Coming off a trip to the finals of the National Invitational Tournament this spring, Hawkeye basketball fans are excited about the return of the Prime Time League this summer. The league held their draft on Sunday evening and the potential loss of Aaron White and Devyn Marble to the USA Basketball World University team didn't deter both players from being high draft picks.
White, who averaged nearly 13 points a game this past season, was the first pick of the draft by Ron Nove. This marks the third straight year that Nove has picked the talented forward.
Summer league basketball tends to be guard driven and with that in mind, freshman Mike Gesell went off the board quickly with the second pick. He was followed Iowa's leading returning scorer, Devyn Marble being picked third. Marble averaged 15 points per game in his junior year.
Marble and White are one of 29 players who have been invited to try out for the World University Games team later this month. Both will play in the Prime Time League opener this Thursday and then they are headed to Colorado Springs for the camp. After three days the roster is expected to be trimmed to twelve players who will represent the United State in Russia next month.
Obviously there is a gamble in taking White or Marble, but it is a gamble worth taking.
"I think people are tempted by the prospect of coaching and having such great players on their team that they are willing to take the chance," said Prime Time League Director Randy Larson. "We all hope they make the team, but if they don't make it, you have an awfully good player on your team."
The draft then went big with the fourth overall pick as center Adam Woodbury went off the board. Larson then picked Jarrod Uthoff for the second straight year. Last year he took the Wisconsin transfer with the first pick. This year he went fifth overall.
With the sixth pick and the final selection of the first round, Zach McCabe found a home for the summer. His teammate in the Prime Time League will be Gabe Olaseni, who was the first pick of the second round.
With the second pick of the second round, Anthony Clemmons was selected, followed by incoming freshman Peter Jok. Guard Josh Oglesby was the 10th overall pick and the 13th overall pick was Darius Stokes.
Walk-on forward and Iowa City West prep standout Okey Ukah went 14th and redshirt freshman Kyle Meyer was the 16th pick of the draft. Kyle Denning, a walk-on guard for the Hawkeyes, was the 35th overall selection.
Only one former Hawkeye player, Jason Price, will be playing this summer in the PTL. Former Hawks Matt Gatens, Eric May, and Jarryd Cole will not be able to participate due to schedule conflicts. Gatens will be playing soon in the NBA's Summer League in Orlando. Cole was married this weekend and will be taking some time off for a honeymoon and May is weighing potential overseas playing options.
Here's a rundown of which Iowa players will be playing together this summer:
Team 1: Aaron White and Darius Stokes
Team 2: Mike Gesell and Kyle Denning
Team 3: Devyn Marble and Josh Oglesby
Team 4: Adam Woodbury, Peter Jok, Kyle Meyer, and Jason Price
Team 5: Jarrod Uthoff and Anthony Clemmons
Team 6: Zach McCabe and Gabe Olaseni
Teams are limited to two current Iowa players each. Incoming freshmen do not count towards that number, which is why Jok can play with Woodbury and Meyer.
Melsahn Basabe is back home in the New York City area this summer, with Coach McCaffery's blessing, and will not be playing in the PTL. He will be returning to Iowa City later in the summer prior to Iowa's overseas trip to France and England in the middle of August.
Action in the Prime Time League begins this Thursday evening at the North Liberty Recreation Center. Tipoff is slated for 6 pm with one game followed by a pair of games at 7:30 pm. Games will also be played on Sunday afternoon's starting with one game at 3 pm, followed by two games at 4:30. Games will be played every Thursday and Sunday, except for July 4th, when no games are scheduled.
Admission is free and fans are advised to arrive early, especially for the first game of the night when there is only one game being played.