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Iowa Media Day Basketball

From left, Iowa freshmen Connor McCaffery, Jack Nunge and Luka Garza pose for photographers during Iowa's annual college basketball media day in Iowa City, Iowa. McCaffery will play this season after initially planning to redshirt.

After-thoughts from Iowa’s 105-81 exhibition victory over William Jewell:

--Even though we saw in the Prime Time League wat sort of skills freshman Jack Nunge has, some of us still were very surprised at how productive he was in his college debut Friday. This kid is a special talent. He put up 16 points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes of action, didn’t miss a shot from the field, blocked a couple of shots, handed out two assists and was surprisingly effective as a defender. He is 6-foot-11 but athletic enough to be very comfortable playing the small forward position. You just don’t see 6-11 small forwards anywhere outside the NBA. Don’t be surprised if he eventually becomes the Hawkeyes’ starter at that position.

--What was up with Nicholas Baer on Friday? Hard to say. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said he didn’t think the normally productive and efficient junior forward was sick, but he certainly didn’t look like himself. He played only nine minutes, didn’t score, didn’t get a rebound, didn’t do anything except miss a couple of shots. McCaffery also didn’t really explain why he only played Baer nine minutes.

--It probably won’t continue this way but for the first game, it looked like most of the Iowa players spent most of their time focusing on one position. It was Luka Garza and Ryan Kriener at center; Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsl at power forward; Baer, Nunge, Ahmad Wagner and Dom Uhl at small forward; Isaiah Moss, Brady Ellingson and Maishe Dailey at shooting guard; and Jordan Bohannon and Connor McCaffery at point guard. Uhl and Nunge also played a little power forward, Cook spent a minute or two at center and Bohannon looked good playing shooting guard for a few minutes, but other than that there wasn’t much moving around.

--At times last season, Iowa had a great deal of trouble handling smaller guards and that continued in Friday’s exhibition. Keith Hayes, a 5-10 guard who averaged 6.1 points per game last year in junior college, gouged them for 16 points. Easton Koch, a 5-11 senior who averaged 5.2 points for the Cardinals last season, scored 12. Byron Harp, a 6-2 transfer from Kirkwood Community College went for 12 points and six assists.

--If we’re reading between the lines correctly, Connor McCaffery is not going to redshirt this season, as originally planned. Both he and his dad all but admitted that he is going to be the backup point guard now that Christian Williams is transferring. You kind of wonder if Williams didn’t see the writing on the wall and perhaps that’s why he chose to announce his plans to leave the program on Thursday.

--While Nunge and fellow freshman Luka Garza probably are not going to contribute 33 points and 18 rebounds every night, they are going to make the Hawkeyes a much better rim-protecting team this season. Each of them blocked two shots Friday. Tyler Cook and a slimmed-down Cordell Pemsl also swatted down two apiece.

--As so often happens in these exhibitions, the officials probably blew their whistles a little more often than usual. They called 50 fouls — 26 on William Jewell and 24 on Iowa. William Jewell had three players foul out, including its only two returning starters.

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