There is nothing certain but the uncertain in college basketball. Unless someone figures out a way to “Biff” themselves into the past fully equipped with a Sports Almanac and some KenPom rankings, we’re going to get some things wrong. We make suggestions. We make arguments. We make picks. But nothing is 100 percent when it comes to the NCAA. Teams come out of nowhere to capture our basketball hearts (here’s to you, Villanova) and outgoing seniors and bright-eyed freshmen alike make some of the biggest differences for contending programs. Things ultimately get weird. It’s in that weirdness where we get a player like Dom Uhl, the Iowa Hawkeyes’ now starting four/five/positionless-high-ceiling-athlete heading into the 2016-17 season.
Uhl, a top reserve during the early part of last year’s schedule, slowly saw his role on last year’s 22-win team decrease as the season rolled along. Call it what you will, but Uhl got lost in the shuffle as Fran McCaffery turned to playing his senior starters more minutes during Big Ten play. As Uhl’s minutes dipped, so too did his confidence, consistency and any sort of urgency that came along with it. That’s not to say there weren’t flashes of the NBA-level athletic talent we’ve all heard about; because there were. It’s just that it came in-between large chunks of time when Uhl seemed like just another guy. When last year was all said and done, Uhl ended the season averaging six points per game on 41.6 percent shooting from the field (45% from three, on nearly two attempts per game) and 3.6 rebounds in 17.9 minutes. As a contributor who was learning how to play out of position for the majority of the year (Uhl was way more comfortable scrambling along the wing than subbing in for Adam Woodbury in the post), that stat line isn’t so bad. If you take into consideration that he had only played a few years of actual basketball before coming to Iowa, well, you can see why fans are hoping Uhl can make a considerable leap heading into his junior season.