting in this summer to put themselves in a position to compete for a bowl berth following last season's 4-8 record, but Ferentz did address the changing landscape of the Big Ten's bowl affiliations. The conference announced Monday agreements with the Holiday Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl that will send Big Ten teams to those California games over a six-year period beginning at the end of the 2014 season. The conference previously announced a six-year deal with the Pinstripe Bowl in New York City and an agreement which will send four Big Ten teams to the Orange Bowl over the next 12 years. The new pacts are all part of a plan to diversify bowl experiences for Big Ten teams and fans and help bowls keep their match-ups fresh. As Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany indicated Monday, it does nobody any favors when a team is headed to the same general region of the country four times in five years. Fans and bowl organizers want variety. Ferentz said he has visited the San Francisco area just once in his life, very briefly, but he holds fond memories of Iowa's experiences in the Holiday Bowl from trips there during his time as an assistant on Hayden Fry's staff in the 1980s. "My only experience with San Francisco was flying in, going to a hotel, coaching in (an NFL) game we lost and flying out of town,'' Ferentz said. "The Holiday Bowl was an unbelievable experience in the 1980s and I suspect it is still that way today. I think it is a great opportunity for the Big Ten and I like the idea that they are looking at different areas geographically and opening up different options. That's good.''

Prime Time premiere

Friday, June 21st, 2013
Peter Jok didn't take the court at the Prime Time League last night looking to impress anybody. "Just wanted to play my game,'' Jok said after making his premiere performance in the summer basketball league last night in North Liberty, Iowa. It was an impressive debut for the 6-foot-6 wing from West Des Moines Valley. Taking the court against a team which included Hawkeye teammates Jarrod Uthoff and Anthony Clemmons, Jok displayed the offensive skills he was known for as a senior at West Des Moines Valley. He knocked down 3-point shots, drove the baseline, buried pull-up jumpers and collected a two-handed dunk while he piled up 35 points, the top point total on the opening night of league action. "I just came here to try to help my team win. I just shot it,'' Jok said. "I don't really think about it. I just come to shoot.'' That's nothing new. Jok was the state's top scorer at the Class 4A level last season at Valley, playing on a team coached by former Hawkeye Jeff Horner. There, he averaged 23.7 points per game while shooting just under 42 percent from 3-point range and hitting 92.6 percent of the 136 free throws he attempted. That type of potential from an offensive standpoint is among the reasons coach Fran McCaffery and the Hawkeye staff were attracted to Jok in the first place. His ability to understand that there is more to the game than knocking down shots, however, is the reason they offered him a scholarship. In addition to talking about what he was looking to accomplish offensively, Jok was quick to mention that the rest of his game needs work. "I have work to do on my defense. Coach McCaffery says my defense has got to get better and I know that,'' Jok said. "I need to work on my speed and I need to work on my agility, too.'' Understanding that is the first step to fixing deficiencies that Big Ten defenders will be waiting to exploit in a little over six months. Jok said his new teammates are helping him realize where he can improve, and he welcomes their help. "It's been tremendous working with those guys,'' Jok said. "(Mike) Gesell is helping me learn how to play at this level. I've played (AAU) with a couple of these guys and they are good guys. The're helping me adjust.'' Jok arrived in Iowa City ready to make that happen. "I didn't come here thinking I knew it all. I'm here to work and learn,'' Jok said. "It's got to be that way.''