IOWA CITY — Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said his team will work on conditioning and individual skills development over the next five days before the team’s next game on Saturday at home against Drake.
But this also is finals week at Iowa (5-5), which means academics come first for his players.
“You try to go back and polish things up now that you have more time,” McCaffery said Monday morning. “When you don’t have a game for a week, you can really spend time in practice working on the things we think we haven’t done well and try to make them better and try to work with individual players to try to make them better. You also work on conditioning, but at the same time, realistically, this is finals week so we may have two or three players that need extra time.
“While we’ll need extra practice, pretty much every day — although we are off today — I have come to look at this as practices are essentially optional if in fact our players need to see a tutor or if they need to go to a review session or they might have one or two exams on that day. It might just be that time and I give it to them, and that’s how it should be.”
McCaffery said he’ll spend much of the week recruiting. He attended Saturday’s game between 2012 Iowa recruits Mike Gesell of South Sioux City, Neb., and Adam Woodbury of Sioux City East. McCaffery said he’ll hit the road Wednesday and try to squeeze in one more recruiting trip. He said his assistants all are out recruiting this week.
He also plans to evaluate the team during the finals break.
“I don’t see us making any lineup changes,” McCaffery said. “But at the same time, we’re going to get after it this week pretty good. We had a pretty tough stretch. I don’t think it’s that much different than anybody else. You’re playing in some type of tournament, which we did, you’re playing a lot of games.
“We had a lot of one and three-day preps, and I think that wore on us a little physically and sometimes you back off, so we backed off a little bit to go with game prep and keep our keep our key guys healthy. Of course Bryce (Cartwright) has not been healthy; (Andrew) Brommer was not healthy for a while. We’ve got some other guys that have been banged up.”
Cartwright, the team’s starting point guard, injured his hamstring against Brown on Dec. 3. He missed the Northern Iowa game and played only six minutes against Iowa State last week. Brommer, a center, sprained his knee before fall practice began and tweaked it in the second game.
Brommer has averaged nearly 14 minutes in the last five games. He plays with a knee brace.
“He appears to be physically where he needs to be,” McCaffery said. “All of that time off clearly affected his conditioning. A lot of his mistakes and a lot of his fouling, I think, come as a result of being fatigued.
“He was in great shape before he got hurt the first time. When he got hurt the second time, and then when he got hit in the head and all of that together with the conditioning really has impacted his ability to be as good as he’s capable of being. He’s been good. I’ve been very pleased with him, but I think you’ll see him continue to get better.”
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