The breakout news from the opening of the Prime Time League was that Jack Nunge and Luka Garza were in town and they were straight-up wrecking shit in Iowa's annual summer league showcase. The breakout news from week two? Well, there wasn't one, but Jack Nunge is still kicking a lot of ass.
Sunday night PTL stats for the Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/ioPP8IZtPA
— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) June 26, 2017
He led all Iowa players with 40 points (on 17/28 shooting, including 13/15 shooting from 2-point range) and also had 14 rebounds and six assists. As ever, we never want to go too excited about PTL success transferring to real games, but the fact that Nunge is looking so impressive game after game is certainly cause for some excitement. He's going to factor into Iowa's frontcourt rotation in some capacity this winter.
Nunge's fellow incoming freshman, Garza, didn't have a shabby outing, either; he provided a double-double with 20 ponits (on 9/21 shooting) and 18 rebounds. One thing to watch for both young big men will be foul shooting -- they struggled at the charity stripe on Sunday (2/6 for Nunge, 2/5 for Garza), though that was just one game (Nunge went 3/6 and Garza went 3/4 last week). Iowa struggled with poor foul shooting from its frontcourt players last year, though, so it would be nice to avoid that issue this season if possible.
Outside of Nunge and Garza, Iowa also got some big production from the backcourt, too. Jordan Bohannon had 36 points on 10/20 shooting (including a nice 6/9 from deep) to go with eight rebounds and seven assists. In an article by The Gazette's Jeremiah Davis, Bohannon talked about working on aspects of his offense beyond long-range shooting this summer:
For Bohannon, that has manifested itself in an increased focus on dribble penetration. He’ll never ignore his outside shot — Bohannon said he tries to get 500 makes in per day — but to be a complete point guard at this level, he said that part of his game has to be there. Bohannon had 36 points, and while he was 6 of 9 from 3-point range, he also tried several ways of working the floater in the lane.
The dribble penetration was even more effective in sending him to the line, where Bohannon was 10 of 11, and that’s the easiest way for driving the lane to be productive for him.
Both of those developments are very exciting. Bohannon shot just 32% on 2-point field goals last year and really struggled to convert inside the arc, especially on drives near the basket. If his floater is able to develop into a solid weapon, that would be excellent for Iowa's offense. But even if his 2-point production remains inconsistent, driving and finding ways to get fouled will still be very beneficial for Iowa's offense. Bohannon should be Iowa's best free throw shooter next year (he was an 86% shooter last year and shot over 90% in high school), so getting him more opportunities to add easy points would be very welcome.
Brady Ellingson popped off for 39 points on 12/20 shooting, including an also-nice 6/9 from deep, to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Isaiah Moss had 29 points on 10/17 shooting, including 4/11 shooting from deep, and five rebounds and two assists. Ellingson and Moss figure to be the primary players to try and replace Jok's minutes (and production) next year, so it's encouraging to see their games seemingly taking a few steps forward this summer. Moss also had a standout performance in last Thursday's PTL game, per The Daily Iowan's Jordan Zuniga:
Sophomore Isaiah Moss stood above the crowd, putting up a game-high 25 points.
The first half for Moss was a shower of 3s and mid-range jumpers. It felt as though any shot he took went in.
“It felt great [to be out there],” he said. “I’ve been working on my shot over the summer so, it’s great to come out here and knock ’em down.”
The second half didn’t see Moss’ scoring slow down, but instead of jump shots, he put a dunk on display for his encore.
Moss had three to four dunks in that second half.
The other figure who will factor into Iowa's backcourt next year is Christian Williams, who surprised many by staying at Iowa this offseason after an up-and-down season where he lost the starting point guard job to Jordan Bohannon. He didn't have a spectacular showing at the PTL on Sunday night -- 12 points on 4/12 shooting, including a miserable 1/8 on 2-point shots, though he did have nine rebounds and six assists. Hawk Central's Mark Emmert wrote a good profile of Williams that spotlighted some of the changes he's been working on this summer:
Williams told reporters after helping his team win a Prime Time League game at the North Liberty Community Center on Sunday that his goal is to establish himself as a wing player for the Hawkeyes in an attempt to absorb the 31 minutes per game that the graduated Peter Jok leaves behind.
"That’s a huge adjustment for me," Williams conceded. "I’ve got to score the ball. That’s some pressure, but I think I can handle it."
Williams has been hoisting 500 3-pointers every day this summer, some from NBA range. As a player who admits he struggles with confidence at times, that has gone a long way toward making him feel more comfortable.
In some ways, that makes sense -- Williams' tremendous athleticism and physical skills would make a lot of sense on the wing. On the other hand, Iowa still needs someone to be a back-up point guard for Bohannon next year and Williams' offense still seems rather shaky, which could hinder his effectiveness on the wing. It will be very interesting to see how his development progresses this summer and next winter.
Meanwhile, in your regularly scheduled piece of Tyler Cook news, he's resting more and eating better in an effort to be a more explosive and effective player next season, per Land of 10's Bobby La Gesse:
He is learning to love ice baths and hot tubs. He stretches and uses leg compresses. Cook isn’t afraid to take a day off to recuperate.
He said it all helps him feel more explosive than when he earned All-Big Ten freshman team honors while averaging 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds last season for the Hawkeyes.
“My legs feel really good right now,” Cook said, attributing that in part to his new focus on his body. “I feel good though physically.”
Keeping his feet up when away from the court is just the start. Getting sleep is a priority. He also cut sugar out of his diet.
“It’s a lot easier now since I’m in an apartment,” Cook said. “It’s harder in the dorms because you are limited to the options you have for food.”
An even more explosive Cook? Yeah, we like the sound of that a lot. And don't worry -- he's still dunking on fools:
Tyler Cook rebounds, leads one-man fastbreak and gets very, very angry at the rim. pic.twitter.com/bI8qcJwTBq
— Matthew Bain (@MatthewBain_) June 25, 2017
And here are a few more highlights of PTL action, via Hawkeye Report: