The Iowa men’s basketball team is ready to take the court on November 25 to square off against N.C. Central and while familiar faces may get the majority of playing time in game one, fans should get ready to see some new additions to the Black and Gold throughout the season.
Ahron Ulis, Josh Ogundele, Keegan and Kris Murray, and Tony Perkins join the Hawkeyes as freshmen for the 2020-2021 campaign. The five freshmen join the 5th ranked team in the country and they’re doing their best to improve themselves and the team each day.
“As far as when we came in, coach McCaffery always taught us to come in and compete even if you’re not hitting shots and things aren’t going well just come in and compete,” said Ulis. “That’s what we learned from the first day.”
Each bring a different skillset to the court to help this team win. Even the Murray twins give head coach Fran McCaffery different options.
“He’s usually more of a driver I’d say and he’d kick it out to me for three,” said Keegan Murray. “But, we both developed our games so we’re multidimensional.”
“We’re twins but we have a lot of differences but also similarities that work well together,” said Kris Murray.
The class gives the Hawkeyes a player at each position, which could be signs of a starting five in years to come.
“During practice we do a lot of us five freshmen against the starters or the other guys who have been here, the veterans,” said Perkins.
Off the court, the freshmen are already bonding with their new teammates. Ogundele already is being described by some of his teammates as the most popular man on the team. When asked why, Ogundele said,
“Without being biased, I’d say I’m probably the funniest on the team. Without being biased. I think lot of people can agree. I think I’m just a very outgoing person. I’m not shy. I’m not one of those people who wait for people to talk to me I like making friends and talking to people. Also, I might be popular just because I’m from England. That’s probably the reason why, too.”
But make no mistake, when they get between the lines they’re all business. They know they could be called on at any given time.
“For all five of us it’s just to be ready,” said Kris Murray. “When they call us to know what we have to do and know our positions, just because this year has been so uncertain.”
While these five are ready to put in the work to stand out, so far they all have one thing in common. A welcome to the Big Ten moment courtesy of their own teammate: Luka Garza.
Ogundele was the only one out of the five that didn’t say he’s taken an elbow or two from Garza, but did say going up against in him practice has been tough and is improving his game.
They’re taking tough matchups in practice in stride because they know how hard it can be to succeed in the Big Ten. Luckily, they’ve got each other throughout the journey.
“We’ve been bonding pretty well even before we came here,” said Ulis. “I spoke to Tony, reached out to the twins, Josh as well. I mean, we’ve just been family ever since we’ve been here and it’s like we’ve known each other longer. We’ve just been trying to create the best bond that we can while we’re here.”