Nov. 3, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The depth featured on the University of Iowa men’s basketball team is going to put head coach Fran McCaffery in a new situation.
“We really have 10 guys that are ready to play legitimately, and Brommer will be when he gets healthier,” said McCaffery during a teleconference with local media Thursday. “I’ve never done that. If you study most teams, very few coaches play 11 players.
“We have 11 scholarship players, and I feel very comfortable playing all of them. In many respects it is an exciting situation to be in because we have depth and versatility, and we can play the way I want to play as a result.”
With four starters returning, McCaffery’s starting lineup appears to be set with Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwright at the guard positions, Eric May at the three and Melsahn Basabe at the four. Senior Devon Archie is set to step into the five spot in place of departed senior Jarryd Cole.
“Archie has been rock solid,” said McCaffery. “He’s rebounding the ball, is an excellent passer, is running the floor, blocking some shots and doesn’t play outside himself.
“People have given up on him I think. He’s believed in himself and kept fighting, and here he is in a position to have a really nice senior season.”
Being able to go 11 players deep will allow McCaffery to compete at the up tempo that he wants.
“If you’re going to play that way you have to rotate personnel and there can’t be a huge drop off. When you talk about pressing and running and using 10 bodies, with media timeouts, we should be able to play at our peak performance pretty much the entire game.”
UI head coach Fran McCaffery
“If you’re going to play that way you have to rotate personnel and there can’t be a huge drop off,” said McCaffery. “When you talk about pressing and running and using 10 bodies, with media timeouts, we should be able to play at our peak performance pretty much the entire game.”
“They’ve done what I thought they would do, and what I thought they would do is a lot,” he said. “That’s important to point out. I recruited them to play, and they deserve to play. In a different world, they might be in the starting lineup.
“Josh has shot the ball as good as anybody I have ever coached, and Aaron is as versatile as any 6-foot-8 player I have ever had. Olaseni is ready to give us some minutes as well, and I don’t think anybody was really counting on him, but we were.
“He is far and away the leading rebounder on this team from the first day of practice. In this league you need big guys that can get in there and rebound and impact the game in the post, and he’s ready to help us.”
McCaffery points to Cartwright, Gatens and May as team leaders, and possible captains, for 2011-12.
“Matt is a returning captain, and he’s done a fabulous job, and I’m sure Bryce will be a captain,” said McCaffery. “The reality is the leaders are your leaders. For us we have two senior guards that are going to be in the lineup, and we’re going to follow those guys.
“The one guy that has really made unbelievable strides in terms of everything is Eric May. He works so hard and his consistency of effort is so good, that he’s commanded respect from everybody on this team.”
The Hawkeyes host an exhibition game against Northwest Missouri State on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa opens its regular season Nov. 11 against Chicago State.