Founded by Randy Larson, The Prime Time League is a summer basketball league for current/former collegiate athletes and rising stars in the state of Iowa. This year will be league’s 27th installment and the first event of the season will take place over the upcoming weekend in North Liberty, Iowa. The league draft will be held on June 16 and many Iowa Basketball players are worthy of the top overall selection. There are several factors that’ll determine whose selected number one on June 16. Here are the potential candidates.
There’s no doubt he is the best player on the Hawkeye roster. Marble was Iowa’s leading scorer last season, averaging 15 points per game. He fueled their run to the NIT Final, establishing himself as one of college basketball’s up and coming talents. Many presume that Marble is a lock to be chosen at number one, but not so fast. Marble will try out for a number of select All-Star leagues this summer, including the University World Games squad, putting his Prime Time League participation in jeopardy. The future Hawkeye senior will be the most talented player in the player pool if he decides to participate. He’s the very versatile, highly skilled, and an accomplished athlete. However, it’s doubtful that he’ll be playing in North Liberty this summer.
Basketball has become a point-guard driven sport, and Gesell is the best floor general left if Marble decides to take his talents elsewhere this summer. Gesell was the second overall pick in last year’s draft. He performed fairly well for his first season on campus: he was the first Hawkeye freshman to record more than 295 points, 85 assists, and 85 rebounds in a single season. The Sioux City, NE native improved as a leader and a player during his first year in Iowa City. Gesell is a gutsy competitor who would be a welcome addition to any of the six Prime Time League rosters.
Uthoff was the first overall pick in the 2012 Prime Time League draft. Uhtoff might be the best player you’ve never heard of on Iowa’s roster. Coming out of high school, the 6-8’ stretch forward drew comparisons to Gordon Hayward, not bad company to be in. The third year forward will finally be eligible to compete next season after sitting out the past two seasons because of NCAA restrictions regarding redshirts and transfers. With that being said, Uhtoff should be more determined than ever to earn playing time on Fran McCaffery’s loaded roster. The former Wisconsin Badger is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He’s capable of consistently hitting perimeter jumpers, driving to the basket, and making plays for his teammates. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Uhtoff was taken number one for the second consecutive year.
Woodbury’s freshman season was filled with more downs than ups, but that was to be expected. He averaged 4.9 points and 4.8 rebounds while receiving approximately 16 minutes per game. It takes more time for big men to adjust to the collegiate level. There were instances where Woodbury looked outmatched last year playing down low. He should spend plenty of time in the weight room this offseason in order to get his body ready for conference play next year. Otherwise, the seven-foot lefty already has a quality offensive skillset, which is why he’s on this list instead of Gabe Olaseni. Skilled big men are hard to come by so many Prime Time teams will have Woodbury on their radar. The big fella has a chance to dominate this summer if he shows more heart, hustle, and muscle. Either way the Prime Time League should aid Woodbury’s growth and development heading into his sophomore season, which is good news for the Black and Gold.
White’s situation is similar to Marble’s. He’s definitely capable and worthy of being the first overall selection for the Prime Time League’s 2013 edition. The problem is he’ll miss time trying out for the University World Games basketball team with Marble. White isn’t likely to get selected for the team since he’s listed at center – an unnatural position – on the training camp roster. The sophomore’s ability to stretch the floor is similar to Uhtoff’s, making him a dangerous offensive threat. He’s a smooth athlete who always seems to be in the right place at the right time on the court. He was the Hawkeyes top rebounder, second leading scorer, and got selected to the third team All-Big Ten. Additionally, White is the Hawkeyes best finisher in the open court. Keep an eye out for highlight reel dunks if he plays in the Prime Time League this year.
All these players are deserving of the Prime Time League’s first overall pick. Most, if not all, will be first round selections on June 16. But in the end, it seems as if Uhtoff will more than likely be picked number one for the second straight year. This is due to the fact that Marble and White will be missing in action for parts of the summer while Gesell and Woodbury aren’t quite as good as Iowa’s 2011 Mr. Basketball.