NEW YORK — The addition of two talented 6-foot-11 freshmen figures to reduce the playing time for some of the returning players on the Iowa basketball team.
But Dom Uhl, the only senior scholarship player on the Iowa roster, said there is a silver lining to that: He doesn’t have to play center any more.
“Yeah, he doesn’t have to worry about that,’’ Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said Thursday at the Big Ten’s preseason media day. “He hated that. He would do it, but he hated it.’’
However, McCaffery said that does not mean Uhl will necessarily be one of those whose role will be diminished, as some have surmised. He said the 6-9 native of Germany “absolutely’’ will play a prominent role for the Hawkeyes this season.
McCaffery said he is counting on Uhl to be one of his best perimeter defenders and someone who can create things offensively.
Uhl admits he always has thought of himself as a perimeter player anyway, a small forward if not a shooting guard. He said he suspects he will see more action at small forward than anywhere else this season.
“I don’t even really know,’’ Uhl said. “We’ll just have to wait and see. But probably yeah, because we have Luka (Garza) and Jack (Nunge) now, I don’t think they’ll use me any more at the five.’’
Uhl said he’s not resentful at all about the addition of Garza and Nunge.
“It’s just good for us as a team,’’ he said. “We want to get as much talent as we can get. I don’t really see myself as a big guy anyway. I see myself as in between.’’
McCaffery would love to see Uhl get back to where he was as a sophomore, when he was a key reserve for the Hawkeyes.
Of his 42 career 3-point field goals, 27 came during that 2015-16 season. He shot 45 percent from behind the arc and reached career highs with 6.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
Those numbers dipped to 3.5 and 3.2 last season despite the fact that Uhl played in 32 games and started seven of them.
“It’s funny because he didn’t shoot it that well as a freshman but then as a sophomore he was killing it,’’ McCaffery said. “And then as a junior he didn’t shoot it as well, but to me Dom’s value is always in his overall productivity.’’
One thing he doesn’t expect to get from Uhl is a large amount of conversation. The senior is almost certainly the most quiet, soft-spoken player on the team.
“He is who he is,’’ McCaffery said. “I just let him be who he is. In the beginning, I tried (to get him to be more vocal) and it’s just not the way he is. But he will talk on defense. He knows where to go and what to tell the other guys to do.’’
And he leads by example.
“He’s a worker. He’s in the gym all the time,’’ McCaffery added. “He cares about things. He’s great in the locker room. He has the respect of his teammates. They really like him.’’