The Ottumwa Courier

Iowa Sports

October 14, 2008

Hawkeye cagers hope for improvement

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Todd Lickliter’s first season at Iowa wasn’t pretty. Not only did the Hawkeyes lose a school-record 19 games, they drew the smallest average home crowds in the history of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Lickliter knew he was taking on a major rebuilding effort when he left Butler for Iowa City, and the process of building Iowa back into a winner won’t happen overnight. The second season of the Lickliter era unofficially kicked off Monday with the team’s annual media day, and Lickliter said he’ll be preaching consistency as the inexperienced Hawkeyes prepare for their Nov. 14 opener against Charleston Southern.

Inconsistent play is a hallmark of losing teams, and that plagued Iowa from November to March last season. It showed in the final results, as the Hawkeyes finished 13-19 and were knocked out in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

“I thought we did some really good things last year. We just we’re consistent enough,” Lickliter said. “We want to play high-percentage basketball and be consistent in our effort, and what we do.”

Even die-hard Iowa fans would likely fail a pop quiz about the Hawkeyes roster, which has seven newcomers this season and just two seniors, J.R. Angle and Cyrus Tate. They’ll learn those names fast though, because Iowa’s going to have to ask for major contributions from at least a few of those fresh faces.

“We’ll need it,” Lickliter said when asked whether he expects immediate production from first-year players. “There will be opportunities.”

Lickliter bolstered a backcourt that lost Tony Freeman (transfer) and Justin Johnson (graduation) with two junior college transfers — guards Devan Bawinkel and Jermain Davis.

Bawinkel left West Virginia after one season and was the MVP of the Arrowhead Conference at Highland Community College (Ill.) last season. Davis starred at nearby Kirkwood Community College, leading the Eagles to a 32-4 record.

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