Iowa Ohio St Basketball

Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp, left, launches a 3-point shot during a game last season against Ohio State. Wieskamp and other Division I college basketball players will have to adjust to a new 3-point line next season of 22 feet, 1 3/4 inches. 

IOWA CITY — When the Iowa basketball season concluded in March and Joe Wieskamp decided to enter the NBA Draft process, the 6-foot-6 wing prepared for his workouts hoisting shots from the NBA 3-point line. 

It turns out the repetitions will benefit Wieskamp as early as next season.

Earlier this month, the NCAA announced it would be moving the Division I 3-point line back from 20 feet, 9 inches to the international distance of 22-1 3/4 starting this upcoming season. 

The NBA line is 23-9. 

"I'm kind of excited it got moved back because I've already been practicing that," Wieskamp said while meeting with reporters last week. "When I do decide to take that next step, I'll be even more prepared."

It'll be the first distance change to the 3-point line in college since it was moved from 19-9 to 20-9 in 2008-09. 

The National Invitation Tournament experimented with the international line the past two seasons. For this past year's tournament, the percentage of makes were down about 2 points from the regular season. 

The NCAA said several factors contributed to the change:

— Make the lane more available for dribble penetration from the perimeter

— Help create more spacing and require the defense to cover more of the court

— Slow the trend of the 3-point shot taking over the game

"It is going to take time to adjust," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery admitted. "It is a pretty substantial amount of inches. You look at some of our guys and it shouldn't affect them. 

"It is a matter of getting in the gym, getting a lot of shots up from that distance and getting a feel for it."

Despite shooting only 29% from 3-point territory last season, Iowa junior Luka Garza said the new distance won't prevent him from shooting.

The perimeter shot has been a focus in Garza's workouts this summer.

"When I got home (to Washington, D.C.), I saw they were proposing (to move the line back), so I started working out from that line," Garza said. "I've gotten used to it. The adjustment isn't too much. 

"Looking back at last year, I wanted to improve on my 3-point shot. I lost consistency on it. I had to go back to the basics with my dad, and I feel really good about where my shot is at right now."

Iowa took more than 22 attempts from beyond the arc per game last season, fifth most in the Big Ten Conference.

The Hawkeyes connected on 36.4%, but two of their better perimeter shooters — Isaiah Moss and Nicholas Baer — are gone. Jordan Bohannon, the school's all-time leader in 3-point makes with 264, is out indefinitely following hip surgery earlier this spring. 

McCaffery believes it could open more opportunities for low-post scoring. Iowa has options with Garza, Ryan Kriener, Cordell Pemsl and Jack Nunge.

"That was the plan when they instituted the rule change, more freedom of movement and more low-post play," he said. "We're pretty good in that area, so hopefully that bodes well for those guys." 

Nunge and Pemsl are returning from redshirt seasons. Nunge is 6-11 and 250 pounds.

"His power moves inside have been really impressive," McCaffery said. "He can stretch the floor."

Pemsl is not a 3-point threat, but McCaffery said his passing out of the post and his screening can create opportunities for others.

"Both Jack and Cordell can score," McCaffery stated. "A lot of times when you have four post players who can score, that's a really good thing. A lot of teams don't have that."

Still, Wieskamp and Garza are confident Iowa has enough firepower on the outside. Besides Wieskamp, redshirt freshman C.J. Frederick has been praised by teammates for his perimeter touch. Freshman Patrick McCaffery was a 45% 3-point shooter at Iowa City West last year.

"I don't see (the distance) changing our offense," Garza said. "We still have a lot of good shooters here."

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Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.