The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

October 17, 2013

Inexperienced Northern Iowa preps for season

(Continued)

"I think it's going to help us more because he can get the outlet (pass) or I can get the outlet, so I feel like that's going to be an advantage for us to be able to get the ball up the floor faster," Mitchell said.

The only freshmen expected to play immediately are guard Jeremy Morgan, an intriguing 6-foot-5 wing player from Iowa City, and Ankeny (Iowa) center Ted Friedman.

Jacobson indicated that Friedman could push for starter-type minutes right away — which was both a nod to his potential and a stark example of how thin the Panthers could be in the frontcourt.

Northern Iowa is thus likely going to need a big year from junior forward Seth Tuttle.

The 6-foot-8 Tuttle is the team's leading returning scorer at 11.4 points per game and by far its best rebounder. Jacobson said Tuttle spent the summer working on improving his 3-point shooting and his offensive post moves, and he also put on an extra 10 pounds.

Tuttle has the potential to be one of the best players in the Missouri Valley conference. To do that, Jacobson believes that Tuttle will need to learn to maintain his intensity for longer stretches.

"He's so effective when he's playing really, really hard, and we're encouraging him to do it longer. That's going to help him get to that next place," Jacobson said.

The Panthers also have six reserves back for 2013-14, a veteran group led by guard Matt Bohannon and forwards Chip Rank and Nate Buss. But they and everyone else on the team will have either new or expanded roles this season, so Jacobson is prepared to be as patient as possible early on.

"The season is much more of a process than it is about as good as we possibly can on day 1, or in week 2 or the first month. We want to get as good as we can as fast as we can," Jacobson said. "But I think it's so important for the players to understand...that building your team is a process. And we want to be playing as well as we can when we get to mid-January, somewhere around that time, and finish strong,"

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