The Iowa Hawkeyes earned their top-five ranking in part due to the depth they have on their roster, but two names stand out. Muscatine native Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza each earned a spot on the preseason All-Big Ten Team. It’s a one-two punch that Big Ten teams will have to gameplay for night in and night out.
“I think our chemistry is darn good,” said Iowa junior guard Joe Wieskamp. “It’s improving especially during the offseason.”
In 2019 the duo combined for 38 points and 16 rebounds each game and following a season cut short, the two are doing everything they can to make this campaign even better.
“I’ve gained a couple pounds, but more so just gaining lots of muscle, trying to transform that weight a little bit,” said Wieskamp. “Not a lot of guys had access to gyms but luckily I had weights at home. (I was) really trying to focus on my body mentally and physically during that time period. I think it’s really paying off.”
While Wieskamp was preparing to battle in the paint, Luka was preparing to stretch the floor. The 6’11 center worked with his dad during the off-season and began practicing shots from as far as 35-feet out from the basket.
“It’s just adding to my range,” said Iowa senior center Luka Garza. “Getting more comfortable at any spot on the court. I’ll take it when the opportunity presents itself.”
With both Hawkeyes geared to drop 20 on any given night, they’re ready to hit the court together.
“We’ve talked a lot and being able to practice together this whole time,” said Wieskamp. “Lots of ball screens and things like that, being able to read how his defender is playing me if he switches onto me helps and I got to throw back to him or he goes back and I have a drive or pull up jumpshot. Playing with a guy like that opens up a lot of things for myself as well as our whole team.”
It’s a chemistry that’s been being built over the course of the past three years.
“Each season as you go on and you’re playing with the same guys you learn a lot more about them and their games,” said Garza. “I really understand the way Joe plays and I think that helps when you look at our two man game. I’ve developed to know where he wants to be shooting and, on the post if he’s cutting, where to hit him. I’m very excited to continue that and I think it will be a lot of fun to be out there with him. I think he’s really mentally prepared for this year and what the challenge is. I’m really proud of him. There’s no one more ready than him.”