Nov. 5, 2008
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Todd Lickliter recognizes that his 2008-09 University of Iowa men’s basketball team is in the development stage, but he doesn’t want that notion to restrict productivity. The Hawkeyes play their only exhibition game Sunday against Wayne State (Mich.) University, with last season’s success of a surprising Purdue team fresh on their minds. Tip-off is 1:06 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“If they said Purdue is young, it’s going to be a process and they believed it, they couldn’t have done what they did last year,” Lickliter said. “When you say it’s going to be a process, you limit somebody. Why would we want to limit how quickly they can get it? Purdue didn’t limit itself.”
Last season the Boilermakers finished 25-9 overall, 15-3 in the Big Ten Conference (second to Wisconsin). Iowa was eighth in the conference at 13-19, 6-12.
A revamped Hawkeye squad will be unveiled to the public for the first time Nov. 9. Seven Iowa newcomers — juniors Devan Bawinkel and Jermain Davis and freshmen Anthony Tucker, Matt Gatens, Andrew Brommer, Aaron Fuller and John Lickliter — join returning senior letterwinners J.R. Angle and Cyrus Tate, junior David Palmer and sophomores Jeff Peterson, Jake Kelly and Jarryd Cole.
Wayne State is an NCAA Division II institution located in Detroit. Last season the Warriors, members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, finished 10-16 overall and just 1-11 on the road.
“I’m very familiar with the (Wayne State) coaching staff, we played them twice when I was at Butler,” Lickliter said. “I like what they do, I like their approach to the game. We were looking for a good challenge for our group because we’re going to need to see the level of play that Wayne State will bring in and that challenge.”
Iowa participated in a closed scrimmage Saturday, Nov. 1, and Lickliter left feeling positive.
“It was a good test for us,” he said. “It was beneficial. The opposing coach (from DePaul University) said that our players really understood where we were offensively and I was pleased to hear that. I think we’re eager to pass it to one another and share the basketball. I’m excited offensively that we can make it difficult for the other team to defend. I do believe we’re making strides defensively.”
Lickliter said he believes the Hawkeyes have four potential point guards — Peterson, Tucker, Davis and Lickliter.
“We will have more than one individual being able to handle the basketball, but that doesn’t necessarily mean running the team,” he said.
The preseason play from the Hawkeyes has been consistent at all positions, which is encouraging to Lickliter. Now the UI coaching staff will work to discover what players work best together.
“I believe the play at nearly all the positions has been consistent and that’s exciting,” he said. “I feel comfortable knowing what I’m going to get from each position and that they will put the team first. I’m confident in this group. What we need to find out is what combinations work best together and get those rotations.”
Lickliter did not disclose a starting lineup for Sunday’s exhibition.
“I told the team the other day I hope that no one will gauge their worth based on if they start, how many points they score or how many minutes they play,” Lickliter said. “There are so many contributions and it will take a collaborative effort and that’s really what we’ve been working on the last few weeks.”
Hawkeye fans who purchased a ticket for the Penn State-Iowa football game, will also be admitted free of charge to the Purdue-Iowa volleyball match Saturday at 7 p.m., the Wayne State-Iowa men’s basketball exhibition Sunday at 1:06 p.m., and the Upper Iowa-Iowa women’s basketball exhibition Sunday at 3:35 p.m.