Iowa Hopes It Got a Steal in Signing Peter JokPosted by KTrahan on November 15th, 2012
Iowa is expecting junior guard Devyn Marble to shoulder the load this season, but Wednesday afternoon the Hawkeyes signed the guy they hope can replace him. Three-star small forward Peter Jok was the lone player to sign with the Hawkeyes on signing day, and will join Wisconsin transfer Jarrod Uthoff as one of two new Hawkeyes joining the team next season.
Jok’s path to becoming a Hawkeye, which was described by Rick Brown in a terrific piece in the Des Moines Register, was anything but typical. He was born in Sudan, lost his father when he was three, and moved to Des Moines with his mother when he was nine. He was initially a soccer player, but eventually gave basketball a try. After all, Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng is his cousin and NBA legend Manute Bol is his uncle. Jok quickly rose to national prominence through the AAU ranks, specifically after playing against the Chicago schools, and ranked in the top 10 nationally as a high school freshman. However, a tear of his patella tendon dropped his recruiting stock, and he lost a step in his game. Now, he’s back to full speed, but he’s still flying under the radar, choosing Iowa over Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas State and Drake.
There are still concerns about whether Jok can turn into the incredible talent that many top programs projected him as during his freshman year. However, Jok thinks he’s back to normal, and Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery agrees. “When he got healthy, we saw the real Peter Jok,” McCaffery said. If his future head coach is right, then Iowa will have gotten a steal. This recruiting class won’t be nearly as vaunted as last year’s class, which brought in four-star players and current freshman starters Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury. However, it adds yet another weapon to a program that seems to be getting stronger and stronger.
Iowa loses just one player — guard Eric May — next year, retaining stars Devyn Marble and Aaron White in addition to Melsahn Basabe, Zach McCabe, Anthony Clemmons, Woodbury and Gesell. Add Jok and Jarrod Uthoff into that group, and that’s a very talented, deep team that Iowa will put on the court in 2013-14. By the next season, McCaffery hopes Jok can play the role of Marble, who is one of the best Iowa players of the past few years. Those are some big shoes to fill, but talent has never been a question with Jok. If Iowa got “the real Peter Jok,” then he should fill those shoes just fine, and he may make some major programs wish they hadn’t backed off.