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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 19, 2017

Iowa players using Prime Time League to get comfortable being uncomfortable

Hawkeyes players trying to get out of comfort zone, push selves in setting designed for that purpose
By Jeremiah Davis, The Gazette | Jun 26, 2017

NORTH LIBERTY — If there’s a mandate for the Iowa men’s basketball players this summer in the Prime Time League and individual and team workouts, it appears it’s: get comfortable being uncomfortable.

That’s the nature of the offseason, after all. Players who seek to be better than they were try to grow their games in whatever gym they find themselves.

The North Liberty Rec Center is one where multiple Hawkeyes said Sunday they can get themselves out of their comfort zones in a way that can be applied later.

It’s not just big men tossing up 3-pointers if they don’t normally or guards backing down defenders into the post. It’s not change for the sake of change.

Big Ten defenders are going to force Iowa players into uncomfortable spots, so they have to be ready for that.

“I make myself uncomfortable when I work out; doing things I’m not accustomed to doing,” guard Maishe Dailey said. “I do that so I can be what I want to be. I push myself a lot (at PTL) because here, like before I came here, I worked out and tried new moves I saw Kobe (Bryant) do and tried to work on them out here. It’s mostly about (building) confidence.”

Dailey looked pretty comfortable Sunday with 18 points on 4 of 8 shooting and 2 of 4 from 3-point range, but that mantra applies directly to him, he said, because of his background.

As a 5-foot-11 guard in his freshman year of high school, Dailey was kind of limited to being a shooter because finishing around the rim was less than easy as a shorter player.

He said that gave him some habits he now has to break — ones he’s eager and willing to break with the possibility of an increased role on the wing this season after the departure of Peter Jok.

Becoming a three-dimensional player is the goal this summer because that’s how he’ll see the most of the floor and that’s how he believes he’ll best help the Hawkeyes.

“If you work on something so much in the gym; if you work on your craft so much, over time it should look easier and be easier,” Dailey said.

“I’m just trying to make myself into a more complete player, a dribble, pass and shoot player.”

Point guard Jordan Bohannon echoed his teammate, tossing out the same “get comfortable being uncomfortable” quote without knowing or being told Dailey said it as well.

Bohannon called it one of his favorite sayings in basketball — and he said assistant coaches Sherm Dillard and Andrew Francis toss out plenty of sayings to them in practice — because it’s a simple reminder to never settle.

For Bohannon, that has manifested itself in an increased focus on dribble penetration. He’ll never ignore his outside shot — Bohannon said he tries to get 500 makes in per day — but to be a complete point guard at this level, he said that part of his game has to be there.

Bohannon had 36 points, and while he was 6 of 9 from 3-point range, he also tried several ways of working the floater in the lane.

The dribble penetration was even more effective in sending him to the line, where Bohannon was 10 of 11, and that’s the easiest way for driving the lane to be productive for him.

“It starts with open gym and drills; whenever we’re going against each other in five-on-five, I try to guard Isaiah (Moss) to make him uncomfortable and things like that,” Bohannon said.

“I think we’ve taken it to heart and we’ve done that since Day 1 of workouts this summer.”

The other clear example of a player pushing himself was Ryan Kriener, who had 28 points on 10 of 20 shooting overall, but also was 3 of 8 from 3-point range.

Not that Kriener felt uncomfortable shooting, necessarily. Kriener is as confident in himself as any player Iowa has ever had, and said the renewed focus is just because he wasn’t asked to do it last year.

A setting like the PTL is the perfect place to get back into something or try something in live action, Kriener said.

“You’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable,” Kriener said.

“You’ve got to push yourself at all aspects. In a venue like this and setting like this, it’s always good to come out and push yourself and see what you can do.”

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