IOWA CITY — Josh Oglesby wanted to make amends in the worst way for last season.
The Iowa junior worked the entire offseason on improving his conditioning and knocking down shots. He’s the team’s best pure perimeter shooter, something all of his teammates acknowledge.
But in practice Nov. 6, Oglesby, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, suffered a broken fifth metatarsal in his right foot. He had surgery two days later and all his work during the summer went with a snap.
“It was hard for me especially because I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since I’ve been in college, in my life,” Oglesby said. “I was finally being able to run up and down the court and not ask for subs. Running two-game and guarding two-game, that’s just when we run the baseline for our shooters.
“My freshman year I’d get exhausted doing that, but I could feel myself getting in way better shape. I felt like I was playing the best I was, and it kind of just sucked especially right before the season.”
Oglesby, a Cedar Rapids Washington graduate, spent five weeks unable to practice. He worked out in a pool or on a bike but didn’t run up and down the court. Then in a workout last week with assistant coach Kirk Speraw, Oglesby was able to do everything he wanted. Now with just slight pain in his foot, he believes he’s ready to compete for No. 23 Iowa (10-2) in next Sunday’s non-conference final against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
“The next game is what I’m looking forward to,” Oglesby said.
“Josh is working hard,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. “He’s getting closer. We have to be careful how hard we push him now and make sure he doesn’t have a setback. He’s progressing just like we would like for him to.”
Oglesby wants to atone for a rough sophomore year when he shot just 26.9 percent from 3-point range. He was in the right position to make shots and his delivery was fine, but often the ball just rimmed out. Most prominently was a 3-point attempt at the buzzer at Wisconsin, where his open shot appeared to go in but rattled out to force overtime.
So Oglesby worked on his quickness and stamina to find more openings. He wanted to make his delivery quicker, the way former teammate Matt Gatens did three years. Oglesby sought guidance from a sports psychologist to get past the shooting woes. He overcame a broken finger in the spring and appeared to make strides. That’s when he suffered his foot injury.
“I was looking forward to it because last season wasn’t good for me,” Oglesby said. “I was playing well in practice, and I played well overseas. It’s kind of a bummer, but that’s life.”
Oglesby has seven starts in 72 career games and averages 5.4 points. He initially considered red-shirting, which McCaffery said remains “a possibility” if there are setbacks in practice this week. But it appears likely Oglesby will play against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22 and then compete in the Big Ten.
It does present a challenge for the team, however. The Hawkeyes boast perhaps the nation’s deepest roster with 10 players averaging at least 14 minutes a game. How will moving Oglesby into the rotation change that?
“We’re obviously a deep team, and we’re playing so well together,” Oglesby. “I think my biggest role is to come in and make shots but also defend.”
“We’ll figure it out,” McCaffery said. “He’ll work his way in. We’ll need him. Eleven is a little bit harder than 10 when you’re trying to figure out playing time. But it’s a long, intense season, and he’ll figure in prominently.”
“He wants to play. We want him to play. He should be ready to play.”
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