February 2013

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Page 56 of 60

Depth Keys Success By Matthew Weitzel F or only the second time in the last two decades, the University of Iowa men's basketball team has nine players logging 15.5 minutes or more per game, and 10 players averaging nine minutes or more. UI head men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery said one of the team's issues a year ago was depth. "We couldn't get a ton accomplished during practices because we didn't have enough good depth," McCaffery said. "I don't know that I have ever had a team, and I mean this sincerely, where we've got 12 guys who can play the game." This season, Iowa has three players (Roy Devyn Marble, Aaron White and Mike Gesell) averaging more than 25 minutes per game. Melsahn Basabe, Zach McCabe, Adam Woodbury, Anthony Clemmons, Eric May and Josh Oglesby are all averaging more than 15 minutes. In fact, 10 players have played in all but one game this season. "We're deeper than we've been in the past," said McCaffery. "You have to be deep to win in this league. Practices have been much more competitive than they've been the previous two years because every one of these guys is going after playing time." Co-captain Eric May, who averages 18 minutes off the bench, said the team has benefited from coach's rotation. 57 "Having a deep bench allows us to be fresh and play at our maximum potential when we're on the court," May said. "Our defense has improved significantly and we have scored more baskets in transition thanks in large part to having a higher energy level." The deeper rotation plays right into McCaffery's style, which is an up-tempo on offense, and a pressing defense. "I have the flexibility to go with different lineups throughout the course of games depending upon who we're playing," McCaffery said. "Whether we go small, whether we go big, whether we go zone, whether we press more, play more half court, man, whatever. But I've got some versatility in terms of how I can maneuver personnel around to make that happen." The only other season in the past 20 years in which a Hawkeye team showed this much depth, was the 1998-99 team that advanced to the Sweet 16 on the 1999 NCAA Tournament. That squad had 10 players who averaged 17 minutes or more, including four players (Dean Oliver, J.R. Koch, Jess Settles and Kent McCausland) who logged 20 minutes or more.

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