IOWA CITY — Iowa welcomes back almost everyone from last season’s team, which was one of the deepest in the Big Ten.
The additions of sophomore forward Jarrod Uthoff and freshman guard Peter Jok should make the Hawkeyes one of deepest teams in the nation in 2013-14.
Iowa’s rotation could feature as many as a dozen players — including nine players with at least a year of experience — and the Hawkeyes appear stacked at guard, forward and center.
It’ll be up to coach Fran McCaffery to find ways to utilize Uthoff and Jok as the Hawkeyes push for their first NCAA Tournament bid in eight years. Iowa, which went 25-13 and reached the NIT finals last April, opens the season Nov. 8 against UNC-Wilmington.
“Our style of play is the best way to create substitute situations,” McCaffery said of Iowa’s up-tempo system. “The other thing is to have players who truly want to win and legitimately care about each other.”
Iowa has the luxury of building around a core group of starters led by senior Devyn Marble, who will play a lot more point guard this season, and junior Aaron White.
McCaffery probably won’t need to ask much of Jok or Uthoff early on. But both have the potential for significant roles by the time the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament rolls around in late November.
Uthoff likely has a much better chance of cracking the starting lineup by the opener.
The Wisconsin transfer is a versatile 6-foot-9 wing best known for his contentious departure from the Badgers. Uthoff was named Iowa’s Mr. Basketball in 2011 for Cedar Rapids Jefferson High, and coaches and teammates raved about him last season while he redshirted.
With White a certainty at one forward spot and Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni splitting time at center, McCaffery will have to find creative ways to use Uthoff and senior forwards Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe.