IOWA CITY — Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery has no plans to red-shirt incoming freshman Peter Jok this fall. Actually, McCaffery expects Jok to compete for playing time right away.
“With Peter, we looked at a lot of different players,” McCaffery said. “We just kept coming back to him as a guy that we think as a ball handler, as a passer, as a shooter, as a multiple-position player, fits our style of play and we’re thrilled with him.”
Jok is a 6-foot-6 wing slated to fit at both off-guard and small forward next year. He’ll compete with Mike Gesell, Josh Oglesby, Aaron White, Jarrod Uthoff and Zach McCabe for playing time.
Jok led Class 4A in scoring average with a 23.6 points a game at West Des Moines Valley, which was ousted in a Class 4A substate final. Perhaps most important for Iowa, Jok was consistent from 3-point range (42 percent) and the free-throw line (92.6 percent), knocking down 126 of 136 attempts.
“I think he’ll bring in a variety of skills,” said Iowa assistant coach Kirk Speraw, who actively recruited Jok. “He handles it, passes it well. He’s very unselfish, he’ll move the ball, he certainly can shoot it and shoot it from deep, which is something that we need. I think he can be a very good defender as well. I think he brings the total package.
“But he’s got to make the transition as everybody does from high school to the collegiate level, not only the Division I level but to the Big Ten level. That will be an adjustment for him, and it will take some time.”
Jok also has just one healthy season to show off his abilities. He suffered a torn patella tendon in his left knee as a freshman and spent two seasons playing through the pain. After his sophomore year he opted for surgery and struggled as a junior, averaging 10.2 points a game.
This year he blossomed and was a first-team all-state performer.
“I think it was an important year for Pete this year to get back to being healthy and getting some of his confidence back and his game and himself,” Speraw said. “I think he’s a great young man, first off, and fits very well with our team. He already feels a part of everything just on a few visits that he’s been up to Iowa City, and he’s a great teammates for the guys.”
Jok also will get a chance to develop camaraderie with the Hawkeyes earlier than in previous years. This is the second summer that college basketball players can receive two hours a week of one-on-one coaching. Plus, an NCAA rules change will allow Jok to travel and compete with the team on its overseas trip to England and France in August.
“With the ability now to work out in the summers, I think he’ll have a leg up,” Speraw said.
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