IOWA CITY — The topic du jour around Carver-Hawkeye Arena this week concerns the health of Iowa senior point guard Bryce Cartwright.
Cartwright injured his hamstring nearly two weeks ago in a win against Brown. He didn’t play at Northern Iowa and played only six minutes in a loss to Iowa State. Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Thursday that Cartwright should play Saturday against Drake, but it’s undetermined if he will start or come off the bench.
“Bryce, I would expect to play and play well,” McCaffery said. “He had a good practice (Wednesday).”
Cartwright led the Big Ten in assists during league play last year but has slumped this year to 4.0 assists per game. He also has averaged only 6.0 points, ranking eighth on the team.
“Bryce Cartwright’s been our starting point guard, and he’s definitely a major contributor to our success and he’s a major part of our team,” Iowa sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe said. “So having him back would be excellent.
“I don’t think Bryce has been happy with his play. We’ve seen the best of Bryce. He definitely hasn’t even reached what he could do.”
Iowa signed five players for next year’s recruiting class. But the Hawkeyes also have one more available scholarship, and McCaffery is undecided as to whether he’ll use it.
“In my mind, it’s great to have,” he said. “You never know when you’re going to get that phone call right around Christmas and, ‘Hey, I’ve just gotten my release. I’m looking to leave.’ That’s usually from a person that we know and would it make sense? You get a phone call, there’s a guy available, there’s a ton of seniors that are still available, there’s some prep school kids, there’s some junior-college athletes out there. Would one of those guys make sense for us?
“The likelihood is that we’ll hold it and we’ll carry it to next year. We’ll go with these five and what we have back. But I haven’t said, ‘OK we’re opening the door, or we’re shutting the door completely.’ No, it’s there and we’re still looking and we’re still making calls and we’re still fielding calls. If we find the right fit, we’re going to pull the trigger.”
Iowa’s signed recruits include point guard Mike Gesell of South Sioux City, Neb., center Adam Woodbury of Sioux City East, swing guard Pat Ingram of Indianapolis, point guard Anthony Clemmons of East Lansing, Mich., and center-forward Kyle Meyer of Alpharetta, Ga.
©2011 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)