June 19, 2010
Editor’s Note: The following was written by Jacob Knabel and first appeared on hawkeyereport.com on June 18, 2010. To read the full story, click HERE.
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Like many Iowa basketball fans, leading returning scorers Matt Gatens and Eric May welcome the transformation from a grind-it-out offensive system to one that stresses a faster pace and increased aggression.
“It’s going to be completely different,” May said. “It’s going to be up and down. I think it’s really going to benefit my style.”
After averaging a mere 60.5 points per game in coach Todd Lickliter’s final season-last in the Big Ten-new coach Fran McCaffery has vowed to bring excitement back to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. For Gatens and May, that means preparing for adjusted roles and improving their physical condition.
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Gatens has been asked to drop 15 pounds from last season’s playing weight-something he says he’s nearly accomplished already. He is also expected to enhance his ball handling skills and quickness.
“I think (McCaffery) wants us to attack the rim more,” Gatens said. “He wants us to work on our conditioning so we can get up and down the court. He wants us to cut down on our weight and be a little quicker.
“I’ll be more of a two-guard now. In the past, I’ve played anywhere from a two to a four. It’s nice to be able to concentrate on one area.”
“We want to be the group that turns things around and gets Iowa back to the Tournament.”
Assistant coach Andrew Francis, who followed McCaffery from Siena, believes the two can make the transition to a new system. He sees two players that already possess a solid set of skills.
“As we move forward, we’ll get a good feel about what they bring to the table,” Francis said. “Obviously Matt is a great shooter, but he’s more than just a shooter. He should be able to go off the dribble more. He’s more than capable.
“May is a very strong, extremely athletic slasher. If he can attach a greater shooting prowess to his athletic ability, he’ll be a more complete player.”
To read the remainder of the story, click HERE.