“When you go from playing a lot to not playing, there’s two ways to go,” McCaffery said. “You can keep working. You can lock in and get better and force me to play you or you can finger point and blame and go in the other direction. And he’s a young man with great character. He worked, and he made me play him and he kept producing. And obviously (he’s) a key component of our program as we move forward.”
Wisconsin transfer Jarrod Uthoff showed plenty of skill in his first year at Iowa, though he wasn’t consistent.
But the growth of forward/center Gabe Olaseni was an encouraging development for Iowa. It’s easy to imagine Olaseni playing more minutes in 2014-15 as the Hawkeyes look to replace starting forward Melsahn Basabe.
Center Adam Woodbury still hasn’t lived up to the outsized expectations he arrived on campus with. But Woodbury also had the best game of his career in the most important one, scoring 16 points in the loss to the Volunteers.
If the 7-foot-1 Woodbury can build off that strong season-ending performance, he and Olaseni could form one of the most formidable frontcourts in the Big Ten.
“Here’s a guy that I think we all recognize had a chance to be special when he came to Iowa, and we’re seeing that now,” McCaffery said of Woodbury.
The Hawkeyes have scored verbal commitments from incoming freshman forward Dominque Uhl and guard Brady Ellingson, though the makeup of the current roster likely means they won’t be counted on much next season. But Iowa also recently got a verbal commitment from highly touted junior college point guard Trey Dickerson, who could make a big impact as early as 2014-15.