Nov. 12, 2008
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by Derek Sawvell
IOWA CITY, Iowa — At a Wednesday media conference, University of Iowa men’s basketball head coach Todd Lickliter thanked everyone that was “worrying” about him and his health over the weekend, but remarked that he had been feeling much better as he and the Hawkeyes prepare for the first regular-season game of the season against Charleston Southern on Friday, Nov. 14. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Because of flu-like symptoms, Lickliter was unable to attend Iowa’s lone exhibition game, a 59-36 victory over Wayne State, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.
“I can’t ever remember missing a game, but the flu just hit me,” said Lickliter. “But we have capable assistant coaches and as I look at it, they are in very capable hands. I just missed it for myself. I wanted to see our guys compete.”
Lickliter did watch the game film and has been using his week of recovery to prepare for Charleston Southern.
“I felt we did more good than bad,” said Lickliter. “At this time of the year, you want to grow. I thought definitely there were some positives, but we could improve interior and transition defense.”
This is Year 2 of the Lickliter era and after a 13-19 record last season, the Hawkeyes are projected to have three freshmen in the starting lineup. Lickliter mentioned that Sunday’s starting lineup was “not set yet” and that “there are going to be more than five contributors.”
UI freshman Anthony Tucker led the way for the Hawkeyes in their exhibition victory over Wayne State with 21 points, but the focus at this point is for the returning and new players to progress and continue to improve.
“I’m pleased with the approach of the returners,” said Lickliter. “They’ve done a great job displaying what’s important. To become a team, I believe you have to have a system. Last year we were all anxious at times. Sometimes that gets in the way of trying to master your responsibilities.”
Lickliter noted that Charleston Southern has four of its five starters returning from last season. He also mentioned that he was aware of the team’s aggressiveness in transition.
“I’ve got to think they’re close to a veteran group,” said Lickliter. “We have to respect them in transition and be aware of what they do in the half court.”
Last season the Buccaneers were 10-20 in all games and they return their top two scorers in sophomores Omar Carter (15.5 ppg) and Jamarco Warren (13.9). Carter averaged 6.5 rebounds per game.
At this critical — yet early — part of the season, Lickliter is focused on team togetherness and preparation.
“We’ll always be most concerned with what we do. “We’re not as far along as we need to be, but we are as far along as we could be,” said Lickliter, who was visited by former UI coach Dr. Tom Davis during Wednesday’s practice.