IOWA CITY — Iowa’s Zach McCabe moved inside to center last year for the good of his basketball team. This year, he was moved back to forward for the same reason.
This time, it’s the right fit.
McCabe, a 6-foot-7 junior, started at power forward Friday in the Hawkeyes’ 86-55 win against Texas-Pan American. He drilled all four 3-point attempts and scored 14 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds.
“The thing with Zach, he can do it either way,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “He scores inside; he plays post, defense. He’s a terrific player.”
McCabe was out of position last year as a smaller center. He often got into foul trouble, committing a Big Ten-high 119. It was an easy move to forward with 7-foot-1 freshman Adam Woodbury manning the middle. Woodbury’s length and size opens up the perimeter for McCabe, who now has hit 14 of his last 18 shots at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I just think having a guy like Woody in there creates more options for us,” McCabe said. “Having a big guy in there makes a guy me and (Aaron) Whitey’s job easier on offense. (Woodbury’s) posting up so hard and guys are dialing in on it. We have open shots, and it’s all because he’s posting up and people are looking at him because of the type of post guy we have in there.”
McCabe likely will see time at center this season depending on the match-up.
“Wherever coach wants me, three or four or five,” McCabe said. “I know every position, I know what we need to do on offense, defense. Just playing that four opens up a little bit more pass-drive, getting other people open. Just playing wherever the coach needs me to play, and I’m willing to.”
Iowa will face a few familiar faces tonight against Central Michigan. Keno Davis, son of Iowa wins leader Tom Davis, debuts as Central Michigan’s coach. Davis formerly coached Drake and Providence before working last year for the BTN. Former Iowa starting guard Kevin Gamble is an assistant coach. Gamble was a starting guard on Iowa’s 1986-87 Elite Eight squad.
Another local connection, Central Michigan guard Austin Keel is the son of Cedar Rapids Washington hall-of-famer and all-state player Rick Keel (1978). Keel also held Kirkwood’s single-season points record for 25 years.
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