Prime Time League Commissioner
The 4th set of games in this summer's Prime Time League gave the packed house a little preview of the competition these cagers will go through in practice this fall and winter. In the first game Aaron White went head-to-head with Devyn Marble, just as they may do this season if Devyn makes the expected move to small forward and Aaron plays some small forward in addition to last year's position of power forward.
Marble's team won the war, winning 100-97, but White definitely impressed everyone with his 39 points and 16 rebounds, both game-highs. He shot 11-19 from 2, 2-6 from 3, with several from NBA range, and 11-13 from the line. Getting that many shots and that many free throws shows he's working on his in-between game, something he's cited as a key to developing another weapon to go with his 3-point shooting and dunks. While their Culver's/Iowa City Ready Mix team has yet to win this summer, they were without Eric May and playing a very strong team, they had to be encouraged by the almost-win. White did most of his damage against one of the league's best defenders, Brennan Swayzer.
White got excellent help from incoming freshman Kyle Meyer, who had 14 rebounds and made several good defensive plays. Meyer is an excellent outside shooter and at 6'10, can give the Hawks some hope that he'll develop into a very fine player in the future, despite showing a young player's inconsistency after scoring well last game, but in this one going 0-8 from 2, 0-3 on 3's and 2-2 from the line in this game.
Anthony Clemmons also showed he's a fine defensive player but a work-in-progress offensively, shooting 1-8 on 2's, 0-3 on 3's and 2-2 on ft's. He had 3 rebounds and 3 assists and was going up against European pro Ali Farokhmanesh and Upper Iowa's Joey Woods. William Penn's Keith Steffeck again shot well and played well, scoring 13 with 3-6 on 3's, and grabbing 8 boards, as their team won the rebounding battle 59-34.
Devyn Marble had his best game of the summer for his LL Pelling/McCurry's team, scoring 25 on 9-16 on 2's, 0-2 on 3's, and also getting to the line well, shooting 7-11. He had 7 rebounds but only 1 assist. Gabe Olaseni showed he's also more complete defensively than offensively, as evidenced by holding Meyer to no field goals, and scoring 15 but needing 14 2's to do it, making 5, and shooting 5-9 from the line. He got 9 rebounds to lead his team.
Ali Farokhmanesh, heading to Austria this fall to play professionally after playing in Switzerland his first year, shot 5-10 on 3's, 3-3 on 2's, and 1-1 on ft's, to score 22.
The second game featured another preview of the matchups these guys will be facing in practice this fall, as Zach McCabe and Jarrod Uthoff took turns matching up with Melsahn Basabe and Darius Stokes. McCabe and Uthoff's Vinton Merchants/Gatens Real Estate team won fairly convincingly, 104-96, leading 50-40 at half. The losing team, sponsored by Jill Armstrong of Skogman Realtors, was led by another incredible game by Mike Gesell, with considerable help from Jarryd Cole, heading to France for another year of professional ball this fall, after playing last year in Iceland.
Gesell took over the game at times, shooting 13-19 on 2's, mostly pull-up jumpers in the lane, although he shot 0-7 from 3, the first time this summer he hasn't shot the long-range shot well. He added 2-3 from the line, netting 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 10 assists. His game is extremely well-rounded, doing everything well on both ends of the floor and playing very unselfishly. I believe that not only will he start for the Hawks immediately, but that in many games he may very well be their best player. He is consistent, athletic, hard-nosed, unafraid and smart. Darius Stokes had 3 points and 3 rebounds.
For the winners, Zach McCabe was excellent, shooting 4-7 on 2's, 3-3 on 3's and scoing 17, with 6 boards, and 3 assists. He held Basabe to 10, on 4-12 shooting, with 10 rebounds. If you'll remember, last Sunday Basabe dominated the action with 32 points, and Zach made this one totally different for Mel.
We also saw a confident and relaxed Jarrod Uthoff in this game, his fourth under the glare of the Hawkeye spotlight. He scored 17, shooting 3-6 on 2's, 2-4 on 3's, 5-6 on ft's, and grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds too, along with 2 assists. He broke his man down repeatedly, showing his ball-handling skills and in-between game.
Cole matched up with Adam Woodbury again for most of the game, scoring 30, and 11 boards. But this time Adam added 16 of his own, shooting 7-11 from the floor, including several nice moves, finishing with either hand. His progress offensively has been rapid, and he made 2-3 from the line too. This was a game from him that had several moves drawing ooh's and ah's from the crowd. He made Cole go outside almost exclusively.
Josh Oglesby also had several nice passes, netting him 4 assists, and scored well with 13. He shot 3-4 on 2's, 1-4 on 3's, and 4-4 on ft's, helping his team to an excellent overall shooting night. Vinton Merchants/Gatens shot 32-48 on 2's, 8-15 on 3's and 16-19 on ft's. Former Iowa walk-on hopeful point guard Andre Murphy played very well, with 7 boards, 13 points and 4 assists, and playing with great energy.
And finally, Nate Garner had a magnificent game for the winners, shooting 9-9 from the floor and scoring a team-high 21. The former Cedar Rapids prep and Evansville standout joined a very balanced offensive output, with his 21, Uthoff and McCabe's 17, Woodbury's 16, and Murphy and Oglesby's 13.
Regular season Prime Time play continues next Sunday at 3 and 4:30, and Game Time, the women's summer league resumes this Wednesday at 6 and 7:30. There is no admission charge, and the North Liberty Rec Center gym is air-conditioned, but get there early, as space fills up quickly.