Thud 03/27/2009Posted by sportretort in Sports, Uncategorized.
Word out of Iowa City is that guard Jake Kelly has asked for and been granted a release from his scholarship at Iowa.
He plans to transfer to Indiana State to be closer to home. Kelly’s mother died in a plane crash last June. Kelly, a sophomore, became the starting point guard for Iowa when Jeff Peterson went down with a hamstring injury halfway through the Big Ten season. In the last four weeks of the season, Kelly was named Big Ten player of the week twice. While averaging a season high 11.6 points per game, he scored 19 points or more in 6 straight games after he took over the point guard duties. He was named honerable mention all Big Ten. Guard Jermain Davis has also announced he is leaving Iowa to attend division II Minnesota State. With the departure of Senior Cyrus Tate, this leaves Iowa with only 6 returning players who appeared in at least 25 games last season on an Iowa squad that finished 15-17. This will make Iowa young and inexperienced again next year.
Coach Todd Lickliter’s Iowa teams have finished a combined 11-25 in the Big Ten in his first two seasons there. His teams have yet to win a conference game away from Carver Hawkeye Arena. Improvement needs to be made by season three. The talent base was small when coach Alford left for New Mexico, and Coach Lickliter’s system is much different than that of his predecessor, but the loss of Kelly hurts the chances of improvement. Davis was not going to play much next season, so that loss is minimal. Kelly, on the other hand, was the type of player that Lickliter is looking for. Though Kelly came to Iowa under Alford, Lickliter recruited him and offered him a scholarship to play for Butler. Events then brought Lickliter from Butler to be Iowa’s coach.
There are rays of hope for next season, however. Hopefully, guard Anthony Tucker will hang with the program and
be back next year. Tucker had a rough first year in Iowa City, with suspensions for a run in with the Iowa City police department for public intoxication, a bout of mono, and scholastic ineligibility for the second semester. Despite all of that all of that, Tuker lead the Hawkeyes in scoring for the 14 games he did play in, and his 42% 3 point field goal accuracy was sorely needed in conference play. Guard Jeff Peterson will be a junior, and hopefully will return to run the offense. There are rumors, however, flying around that Peterson may be the next to leave the program. Forward Matt Gatens was one of the finalists for Big Ten freshman of the year and may be the best ball player on the roster. And then there are the scholarships that have opened up. Year three is usually make or break for a coach’s tenure at a school. Lickliter has work to do.