And now for a little good news concerning Iowa basketball: freshman phenom Joe Wieskamp is set to become sophomore star Joe Wieskamp next year. He's officially withdrawing from the pool of draft-eligible players in the 2019 NBA Draft and returning to Iowa for the 2019-20 season.
This was the expected outcome as soon as Wieskamp indicated that he was going to go through the NBA Draft process, but still: hooray! It's reassuring to know that Iowa will have one of their very best players back -- especially after the tumultous offseason they've endured so far, most recently highlighted by the news that Jordan Bohannon may miss the entire season while recovering from hip surgery.
As a freshman, Wieskamp averaged 11.1 ppg (fourth-most on the team), 4.9 rpg (second-most on the team), and a combined 1.4 blocks + steals per game (second-most on the team). Wieskamp was also one of Iowa's best shooters; his 48.8 FG% was the best (by far) among Iowa's perimeter players and his 42.4 3FG% was the best three-point shooting percentage on the team. His outside shooting prowess wasn't the result of a small sample size, either -- he attempted 3s at a good clip last year as well, around four per game.
From the outset, there was an expectation that Wieskamp would be back in Iowa City for at least one more season. While Wieskamp had a very promising freshman season and has very good athletic ability, he didn't post monster numbers or possess the sort of lights-out athleticism that gets guys drafted in the first round. He didn't crack the top prospects lists for the NBA Draft during the season, nor during the NBA Draft process. That said, there was no harm in going through this process and obtaining valuable feedback from NBA personnel. If these experiences enable him to become a better Wieskamp next season (and there's no reason to expect that won't be the case), then Iowa -- and Iowa fans -- stand to benefit tremendously from this process.
Welcome back, Joe. We look forward to watching you kick some Big Ten ass next winter. WIEZY SZN is back and we couldn't be more excited.