IOWA HAWKEYE BASKETBALL PLAYER PREVIEWS: Joe Toussaint

By Patrick Vint on November 24, 2020 at 12:00 am
Here, have a Toussain'wich
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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JOE TOUSSAINT

VITALS
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 190
Class: Sophomore
High School: Cardinal Hayes
Hometown: BX All Day
GIA Nickname That Won't Catch On Anywhere: The Toussain'wich

THE PAST
YEAR MIN PTS AST REB STL TO OFF EFF eFG
2019-20 44.5% 6.5 2.9 2.0 1.2 2.0 93.5 40.8

On a team that was brutal in its offensive efficiency -- and simply brutal on the defensive side -- The Toussain'wich was a buttery, paper-wrapped handful of chaos, eggs and cheese.  In the first half of the season, that manifested in brief appearances, as Toussaint worked as Jordan Bohannon's understudy.  But Bohannon stopped his season after becoming the permanent Chief Commissioner of Story County, and Toussaint started the final twenty games of the season.

It wasn't universally excellent, but Toussaint certainly had his moments.  He put up 18 points and 4 assists in a loss against Penn State in Philadelphia.  He scored 14 three times: at Nebraska, versus Rutgers and in the season finale at Illinois.  He finished the season third on the team in assists (just behind Bohannon) and first in steals.  He had the lowest effective field goal rate on the team, but that was largely a function of a role that required him to take a lot of low-percentage shots at the rim.  He shot 83 percent at the free throw line, which is at least a hint of a sign that he could develop a consistent outside shot.  And his pure quickness improved Iowa's on-ball point defense.

Is it weird that Iowa lost five of the six games where Toussaint scored more than 11 points?  Yes.  Is it his fault?  Not really, except for this: When he's scoring, he's handling the ball, and the more Toussaint handles the ball, the more he turns it over.  The only guy in Iowa's usual rotation to commit turnovers at the rate of Toussaint was Bakari Evelyn.  Which, uh, yikes.

THE FUTURE

That turnover bug could determine where Toussaint fits into this year's rotation.  Bohannon is back, but doesn't offer as a pure point what Toussaint does: The ability to get to the basket against just about anyone.  Whether it's actually worth it for Iowa to shift those point duties to Toussaint quasi-full time will likely depend on whether Toussaint can clean up the turnovers and develop a semi-consistent outside jumper (he shot a tic under 30% on just 37 attempts from three last year). 

There is one intriguing scenario to consider.  One of the Hawkeyes' biggest issues last year was scoring with Garza off the floor.  Unless Joe Wieskamp was hot, there wasn't a guy who could create his own, and the offense stagnated.  The 2020-21 Iowa backcourt is loaded, though, and both Toussaint and Bohannon can drive-and-kick.  A Plan B offense of Toussaint, Bohannon, CJ Fredrick, Wieskamp and, like, Pat McCaffery is really interesting as a slash-and-threes setup.  I could see that being Toussaint's ticket for this year.

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