Iowa will return one starter from last year's team.
With four of the five players in the Hawkeyes' starting lineup already graduated, the only mystery was Peter Jok, a senior to be who decided to test the NBA Draft process. But he let it be known Friday that he will return to Iowa City for his senior season.
The new rules allowing underclassmen to declare for the draft without hiring an agent and work out with NBA teams appears to be quite beneficial, allowing those players to gather far more information about their pro prospects than before. Jok took advantage and decided to return to school with his eligibility intact.
"The entire experience has been beneficial to Peter in assessing where he stands heading into his final college season," head basketball coach Fran McCaffery said in the announcement. "He has learned a great deal in regard to this process, and his experience will prove valuable a year from now. We are excited that Peter will be a part of our team in the coming season, and we anticipate his senior leadership playing a key role for us."
"I’m excited to be returning for my senior season and leading our team," Jok said in the announcement. "This has been an invaluable learning experience for my career, and I appreciate all the support I have received from coach McCaffery and the entire staff."
Jok was one of the top 10 scorers in the Big Ten last season, averaging 16.1 points per game for a Hawkeyes team that for a while at least was one of the best in the conference. Iowa was blown out of the NCAA tournament by eventual national champion Villanova in the second round.
But the sour finish didn't dampen Jok's stellar season. In 27.7 minutes a game, he more than doubled his scoring average from his sophomore season. He also dramatically improved as a shooter, shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from 3-point range, one of the top 3-point shooters in the league. He also ranked among the league leaders in steals.
Both media and coaches named Jok a member of the All-Big Ten Second Team.
While Jok's return is huge for the Hawkeyes, they still will be pretty much starting over when it comes to building a reliable lineup. Jarrod Uthoff, Adam Woobury, Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons are the four departed starters, and the Iowa reserve unit didn't see much in the way of playing time last season. Nicholas Baer stood out as a freshman, but other than that, inexperience reigns. The Iowa roster right now only has eight names on it, though the Hawkeyes will welcome in a five-man recruiting class headlined by four-star forward Tyler Cook.