Additions of Oglesby, Johnson & Dickerson Will Help Iowa and Penn StatePosted by Brendan Brody on December 31st, 2013
Iowa and Penn State both got better within the last couple of weeks, as each team welcomed back a player who had been out of the lineup. The Hawkeyes’ Josh Oglesby returned after missing about six weeks due to a foot injury. Meanwhile, in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions debuted Pitt transfer John Johnson and SMU transfer Jordan Dickerson. Both players had to sit out the first semester due to transfer rules. The additions of these players to both programs will help tremendously as B1G conference play tips off later today.
Oglesby had a memorable debut in an unremarkable game, hitting the first four three-pointers he took in Iowa’s last game, a blowout victory two Sundays ago against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. This was covered in a previous post on the microsite, but Oglesby simply makes a very deep team even deeper — Iowa has no worries of foul trouble becoming a concern because they can and will utilize 11 players. The Hawkeyes can already match up and play different lineup combinations depending on the opponent, but the return of the junior wing simply adds to their flexibility. The team can play big or small with an almost infinite amount of lineup combinations. The Hawkeyes are currently sixth in the league in three-point percentage at 36.4 percent, and although he won’t go 4-of-5 from deep every game, Oglesby’s shooting skill can push this number closer to 40 percent with enough playing time. If Fran McCaffery needs defense and speed, he can give Peter Jok more minutes; but if he wants to spread the floor in the half-court and get perimeter shooting, he can call Oglesby’s number. Oglesby looked like he was fully healed last Sunday, playing 20 minutes and not showing any real signs of rust from his injured foot. This Iowa team that is already off to an impressive 11-2 start just got quite a bit better.
Penn State has gotten off to an uneven start despite the stellar play of guards Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill. While Iowa gets 46.0 percent of its points from the bench, Penn State recieves only 17.6 percent from its reserves. Allen Roberts has had some nice moments, but he’s really the only player who had gotten significant minutes for the Nittany Lions until Sunday. Enter Pitt transfer Johnson, who led the team in scoring last weekend with 20 points in 22 minutes. He was known as a shooter at Pitt, so it was kind of surprising to see him getting into the lane whenever he wanted. He knocked down both of his threes, but most of his points came on drives to the basket. Dickerson, on the other hand, didn’t have nearly as big of an offensive impact, but he does offer the team more flexibility on defense. Any time a team can add a seven-footer to the worst team in the league in adjusted defensive efficiency, things would have to get better on that end of the court. Dickerson blocked a couple of shots in eight minutes in his debut, and he simply gives Pat Chambers more options should Donovon Jack or Brandon Taylor get into foul trouble. Penn State will be facing the Frank Kaminskys and Adreian Paynes of the Big Ten world very soon, and Dickerson’s presence gives them a better chance at defending those stars inside the lane. With the pieces they now have in place to build from a 9-4 non-conference record, the Nittany Lions can make a realistic push at a winning overall record and a postseason berth this season.