Gaining on the Perimeter

Nov. 9, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery thinks the Hawkeyes will be much improved with their perimeter shooting this season.

“There is no question our perimeter shooting is going to be better,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery at his press conference Wednesday in the Feller Club Room inside the Dale and Marilyn Howard Family Pavilion. “You’re talking about a lot of different weapons. It’s not like we have just a couple of two guards that can shoot, we’ve got three men that can shoot. That’s what’s exciting for us.”

The Hawkeyes weren’t a good shooting team from the perimeter in 2010-11. The squad shot 43.9 percent from the floor, but just 31.4 percent from 3-point land and 67.6 percent from the charity stripe. Those numbers are bound to go up in 2011-12.

A healthy Matt Gatens will contribute to the team’s improvement, along with the expected emergence of another long-range threat in freshman Josh Oglesby. Add into the equation Bryce Cartwright, Roy Devyn Marble, Zach McCabe, Eric May and Aaron White, and McCaffery has a lot of shooters to rely on when the Hawkeyes open the regular season Friday night against Chicago State.

McCaffery was happy with the way his team competed in its exhibition game against Northwest Missouri State before pulling away for a 79-59 victory on Nov. 6.

“The thing that pleased me the most was the play of (Matt) Gatens and Eric May,” said McCaffery. “Their consistency of effort was absolutely phenomenal. The ability to sustain the effort the way they did really impacted the game.”

Gatens led all scorers in the exhibition, finishing with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting. May scored nine points, grabbed a game-high seven rebounds and had four assists.

Gatens is looking forward to opening the regular season Friday night and helping the Hawkeyes get off on the right foot.

“It’d be great to get that first win and leave a good taste in our mouth after the first game,” said Gatens. “The last couple of years we’ve had some good competition in here and didn’t get the job done. We’ll be ready for Chicago State.”

Iowa has dropped its last two regular season openers, falling to Texas-San Antonio, 60-52, in 2009 and South Dakota State, 79-69, a year ago.

Senior Andrew Brommer, who missed Sunday’s exhibition game, returned to practice this week and could play Friday.

“He was able to go through non-contact on Monday, and did a little more yesterday on his own,” said McCaffery. “He’ll probably go up and down today. If he feels okay, we’re going to let him play.”

McCaffery is excited to sign a five-player recruiting class that has been ranked among the top-20 classes in the country. The Hawkeyes signed guards Anthony Clemmons, Mike Gesell and Patrick Ingram along with forward Kyle Meyer and center Adam Woodbury.

“I am ecstatic with the class we having coming in because we’ve addressed the needs of this team as we move forward,” said McCaffery. “We needed size; we needed athleticism, so we’ve addressed every area.”

Iowa opens the season Friday against Chicago State beginning at 7 p.m. on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.