By Patrick Vint on April 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm
C.J. Fredrick
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

We've got two days left of first-round games. Once again, here are the one-on-one rules:

  • shoot for first possession
  • alternating possessions
  • play to 15, must win by 2
  • 3s are worth 3 points

Eric May def. Glen Worley 15-11 (63-37)
Joe Wieskamp def. Jermain Davis 15-0 (99-1)
Reggie Evans def. Dan Bohall 15-0 (99-1) 

GAME ONE: No. 8 Duez Henderson vs. No. 9 C.J. Fredrick

Duez has always been a sentimental favorite around these parts.  In a bracket full of guys who went through a coaching change, he was a real trendsetter.  Duez was a freshman on the last Iowa basketball team to make the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, became a steady 6 point/5 board presence on Steve Alford's first squad, then professionally accepted his role as it diminished over the next two years.  He finished as a 5 point per game bench guy, but did a lot more than what showed in the box score.

On the other hand, Fredrick only has one season of work to examine, but it was an impressive year: 10 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists per game, 46% shooting from three, Big Ten leader in true shooting percentage, Big Ten All-Freshman team.  Not bad for a guy who wasn't heavily recruited, and only ended up on Iowa's radar because Fran McCaffery had coached his uncle at Notre Dame.

GAME TWO: No. 6 Jake Kelly vs. No. 11 Anthony Clemmons

If you weren't there, it's hard to describe how important Jake Kelly was in the winter of 2009.  Iowa was still struggling through the second season of Todd Lickliter, but there was hope: Kelly, the first Lickliter recruit to really look the part of a Big Ten player, and the 6'6" guard/forward had a sort of Nick Baer-like, all-in style that simply resonated.  While Iowa wasn't winning much in the Big Ten, Kelly's February was a silver lining: Over the last seven games of the regular season, he averaged 20 points per game, and never scored fewer than 17.  Finally, it looked like Iowa had a guy.  And then Kelly transferred to Indiana State, and while there were certainly external reasons for that transfer to happen, it felt like the biggest, latest kick in the groin to Lickliter.  It would go on for another year, but Kelly's transfer was the day that regime unofficially ended.

Clemmons was the other guard in the Mike Gesell class, a contender for the point guard spot who became a three-and-D guy, then one of the best perimeter defenders Iowa has seen in the past decade.  He averaged 5 points and 2.5 assists per game for his four years in Iowa City; more critically, he finally became a full-time starter as a senior and contributed 9 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds per contest.

GAME THREE:  No. 6 Justin Johnson vs. No. 11 Ahmad Wagner

Johnson was another of the parade of Steve Alford-era guards, a 6'6" JUCO transfer from Texas who played out the last year of Ol' Redacted's tenure.  As a senior, under Lickliter, he came into his own, scoring 12 points per game and pulling in 5 boards.  A lot of that came on his 8 three-point attempts per game, which makes Johnson quite possibly the only player to benefit from that coaching change.

Ahmad Wagner was a good enough athlete that he's probably getting drafted into the National Football League in a couple of weeks.  Wagner certainly looked the part of a football player: 6'7", 215 pounds, chiseled out of granite.  Unfortunately, that didn't always translate on the basketball court: Wagner started 18 games as a sophomore, but averaged only 5 points per game.  He was down to 9 minutes per game as a junior, and ended his career at Iowa with a nondescript 3 points and 3 boards per contest average.


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