New look Hawkeye roster offers depth, flexibility

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Iowa Hawkeyes guard Joe Toussaint (2) reacts to a three point basket against the Longwood Lancers Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

 

When one looks at the Hawkeye men’s basketball roster this season, they might notice the names missing from last season’s team. Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp are now in the NBA, while CJ Fredrick and Jack Nunge transferred to others.

The roster isn’t completely new, however. Jordan Bohannon and Connor McCaffery are the only starters back, and Joe Toussaint played big minutes, along with Keegan Murray off the bench last season. All four of those guys figure to play huge roles on this year’s team.

They’ll be in different spots than last year. Jordan Bohannon is going to slide over the two guard, in hopes to get Iowa’s all-time three point leader more shots.

“”He made 80 threes last year; let’s see if he can make 90 or more,” coach McCaffery said. “That’s just what he does.”

“I think I have the ability to make six, seven, eight threes in a game,” Bohannon said. “That’s my mindset. I need to be aggressive.”

Joe Toussaint will take his place at point guard. It’s something he’s not totally new to as he started 20 games there during his freshman year. He’s hoping to push the tempo this year on the court, and push his teammates. With his change in position, comes a bigger leadership responsibility.

“I feel like I’m preparing myself really well, actually,” Toussaint said. “I take pride in being a leader. I feel like I’m a natural born leader.”

Connor McCaffery will also be leaned on to score more too.

The biggest adjustment comes for 2020 All-Big Ten Freshman teamer, now 2021 preseason All-Big Ten selection Keegan Murray. As noted by the preseason all-conference honors, expectations are way higher for the sophomore this year.

“Yeah, he’s ready,” coach McCaffery said. “He’s a confident kid.”

It’s a group coach Fran McCaffery is excited about, but it’s a small one. He’s going to need to fill the rest of the minutes with players that weren’t in the regular rotation last year.

The practice court has been the proving ground for finding out who that will be.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who are good,” coach McCaffery said. “The practices have been very competitive. I’ve been switching the lineups quite a bit. Everything we do in practice is competitive. So every segment is one team wins, one team loses. And they’ve been going at each other.”

Even when the rotation is set for one night, it could change the next. That’s because this team feels it’s depth is one of it’s greatest strengths.

“We feel like we have a lot of different parts that we can move in and out,” Connor McCaffery said. “Playing the way we’re going to play, we’re going to be upbeat, we’re going to be athletic, we’re going to be very good defensively, we’re going to press, we’ve got depth, we’ve got guys who are going to come in and fill roles in different ways.”

It also gives them more flexibility than they’ve had in the past. Last season they played a certain style centered around Luke Garza. For good reason too, as he was the National Player of the Year.

They don’t have anyone they feel is as dominant as Garza this season, so there’s going to be a lot of mixing and matching with lineups this season depending on how the Hawkeyes want to play.

“We can go with a bigger lineup, a smaller lineup,” coach McCaffery said. “We can go without a five-man, traditional five-man and three guards and two 6-9s. There’s a lot of ways we can go. I think from that standpoint it’s a different kind of team.”

You can find the full 2021-22 Iowa Men’s basketball roster here.

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