IOWA CITY — Ron Nove didn’t listen.
Prime Time League commissioner Randy Larson warned the five other coaches gathered for the league draft on Sunday night that drafting Aaron White or Devyn Marble was a risky move. The pair of Iowa stars will try out next weekend for the World University Games U.S. team, competing with some of the best college basketball players in the country.
If they make the team, they won’t play in the Prime Time League this summer.
But that didn’t stop Nove, who has coached the last three league champions, from taking White with the top pick in the draft.
“Every time I’ve seen Aaron this summer, he says, ‘You’re going to pick me in the draft, aren’t you?’ And I say, ‘Sure,’” Nove said. “I’ve had him two years in a row, and he makes your team better.
“Yeah, it’s a concern, but we’ll just have to see what happens. If he makes it, I’ll know I picked a good ballplayer.”
After Hawkeye sophomore point guard Mike Gesell went with the draft’s second pick, coach Kevin Sanders took another leap of faith, selecting Marble third overall. Sanders took Iowa shooter Josh Oglesby in the second round, saying he envisioned plenty of drive-and-dish 3-pointers between the two.
“I’m comfortable with the odds. That’s a risk I have to take,” Sanders said of picking Marble. “It’s going to benefit him either way. If he gets picked, he’s going to play with some of the better players in college basketball. If he plays in Prime Time, that’ll be a good opportunity for him, too. It’s a win-win.”
Larson, who paired Iowa forward Jared Uthoff with sophomore guard Anthony Clemmons on his own team, said he didn’t mind the coaches in his league taking risks with their top picks.
“I think there’s probably some sentiment, and I’ll speak for those coaches, that there’s a decent chance Marble and White won’t make it,” he said. “We all hope they make it. But if they don’t, you’ve got an awfully good player. If they do, you’ve still got nine other guys.”
Nove teamed White with Prime Time League veteran big man Kyle Schlaack, and solid Hawkeye defender Jared Stokes from Linn-Mar. Zach McCabe and Gabe Olaseni will team up, forming a potent inside-outside duo of big men.
But perhaps the most intriguing team to watch for Hawkeye basketball fans will be Doach Ray Swetalla’s. Swetalla picked 7-foot sophomore Adam Woodbury in the first round, and much-anticipated incoming freshman Peter Jok in the second.
Swetalla said summer leagues are usually dominated by scoring guards because they bring the ball up the court and there isn’t enough structure to get it into big men consistently. He said he’d make sure his team doesn’t follow that trend, allowing Woodbury to handle and pass the ball often from the post.
“Hopefully we can talk some guys into getting the ball to stick in Adam’s hands, and to play off him,” he said. “He’s a very good passer and teams are going to double him. We’ll try to build everything around him, and hopefully he can have some fun with it.”
That made Jok an appealing second-round pick. Swetalla hoped last season’s Iowa Mr. Basketball could get plenty of open shots playing with Woodbury.
“He can shoot the ball, and the pressure’s off him,” he said. “Just find a place to get open, use your instincts, and shoot the ball. He’s got to learn to play college basketball, being a role player. This’ll be good for him, because Adam is the guy and you’re the two, three, or four option. Not the first.”The Prime Time League will begin play Thursday at the North Liberty Community Center.