Gabe Olaseni

Could a position change be in the cards for Iowa’s Gabe Olaseni?

Leave a comment

After playing an average of 10.7 minutes per game as a sophomore, Iowa’s Gabe Olaseni earned an increase in minutes in 2013-14. Olaseni played 16.7 minutes per game last season, posting averages of 6.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game on a team that reached the NCAA tournament. Obviously the goal for most players in the offseason is to improve enough to warrant more opportunities, and that’s the case for Olaseni.

However there’s a bit of a road block in front of the rising senior on the form of starting center Adam Woodbury, and in a story written by Don Doxsie of the Quad-City Times moving to the power forward spot may be Olaseni’s best route to more playing time. But with that desire comes the need to show he’s capable of handling the responsibilities that may differ from one position to the other, and that’s something Olaseni’s aims to do this summer.

That would be another first. Olaseni never has played a second at any position other than center in a game at any level, but he’s excited at the prospect of being a four instead of a five.

“I think I can definitely play the four,” he said following a game in the Prime Time summer league. “I know I can guard fours. I just need to show offensively that I can space the floor and hit the mid-range shot, stuff like that.”

With Roy Devyn Marble and Melsahn Basabe having graduated there are two openings in the Iowa starting lineup, with Woodbury, point guard Mike Gesell and forward Aaron White being the incumbents. Who slides into those open roles? Olaseni may be one option in the front court, but also to be considered is junior forward Jarrod Uthoff.

In his first season as a Hawkeye, Uthoff provided 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game off the bench and from an offensive standpoint may be the best bet for that forward position especially when considering the loss of their leading scorer (Marble). The good thing for Iowa is that they have depth, as ten players averaged double figures in minutes last season and seven of those players will return in 2014-15.

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.