Iowa basketball notebook: C.J. Fredrick looking for expanded role

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C.J. Fredrick addresses the media on Thursday.

By Tyler Devine

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Attrition and injuries have hit the Iowa basketball team pretty hard this offseason.

Senior guard Jordan Bohannon is likely to miss all of the 2019-20 season due to injury, Tyler Cook is chasing his NBA dreams and Isaiah Moss and Maishe Dailey transferred to Kansas and Akron, respectively.

In steps redshirt freshman C.J. Fredrick.

While it will be difficult to match Bohannon's production, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Fredrick is hopeful that he can help to fill the void.

“I think I’m going to have a pretty big role with this team, but I’m not looking at it like that,” Fredrick said. “I’m just looking at it as it is. I’m trying to help us do whatever we can to win. We have a lot of pieces, we have a lot of guys so whatever they need me to do I’m going to do.”

Coming off of a redshirt season, Fredrick, a native of Cincinnati, Ky., feels like taking a year to get bigger and improve his skills was worth it, however strange and difficult it may have felt.

“It was tough,” Fredrick said. “I’ve been playing basketball my whole life so to take a whole year off was definitely tough mentally. But talking to my family and people that care about me it was the best decision for me personally that I could have made.

“So just being positive and knowing that the end result was going to be better for me kind of helped me through it.”

Kriener’s Eurotrip: Senior forward Ryan Kriener has had a different offseason than the rest of his teammates.

The 6-foot-9, 255-pound Kriener represented Iowa on the USA East Coast basketball team from June 9-16 playing against the Greek National Team as well as professional club teams from Greece and the Phillipines.

“I learned a lot more about the European game, just the differences between the European game and the American game,” Kriener said “I got a feel for it the last time we went over there with the team but going over there with a different group of guys in a different country that just play just a little different (this time). It was a lot more fast paced, the ball doesn’t really stick over there.”

The experience was great for the Spirit Lake, Iowa native, but it didn’t come without its difficulties thanks in large part to the language barrier.

“The first time we went over there (in 2017) almost everything was in English,” Kriener said. “I don’t know why, I guess just in central Europe there’s a lot of English. But in Greece, everything was in Greek. If you found a few English letters you were feeling good. You couldn’t find anyone to speak English to. If you did, they didn’t speak a whole lot, they just spoke the basics like ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘I don’t speak English’.”

This was the seventh year that a Hawkeye player traveled overseas with the USA East Coast basketball team. In 2011, Matt Gatens and Bryce Cartwrighttraveled overseas; Zach McCabe went in 2012; Jarrod Uthoff was on the roster in 2013; Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury competed in 2014; Dom Uhl was on the squad in 2015, while Nicholas Baer competed in 2016.

Pemsl feeling good: Cordell Pemsl’s junior season was put on hold last December after playing in his second and final game of the season against Iowa State.

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Pemsl had surgery to remove hardware from his knee that was from a previous surgery when he was in high school.

Pemsl now has a clean bill of health, but he was working his way back onto the court long before he was physically cleared to play basketball.

“I had to get back in shape a little bit,” Pemsl said. “But the basketball stuff, I was trying as much as possible to keep a ball in my hands even when I wasn’t playing. I was always working, I was always working out and shooting even when I wasn’t doing live stuff. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t losing a step or anything like that but, yeah, I feel good right now.”

Pemsl said that he was hopeful he wasn’t going to have to shut his season down after the Iowa State game last year, but it was worth it in the end.

“I think (having the surgery) was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Pemsl said.

Taylor back in Iowa: Billy Taylor spoke with the media for the first time since being hired as an assistant by head coach Fran McCaffery in May.

This is the third time Taylor has worked under McCaffery and his second stint at Iowa.

Taylor was McCaffery’s top assistant at UNC-Greensboro from 1999-02 and served as Iowa’s director of basketball operations from 2014-2016.

The two also were assistant coaches together at Notre Dame during the 1998-99 season

I’ve haven’t successfully said no to (McCaffery) yet so that just tells you what kind of recruiter he is,” Taylor said. “In this business, in college coaching, you want to be around the right kind of people. Whether it’s administratively, coaching-wise, student-athletes, it’s all about who you’re around, who you surround yourself with and being around someone like Fran McCaffery is just fantastic.”

McCaffery and Taylor are so close, in fact, that Taylor is the godfather to McCaffery’s son Patrick McCaffery, who is a freshman on the team.

“I’ve known Fran and his family for so many years, and obviously are families are very close and he’s just a terrific individual,” Taylor said. “I’m excited to be back here with them and have an opportunity to help the Hawkeyes and serve and hopefully really help our program continue to take steps like we have been since he’s been here.”