Nov. 4, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- ESPN men's college basketball analyst Dan Dakich says the University of Iowa has the potential to be a top 10 team if junior Aaron White is ready to take them there.
"Aaron White is a big factor," said Dakich. "He is a player that can run, jump, guard different positions, score, and has a good sense. His development as an all-league player would put Iowa at a different level.
"If he is a good player, Iowa can be good. His development as an all-league-type guy would put Iowa among the top-10 teams in the country."
White is coming off a summer where he was a member of Team USA, competing at the 2013 World University Games. As a sophomore, he averaged 12.8 points and 6.2 rebounds en route to third team All-Big Ten honors. He has started the last 52 games dating back to his freshman season.
"When you have that kind of experience combined with that kind of ability, you have to become an all-league player," said Dakich. "If he does, this is a top-10 team."
"Aaron White is a big factor. He is a player that can run, jump, guard different positions, score, and has a good sense. His development as an all-league player would put Iowa at a different level. If he is a good player, Iowa can be good. His development as an all-league-type guy would put Iowa among the top-10 teams in the country."
Dan Dakich, ESPN college basketball analyst
Dakich says the Hawkeyes will be dangerous in March because UI head coach Fran McCaffery's teams improve as the season goes on.
"Sometimes, the more I watch teams, the worse they get," said Dakich. "With Iowa, the more I watch, the better they are. By the end of the year (in 2012-13), they were playing as good as anybody, and they improved as much as anybody."
Dakich likes the Hawkeyes because of the depth up-and-down the roster. McCaffery is expected to use an 11-man rotation this season.
"They have depth at all spots," said Dakich. "When you look at Mike Gesell or Anthony Clemmons, and see what Roy Devyn Marble was able to do at the end of the year, and up front, Gabriel Olaseni and Melsahn Basabe.
"I have been a Melsahn Basabe fan since his freshman year. I know he slumped as a sophomore and was better as a junior, but he has a chance to be special because of the variety of things he can do athletically."
Basabe was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2011 after averaging 11 points and 6.8 rebounds. The forward averaged 8.2/4.8 as a sophomore and 6.9/5.1 as a junior.
With the Hawkeyes entering the season projected as an NCAA Tournament team and a sleeper in the Big Ten Conference, Dakich is interested to see how the Hawkeyes handle the hype.
"In Iowa City, everyone knows who you are and you have the opportunity to screw up," he said. "Screwing up can be internal when you start believing in people other than your coach, start believing in people telling you how great you are instead of going to work.
"The thing I am eager to see early, not necessarily if they're winning, but how they're playing. You can win games in the nonconference, but it's going to get exposed in the Big Ten. I want to see who the kids are listening too."
Dakich says if Iowa is able to stay focused and continue to improve, anything is possible.
"If everybody does what they were supposed, you have to believe they're going to have a heck of a year," he said.
The Hawkeyes open the regular season Friday, hosting UNC-Wilmington beginning at 8:30 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.