By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery has similar expectations for the Hawkeye point guards even though the team will rely on two underclassmen.
For the first time in four seasons, Iowa will be without floor general Mike Gesell, leaving McCaffery to lean on sophomore Christian Williams and freshman Jordan Bohannon.
“We’re going to play the same way,” McCaffery said Wednesday during the Iowa Men’s Basketball Media Day. “When we recruited Christian and Jordan, we felt they were perfect fits for what we do.
“We’re going to have to be patient because we’re young, but they’re smart, tough, and versatile. They both can get to rim, make shots, and battle defensively. I’m excited for both of them.”
Williams is a pass-first point guard, a player that can get to the rim. Bohannon is a shooter and scorer. He averaged 25.8 points and shot 43 percent from 3-point range as a senior at Linn Mar High School, where he garnered Iowa’s Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year honors.
“They bring different things to the table,” said senior Peter Jok. “They are different players, but they both have what we need for this team to be successful. They’re going to do big things this year.”
Williams showed spurts as a freshman when he played his way on to the floor late in the season. He scored eight points in a March Big Ten Conference game against Indiana and averaged 3.2 points and 1.4 rebounds over the season’s final six contests.
“There is no reason to drop down in experience at point guard. We have all been playing basketball most of our lives. We’re young, but at the end of the day, we’re going to be thrown on the court and we have to be ready to play.
We have to play with confidence from day one; that will be huge for us.” — Jordan Bohannon
“I sat back and learned and at the end of the season I got my feet wet,” said Williams, a Decatur, Illinois, native. “I need to be more consistently aggressive. I showed flashes last year, but I need to show I am more consistent this year.”
Bohannon knows he will fill a different role after being a go-to scorer in high school. He’s prepared to do whatever is asked
“Whether they want me to be pass-first and find Peter whenever I can or take an open shot, I’ll do whatever they tell me,” said Bohannon.
Jok has been impressed with the point guard duo in practice.
“We’re trying to get the dog out of (Williams),” said Jok. “He has potential to be a great player, but he has to bring his A game every day and every game.
“Jordan is kind of like a pit bull. He has that dog in him even though he’s small. He plays hard and can really shoot it; he’s the best Bohannon I have seen.”
Three of Bohannon’s older brothers played collegiate basketball. Jason played at Wisconsin, Zach played at Air Force and Wisconsin, and Matt played at Northern Iowa.
Williams and Bohannon will be learning on the job, but Bohannon doesn’t see youth as an issue. He says the Hawkeyes should not expect any less from the point guard position.
“There is no reason to drop down in experience at point guard,” he said. “We have all been playing basketball most of our lives. We’re young, but at the end of the day, we’re going to be thrown on the court and we have to be ready to play.
“We have to play with confidence from day one; that will be huge for us.”
Iowa hosts Regis University in an exhibition game Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes’ regular-season opener is against Kennesaw State on Nov. 11. Season tickets are on sale by contacting the UI Athletics Ticket Office.