While football stole the show (and the headlines) over the past few days with the NFL Draft, there was a pretty notable basketball story that dropped yesterday, too: Joe Wieskamp is not going through the NBA Draft process this offseason and will be returning to Iowa for his junior season in 2020-21.
Wieskamp did go through the NBA Draft early entry process last year and received feedback from NBA scouts and league officials about his potential to get drafted as well as what areas of his game he should work on to improve his draft stock. Why is he opting not to do the same this year? Well... because like pretty much everything else in the world right now, the pre-Draft process is a massive set of unknowns due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"I have decided not to put my name in the NBA Draft this year due to the all the unknowns in regards to team workouts and what the process will look like," said Wieskamp. 'My goal is to play in the NBA and I'm looking forward to that possibility in the future. However, I'm extremely excited for this upcoming season at Iowa! We have the opportunity to do something really special."
That's certainly understandable. It probably also doesn't hurt that Wieskamp already went through this process a year ago and has a sense of what it's like and what sort of feedback he would likely receive.
Wieskamp's decision does remove one of the only remaining pieces of uncertainty about who's returning to Iowa next season and who's moving on. We know that Bakari Evelyn and Ryan Kriener have graduated and exhausted their eligibility. And we know that Riley Till and Cordell Pemsl have opted to graduate and use their final years of eligibility elsewhere (at Cal Poly and Virginia Tech, respectively). At this point the only remaining dominoes are whether or not Jordan Bohannon officially gets his additional year of eligibility (which seems like a foregone conclusion) and whether or Luka Garza, who is planning to go through the NBA Draft early entry process, will return to Iowa (uncertain, although our hunch remains "yes").
Regardless, Wieskamp's decision to return to Iowa for another season is a big domino for next season's hoops team. Wieskamp improved his scoring (to 14.0 ppg from 11.1 ppg) and rebounding (to 6.1 rpg from 4.9 rpg), although his shooting percentages from the floor declined (from 48.8% to 42.7% overall and from 42.4% to 34.7% from 3-point range). That shooting decline particularly manifested itself at the end of the season; after a season-high 30-point outing against Nebraska, Wieskamp shot just 19/64 (29.7%) from the field and 4/24 (16.7%) from long distance in Iowa's final seven games. He finished with 10 or fewer points in four of those seven games after having 10 or fewer points in just five of Iowa's previous 24 games. It was an inopportune time for a shooting slump (Iowa went 3-4 in those games), but doesn't seem all that indicative of the player Wieskamp is -- or that he can be moving forward. That said, improved consistency will be key for Wieskamp in 2020-21. We look forward to seeing what he can do in black and gold for one more year -- it feels like the best of Joe is yet to come in an Iowa uniform.
Welcome back, Weezy.