Newbies and returnees: An early look at Iowa Basketball ’21-22

So much has happened in the world of Iowa Men’s Basketball since the team’s 95-80 loss to the Oregon Ducks in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Although the pain of defeat is still fresh, the focus has largely shifted to the 2021-2022 season. Luka Garza will likely hear his name in the upcoming NBA draft, and his time as a Hawkeye has ended. However, Iowa does bring back some key contributors from last year’s team that can lead them going forward.

First of all, what don’t we know? Iowa’s roster is, for the most part, set, other than the potential of a Joe Wieskamp return. Wieskamp has declared for the NBA draft once again in 2021, and he has the skill set and résumé to be selected. If not, many experts in the field believe he will play professional ball either in the NBA’s G-League or overseas. But Wieskamp has kept his eligibility at Iowa; therefore, a return is not out of the question. Still, it does seem possible that he has developed fully at the collegiate level and needs to begin developing professionally. Either way, it goes without saying that Iowa fans are grateful for what Joe Wieskamp has given to the program and wish him the very best going forward.

The Hawkeyes took a huge blow with the loss of their sharpshooting guard, CJ Fredrick. Fredrick announced that he will transfer to Kentucky, and the 3-point marksman will be eligible to play immediately for the Wildcats. There is serious speculation that Kentucky tampered in some manner to land Fredrick. Regardless, the fact is that Iowa lost a starter. Anytime you lose a starter in college basketball, especially one that was consistently your best 3-point threat, you are left with a major void to fill.

A man primed to step in and fill that void would be Iowa City’s beloved Jordan Bohannon. Yes, he’s still here. Bohannon is gearing up to play his sixth and final season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Not all Iowa fans were thrilled about the thought of another year of Bohannon, at least prior to the Fredrick transfer. But with news that Head Coach Fran McCaffery will use Joe Toussaint to run the offense, while playing Bohannon at the 2-guard position, the return of Bohannon is only a good thing. Iowa needs a shooter, and Bohannon is just that.

The departure of CJ Fredrick this offseason leaves Iowa Basketball with a void behind the arc, one that could be filled by veteran Jordan Bohannon. (Photos: Iowa Athletics)

The other thing Iowa needs is size. McCaffery cannot simply replace Luka Garza. Garza was the hardest working player that Iowa has had in a while (maybe ever). His hard work translated to consecutive Big Ten Player of the Year honors and unanimous national player of the year honors following his senior season. In addition to Keegan Murray and Josh Ogundele, who will both likely spend ample time manning Iowa’s frontcourt, Iowa got some other much-needed help recently. Big man Riley Mulvey, a 2022 commit out of New York, decided to reclassify for the upcoming 2021 season. The 6-foot-11 big man will begin developing with the Hawkeyes one year early and has the opportunity to make an immediate impact.

Although it missed out on Liam Robbins (again), Iowa was able to score big in the transfer portal. Filip Rebraca, a 6-foot-9 forward from North Dakota State, committed to McCaffery’s squad for 2021-2022. Rebraca, who has two years of eligibility remaining, is athletic, can play in the post, shoot the ball, and play defense. He is an all around contributor who has a chance to do some great things in the Big Ten over the next couple of seasons. He also has the ability to play at either the 4 or the 5, and no matter if we see him starting or coming off the bench next year, he’s set to make an impact.

All things considered, things aren’t as dire for Hawkeye hoops as they may have seemed just weeks ago.

It’s true, Iowa had a special team and a special opportunity last year. And even though the Hawkeyes will likely regress in some areas during the upcoming campaign, there is hope. With a super-senior guard, a reclassified center, and a transfer portal forward all now on board, Iowa Basketball has a chance to be relevant again this coming season.

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