By Don Lund
Prime Time basketball is back for its 28th year with the added bonus of University of Northern Iowa (UNI) players on each team.
Former West High Trojans Jeremy Morgan, who played and started for the Panthers last year, and Wyatt Lohaus, who helped lead West High to a state championship last season, play on separate teams this summer.
Jeremy played in all 31 games last year for UNI with 10 starts.
Jeremy was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team after averaging 6 points per game last year.
In high school, Jeremy was the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2013. He helped lead West High to back-to-back state championships.
The Trojans were 26-0 in Jeremy’s junior and senior seasons.
It’s too bad Iowa had only one scholarship to give when Jeremy was a senior.
Fran McCaffery chose Peter Jok and I don’t think that was a bad choice. The way Peter finished the season could be a springboard for this coming year.
I talked to Michael Morgan, Jeremy’s dad, who played with Roy Marble and B.J. Armstrong for Iowa, and he said it’s “water under the bridge” that Jeremy didn’t go to Iowa.
Michael said Jeremy is happy at UNI and I would think most Panther fans are, too.
I was a little surprised Jeremy did so well so early at UNI, but Randy Larson, who runs the Prime Time League and has followed Jeremy throughout his career, wasn’t.
“I wasn’t surprised because I think Jeremy is a high division one player,” said Larson. “Also, he was well schooled in defense from coach Bergman and so less of an adjustment from coach Jacobson. He fits well in UNI’s system.”
Wyatt Lohaus followed Jeremy to Cedar Falls after helping West High to its third straight championship.
“I think Wyatt has the potential to be their best player after Seth Tuttle,” said Larson. “He has tremendous talent and is truly a high division one player. He also comes in ready defensively like Jeremy. I think his natural position is shooting guard.”
Wyatt showed his quickness in Prime Time and can get a shot off anytime.
“I’m really looking forward to playing with Jeremy again,” said Lohaus. “I’ve known him since I was little because out parents (Brad and Michael) have been friends. I really enjoy playing with him because he’s such a great player and such an unselfish player, so I think it will be a lot of fun.”
West High lost three games in three years and won three straight state titles in Wyatt’s three seasons as a Trojan.
“It was incredible,” said Lohaus. “Knowing all the hard work paid off and just being on the ride with the teammates and coaches was probably the most enjoyable thing.”
The only new Hawkeye playing so far is Dominique Uhl. At 6-8 he looks very athletic and can handle the ball.
“I think he can play the three,” said Larson. “He’s very athletic, he brings that skill set, he can drive he ball, he’s got a mid-range game and he finishes well. Perfect fit for Iowa... he can be competitive, but he’s not expected to do a lot.”
Aaron White goes into his senior season as one of the leaders on the team.
Aaron is the first Hawkeye ever to register 1,300-plus points, 650-plus rebounds, 100-plus steals and 100-plus assists by his junior season.
“I sat down with coach Fran and it’s kind of my team,” said White. “I have to lead by example. Obviously, we have a lot of experienced guys. Every senior here has had a pretty good year and we’d like to go out on top. I want to keep that streak alive and enjoy my last year.”
Aaron is moving to the four spot, which should help his game.
“I think it will,” said White. “Since we had Melsahn and Zach I could play the three. Now we’re not as heavy at the four. I played the four as a freshman and did pretty well.”
Aaron played in every game as a freshman, starting 14. He was named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team and averaged 11.1 points per game.
Aaron has watched incoming freshman Dominique Uhl play and likes what he sees.
“I’m very impressed,” said White. “He’s very fluid for his size. He’s a good ball handler for his size and is very quick. He brings a piece we didn’t have because of his size and how he can get to the lane and distribute.”
Gabe Olaseni played in all 33 games last year.
He led the Hawkeyes in offensive rebounds (2.5) which was second in the Big Ten.
Iowa’s victories at Ohio State, when they were ranked third in the nation and the home win over Michigan when they were ranked 10th were big for the Hawks.
“Those two victories definitely stand out when we look back at the season,” said Olaseni. “Hopefully next year we can build on those things.”
Gabe had 36 blocked shots as a sophomore, the third most ever for a sophomore.
He credits Adam Woodbury in helping him develop by going up against him every day in practice.
“It helps me a lot going up against Adam, who is a seven footer,” said Olaseni. “It prepares me for the big guys in the Big Ten.”
Josh Oglesby was having a great fall camp before breaking a bone in his foot.
The 6-5 shooting guard from Cedar Rapids played in 21 games and was named the team’s Most Improved Player.
“It was kind of weird at first having the foot injury and playing,” said Oglesby. “I have to give credit to the doctors who did my surgery, how well they did it because I bounced back so well off of it. It didn’t bug me that much when I started to go.”
Josh shot 37 percent from 3-point range as a freshman, 27 percent as a sophomore and 40 percent last season.
“When I first came in I was known as a shooter,” said Oglesby, who averaged a career-high 19.5 minutes per game last year. “I think once I came to college and realized what basketball was all about, you’re not going to play if you’re just a shooter. You have to defend on the other end and you have to make that extra pass. You have to shoot the shot when you’re open because coach McCaffery yells at me when I turn down shots.”
It will be interesting to see if the Hawkeyes can use the slump at the end of the season to avoid the same thing happening this year.
The talent is there as well as the coaching, so we’ll see if the Hawkeyes can learn from last season’s crash.