Tag Archives: Iowa Hawkeyes

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Xavier Tillman 6’8 245 PF/C-Michigan State

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Shed more than 20 pounds from his freshman season. Played both the PF and center positions in school. Excellent passer out of the short roll and in 4-on-3 offensive situations. Defensively, he can guard wings and big men in the post (vs. Luka Garza, Iowa ‘20). Improved year after year in minutes played, blocks per game, rebounds and points per game.  

Weaknesses: Will miss layups and dunks on occasion (Wisconsin ‘20). Scouts will question how well he can finish at the rim at the next level.  Undersized for the power forward and center position at the next level. Can he overcome his physical limitations? Shot just 27.3% from three- point range during his three-year career in East Lansing. Saw his free throw percentage dip from 73% in his sophomore season to 66% as a junior. 

Other Notes:

  • Attended Forest Hills Central High School for his freshman year and for his last three years attended Grand Rapids Christian High School
  • Mother, Tanya, was a four-year letterwinner in women’s basketball at the University of Michigan and finished her career as the school’s all-time leading rebounder
  • Named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2019
  • Michigan State’s all-time leader in blocked shots
  • 2017-2018 (35 games, 0 sts): 2.8 PPG, 65% FG, 66% FT, 2.6 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.7 BPG
  • 2018-2019 (39 games, 14 sts):  10 PPG, 60% FG, 73% FT, 7.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.7 BPG
  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 13.7 PPG, 55% FG, 67% FT, 10.3 RPG, 3 APG, 2.1 BPG
  • Career:  8.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 AST, 58% FG, 69% FT, 1.5 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): College basketball fans could see why former Spartan and current Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green allowed Xavier Tillman to wear his now retired number 23 Michigan State jersey.  Both players contain high basketball IQs and compete with intensity on both ends of the floor.

The maturity served the Grand Rapids native well, as he was usually tasked with quarterbacking the defense and handling the opposition’s toughest frontcourt player. Look for Tillman to be a contributor for a playoff team in the mid-to-late first round. His toughness and conditioning will remind hoops enthusiasts of Udonis Haslem and Tillman’s makeup would pair well in Miami under the leadership of Pat Riley. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Daniel Oturu 6’10 240 C- Minnesota

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Oturu projects best defensively as  a weak-side rim protector.  The Minnesota sophomore has the basketball IQ to know when to shade over from the weak-side to protect the rim (1st half, Arkansas State ’18). Oturu averaged 1.3 blocks per game in his freshman season and 2.5 blocks in his sophomore campaign. Offensively, he possesses a bag of moves that belies his age. The drop step over the right shoulder is his signature move (1st half, North Carolina A&T ’18). He also has a rip through move that he will use at the top of the key and a baseline spin that he can use at either side of the basket. Scouts will be intrigued by his raw shooting talent (37% from the three-point line). 

Weaknesses: Oturu struggled finding teammates out of the post and cashing in on assists (0.8 assists per game through his career). Worth noting, he wasn’t surrounded by sharpshooters. When forced to play against shorter, sturdier based opponents, Oturu has the tendency to lose his balance and shoot off-kilter (vs. Xavier Tillman, Michigan State ’19, 2nd Half). Scouts would like to see Oturu play more vertical and use his height rather than reach down and get into foul trouble. Can the Golden Gopher sophomore play against non-traditional centers like Nikola Jokic and Al Horford in space defensively?

Other Notes:

  • Attended Cretin-Derham Hall HS (Minn.) and helped the team win the Class 4A state championship during his senior season with a game- winning dunk against Apple Valley HS , which was led by fellow 2020 NBA Draft prospect, Tre Jones (Duke)
  • Was a consensus four-star prospect coming out of high school and received scholarship offers from Kansas and Baylor
  • Father,  Francis, who stands 5’5″, played table tennis for the Nigerian national team and moved the family to the United States to pursue his career in the sport
  • 2018-2019 (31 sts): 10.8 PPG, 7 RPG, 0.5 APG, 55% FG, 50% 3-PT, 61% FT
  • 2019-2020 (31 sts): 20.1 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.1 AST, 56% FG, 36% FG3, 70% FT
  • Career Stats: 15.2 PPG, 9 RPG, 0.8 APG, 55% FG, 37% 3-PT, 67% FT

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Oturu was overshadowed in the Big Ten by National Player of the Year candidate, Luka Garza from Iowa. Oturu’s drop step will remind Minnesota fans of former Golden Gopher, Kevin McHale. However, his lack of ability to pass from the post and play defense with his feet rather than his hands will concern scouts. His body frame is reminiscent of former NBA journeyman Nazr Mohammed, but Oturu possesses a more polished offensive game and has more “spring” off the floor. The sophomore big man will flourish in a system where he is surrounded by shooters and can use his myriad of moves on the low block and the pinch post. Look for Oturu to be selected in the Top 15 range of this year’s draft. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Tristan Wirfs: 2020 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 13th overall

The former high school state champion wrestler brings a similar temperament to the football field. Wirfs has started at both tackle spots and earned All-Big Ten honors for the Iowa Hawkeyes as a senior. He contains potential at a minimum of four different offensive line spots but should see time early in his career on the edges.

2019 SDCCU Holiday Bowl Photo Gallery

Iowa’s Ihmir Smith-Marsette took his second kickoff return of the season to the house and scored touchdowns three different ways in the team’s 49-24 victory over the USC Trojans in the 2019 SDCCU Holiday Bowl. Along with Holiday Bowl Defensive MVP A.J. Epenesa’s 2.5 quarterback sacks, the Hawkeyes went on a 21-0 run to end the contest.

The Hawkeyes used a 21-0 run to extend away from the USC Trojans 49-24 in the 2019 SDCCU Holiday Bowl.

Wisconsin vs. Iowa, 9-22-18: In-game report

Last Saturday’s Big Ten matchup featured two teams with common offensive ideologies, but a difference in execution decided the game in its final minutes.  Wisconsin defeated Iowa, 28-17, behind a fourth quarter 10-play, 88-yard drive in the waning moments.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

14 D’Cota Dixon 5’10, 198 Wisconsin S-Senior

Dixon is the veteran leader of the secondary for the Badgers. Wisconsin uses Dixon in a variety of ways and his performance doesn’t dip no matter the role.  Against Iowa, Dixon spent time as the eighth player in the box to help in run support, played as a single high safety and even contributed a forced fumble on the punt coverage team.  If that wasn’t enough, Dixon shadowed slot receivers and split tight ends in man-to-man coverage on a few occasions.  Dixon projects to be a middle round pick in the upcoming draft and what separates playing time for young players in the NFL is their ability to contribute in a variety of ways.  He checks off that category,  and look for him to continue his solid play across the board.

23 Jonathan Taylor 5’11 221 Wisconsin RB-Sophomore

There might not be a better marriage of offensive system and player in college football than Wisconsin and Jonathan Taylor. Taylor makes the Badgers downhill, grind it out possession-by-possession style work.  Week after week, quarter after quarter, Taylor imposes his will on opposing defenses and rarely seems tired.  Despite only being a sophomore, his technique stands out. The New Jersey native is patient with his pulling guards and rides their hip before exploding to the outside.  Taylor is able to keep his body fresh and save his legs because he is astute with his reads and never gives opposing defenders “a clean hit.”  Don’t let the fundamentals fool you, Taylor still has some open field make you miss ability in his game, and a good example was his side step of Iowa’s defensive tackle after the lineman went unblocked up the middle.  The Wisconsin running back runs with knees high and his shoulders low, leaving little for defenders to tackle.  Taylor finished with 113 yards on 25 carries.

Opposing speedsters

Iowa’s sophomore wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6’1, 175) and Wisconsin’s junior wide receiver A.J. Taylor (5’11, 203) play similar roles on different teams.  Both stretch the defense horizontally and vertically for their respective units and put the fear of the big play in the minds of opposing defensive coordinators, whose first priority is to stop the rushing attack.  Taylor is used on deep passes to the outside and he can be a problem in the slot running across the middle of the field.  Taylor caught the game-winning touchdown after he beat Iowa linebacker Jack Hockaday on a vertical route concept.  Smith-Marsette was used on an end around, where he picked up 20 yards on the ground.  In the pass game, Smith-Marsette is averaging 18 yards per catch and -as the numbers would indicate- he’s usually running routes for big plays.  If you ever watch Wisconsin and Iowa and wonder why teams don’t put eight or nine men in the box at all times, matchup nightmares like Taylor and Smith-Marsette may be the answers.

2018 Season Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

 Season outlook 

Scott Frost will attempt to complete his second redemption story in as many seasons.  Last year, Frost led UCF to a 13-0 record and a bowl game victory against Auburn following a 6-7 season in 2016.  The former Cornhuskers quarterback will guide a Nebraska squad which finished 4-8 in 2017.  The Cornhuskers aren’t as talented as they were in the eighties, but they do have a few skill position players to rely on in Frost’s spread offense. Junior running back Tre Bryant (5’11, 201) and senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. (6’1, 201) will be counted on to serve as gamechangers.  Bryant returns to the Cornhuskers after missing 10 games last season with a knee injury.  However, in just two games of action, Bryant totaled 299 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Oregon and Arkansas State.  Defensively, sophomore defensive lineman Ben Stille (6’5, 290) will be counted on to stuff the run and rush the passer after making an impact in his freshman season. Stille finished with 3.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in 2017. Frost doesn’t have the talent that he had last year at UCF and the Cornhuskers face a tough schedule, but the new head coach does have enough pieces to lay the foundation for the future. 

Troy’s player to watch

8 Stanley Morgan, Jr.  6’1 200 WR-Senior
Morgan, Jr. enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, posting 986 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.  The senior wide receiver recorded 259 yards against Penn State and Iowa, two of the best pass defenses in the Big Ten, to end the season.  Morgan, Jr. is able to make catches in traffic, reminiscent of Odell Beckham Jr., another New Orleans native.  He has the size and speed that will make him a candidate to go in the first three rounds of the draft after the season.

Game of the season

September 15 against Troy
The Troy Trojans are coming off an 11-2 season and a 7-1 conference record in the Sun Belt. Scott Frost will have to navigate an early non-conference slip-up against the Trojans, who will be prepared for FBS competition. In Week 1, Troy will play Boise State.  Don’t expect the Trojans to come into Lincoln wide-eyed, and this Week 3 matchup should provide a close contest for the Cornhuskers.

DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch

24 Aaron Williams 5’11 195 DB-Senior

Williams has shown an ability to come under control to make inside-out sideline tackles.  He has also shown requisite skill when it comes

Williams has notched five interceptions and one touchdown during his three-year stint in Lincoln.

to filling on as an eighth man in the box.  His overall thump as a tackler is just adequate and some of this has to do with average size.  For him to get looks from NFL scouts next spring, he has to improve in coverage.  Quicker wide receivers have given him problems in man-to-man coverage.

Prediction: 4-8

Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is projecting a tough season for Scott Frost in Year 1. The Cornhuskers may be improved on the field from last year but the schedule doesn’t do Nebraska any favors. Jefferson is predicting losses against Troy, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Minnesota, Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa.