With five of seven top scorers returning, Hawkeyes believe they have the right pieces to elevate success

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Sometimes all it takes is patience. For someone like Ahron Ulis, this year he has the chance to be a leader.

“Coming into that new role, I just have to be more involved with the team,” Ulis said. “Calling plays here and there, where there’s like a late game situation. Just being there and being the voice of the team.”

The junior is looking to expand his role on the team at the point guard position after the departure of Jordan Bohannon following his six-year career.

“Growing up, people dream of being a point guard for a Big Ten team. I’m just grateful for the opportunity more than anything. I’m just going to keep working, staying in the gym and just being ready for the season,” Ulis said.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery says he feels comfortable with multiple guys filling that role, but Ulis stands out for what he’s done off the court.

“I’ve been really impressed with Ahron Ulis professionalism and his mental approach from the end of last year until now,” McCaffery said.

In addition, it will be hard to replace a player like Keegan Murray who led the Big Ten Conference in scoring.

“We’re all [Sacramento[ Kings fans. We love Keegan and hope he’s the Rookie of the Year,” said McCaffery. “We’re so proud of him. He was MVP of the summer league. We just couldn’t be happier for him, but he’s not here - Kris is here. We need him to do a lot of different things for this basketball team to be successful,” he added.

Kris Murray is one of Iowa’s scoring leaders from a season ago. The Hawkeyes have five of their top seven back and are expecting points to come from a collective effort.

“We know who we lost, we know who we have, but we also have different pieces who can bring not the same thing, but can bring the same positivity and the same things for us to win,” junior guard Tony Perkins said.

Iowa won’t have to look far for leadership in the locker room, Connor McCaffery is using his COVID year to return for a sixth season.

“I feel like it’s kind of been ingrained in me ever since I was young. Find a way to win. Whatever it is, whatever game you’re playing, whether it’s a board game, a baseball game, a basketball game - it doesn’t matter. Find a way to win. It’s kind of how I’ve always been. If I do have any expectations this season, it would be just that,” he said.

The Hawkeyes will open the season against Bethune Cookman November 7 at Carver Hawkeye Arena.