Four Takeaways From UNI’s Ben Jacobson on MVC Coaches’ Call
Last week, the Missouri Valley Conference hosted a Zoom press conference, making all of their head men's basketball coaches available to the media.
One of those coaches is UNI's head man, Ben Jacobson.
He faces quite a few questions going into this offseason with several key players leaving the program -- AJ Green to the Milwaukee Bucks, Antwan Kimmons and Noah Carter to the transfer portal, and Tywhon Pickford and Trae Berhow to graduation.
"How will you fill the void left by five key players in your rotation?"
"Where's Austin Phyfe's health at?"
"Can we expect anything from the incoming freshmen? How about last year's freshman who redshirted?"
"Who from last year's team will step up?"
Those questions and more were answered by Coach Jake, and here are some key takeaways from the call:
Austin Phyfe is Key (To no one's surprise)
Coach Jake emphasized the importance of Phyfe's presence several times during the conference call, along with his decision to return and use his COVID year of eligibility. Here's a snippet of what Jacobson said of the Waverly native:
The daily example he sets for our program is so impactful. ... Austin is the one with the most experience, but his approach on a daily basis and his outlook -- he brings a great energy and perspective ... Him getting healthy and part of the team will be huge for our team.
Jake also pointed to the fact that Phyfe is one of the few known commodities going into a season with a young roster. He named two other players that he and the UNI staff know they can count on in 2022-2023:
Trey Campbell is Impressing
In an offseason where no earth-shattering moves were made via the transfer portal and Harry Schroeder from Busting Brackets ranked the Panthers 2022 class as the worst in the Missouri Valley Conference, incoming true freshman Trey Campbell has stood out and gained the attention of Jake and Co. during summer workouts.
This is part of what Jacobson said of the Cedar Falls native and one of two scholarship players joining the program this offseason:
Trey's really good with the basketball in his hands. He's got great feet, great hands. His vision is really good. Timing -- in terms of finding guys and helping guys play better -- is really, really good. Trey is doing very well.
Last season, Campbell led the Cedar Falls Tigers in scoring (24.4), assists (4.2), and steals (2.2) per game. He was also second in rebounds (6) per game behind Cade Courbat, who is 6'8. Campbell stands at 6'3.
Campbell is joined by Ege Peksari from Turkey, Hunter Jacobson from Cedar Falls, and Charlie Miller from Lumberton, North Carolina in the 2022 UNI recruiting class. Peksari, who is currently playing for the Turkish Under-20 National Team in the European Championships, will immediately be put on scholarship.
Landon Wolf Could Fill the Scoring Void
Last year, all three of the players from the 2021 recruiting class -- Landon Wolf and Chase Courbat of Cedar Falls and Michael Duax from Dubuque Hempstead -- used their redshirt season.
Duax and Wolf are expected to contribute this year, but this quote from UNI's head man on Wolf will get Panther fans excited:
He's a guy we see as a scorer. He can really shoot it. He's got a scorer's mentality and he's got a good enough size at 6'5. ... He had some practices last year where we all kind of looked around like 'Wow.'
Jacobson added this of Duax:
He's a really good catch-and-shooter and straight-line driver. He's got a high activity level. He defends hard and rebounds on both ends.
Is Tytan Anderson Going to Make 'The Leap'?
Anderson has been a fan favorite since he first earned minutes as a Panther. His motor, physicality, and ability to come off the bench and provide a much-needed spark have drawn a bevy of admirers his way.
Exhibit A, and maybe my favorite play from him last season:
This is what Coach Jake had to say of Anderson:
(He has) a ton of versatility. He plays his tail off. He's 6'6. He's been highly productive when he's played for us. With Trae and Tywhon coming back Tytan didn't play as much last year. But he's a guy we feel great about. ... He's a guy that's going to move in and he's going to play a lot.