Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
PTL Notes: Hawkeyes' Jok No Joke, Neither Is Uthoff
By Scott Dochterman (Story) and Scott Saville (Video), Reporters
NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa - It's one game in the Prime Time League. It's not like Peter Jok dropped doubt digits at Michigan State. But as far as first impressions go, Jok's was, well, impressive in his PTL debut Thursday.
Jok, an incoming freshman wing at Iowa, scored 35 points, notching the league-high on opening night. He knocked down 26 points in the first half and at one point hit eight shots in a row from the field. He was 5-of-9 from 3-point range and 8-of-13 overall.
"I just shot it," he said. "I don't really think about it. I just come to shoot."
There's no doubt Jok has plenty to work on. He knows it, too.
"I still have to work on my defense," Jok said. "(Coach Fran McCaffery) wants me to work on my D.
"My defense and get better at dribbling, too, and work on my speed and agility."
Jok, a 6-foot-6 combo guard, led Class 4A in scoring average with a 23.6 points a game at West Des Moines Valley. Jok hit 42 percent from 3-point range and sank 92.6 percent from the free-throw line (126 of 136 attempts). He was one of 40 players named to the Parade All-American team last month.
In summer-league basketball, it's easy to blow someone's performance out of proportion or undervalue it based on the setting. But I'll say this: Jok's outside shooting was impressive. If he can duplicate that performance a few more times this summer, it's not a stretch to envision him doing the same in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this winter.
While Jok stole the show, incoming sophomore Jarrod Uthoff showed why McCaffery said he'll impact the team immediately this year.
Uthoff, who said he's really 6-foot-9 1/2 (but told us to round up to 6-10 with his shoes), scored 26 points. But judging his performance on scoring alone would be disingenuous. Uthoff passed the ball, defended and was in the right spot on just about every trip up the court.
Uthoff was the subject of a high-profile transfer last year. He left Wisconsin and was restricted from earning a scholarship last year at Iowa. He couldn't have any contact with Iowa's players or coaches until he took his first class last August. He was unable to travel and spent the season on the scout team and the weight room.
Uthoff was the state's Mr. Basketball in 2011 and averaged 26.2 points a game. He red-shirted his only season at Wisconsin, then sat out last year per NCAA rules and paid his own way. He hasn't played in a real basketball game in two years, and getting on the court this fall excites him.
"You can't even imagine," he said. "It's been a long time coming."
McCaffery has Uthoff on an accelerated weightlifting regimen, and it appears to have paid off. Uthoff appears much stronger and more defined than his prep days at Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
"Ballhandling and strength," Uthoff said. "Those were the two main things.
"I've been lifting four days a week for the past nine months. I've noticed pretty substantial differences in all of my weightlifting categories. I feel pretty confident about that."
It would surprise me if Uthoff doesn't enter the starting lineup very quickly this fall. It wouldn't surprise me if he emerges as one of the Big Ten's top players by the end of the season.
Guard Mike Gesell (28 points) showed he's back to form after a right foot injury nagged at him for the season's last six weeks. Here's his story
Incoming junior forward Aaron White said he's worked on a higher release point with his shot this offseason. As he and fellow teammate Devyn Marble prepare for spots on the U.S. team for the World University Games, White said he's focused on conditioning. Tryouts are held in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Incoming Iowa sophomore center Adam Woodbury scored 32 points and threw down a one-handed breakaway dunk in his game.
Iowa junior Josh Oglesby did not play in his game. Oglesby suffered a broken finger last month.
Iowa players' point totals: Devyn Marble 29, Mike Gesell 28, Okey Ukah 20, Kyle Denning 3, Aaron White 29, Darius Stokes 16, Zach McCabe 22, Gabe Olaseni 19, Jarrod Uthoff 26, Anthony Clemmons 23, Adam Woodbury 32, Peter Jok 34, Kyle Meyer 7