In my second installment of Iowa basketball recruiting profiles, it’s time to take a look at a player whom I truly believe could wind up being a future star for the Hawkeyes.
His name is Dominique Uhl.
As much as most coaches hate to use the word “potential”, that is precisely what makes this German native such an intriguing prospect for the Hawkeyes. Uhl has an abundance of physical traits that you simply cannot teach.
The 1st team All-Conference performer for Point Pleasant Beach High School in New Jersey fits the mold of the type of player Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has made a habit of bringing on campus in recent years.
At 6-8 and roughly 190lbs, Uhl is a similar kind of hybrid forward to current Hawkeyes Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff. When you take a look at the tape, it’s not difficult to see some of these similarities as well as the natural talent that oozes out of his game.
For a player his height Uhl moves exceptionally well up and down the floor both with and without the ball in his hands. It is hardly a struggle for him to grab a defensive rebound and proceed to go coast-to-coast to the other end and score himself. Hawkeye fans can likely draw some correlations to both White and Uthoff in this respect.
Besides his impressive mobility, Uhl is also a well above-average athlete who is capable of finishing plays above the rim with ease. When he leaves his feet it almost looks effortless at times in much the same way that he gracefully moves up and down the court. It isn’t shown a lot on the highlight films, but Uhl has the potential to be a very bothersome perimeter defender as well due to his lateral quickness and length.
To assume that athleticism is the only part of Uhl’s game would be a mistake though. He has a smooth and consistent shooting stroke with range beyond the three point line, and also shows the ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. Even without an imposing physical frame, his quick first step and body control allow him to maneuver his way around the offensive end of the floor.
In terms of weakness, Uhl does struggle at times to handle more physical opponents and intense ball pressure. Although he will definitely continue to mature and gain weight, his current slender frame can allow lesser opponents to take him out of his game. Uhl also had issues at the prep level guarding in the low post, but with the Hawkeyes likely looking to play him mostly at the 3 position that should be less of a problem in college.
Looking ahead to next season I think that Uhl is without a doubt the Hawkeye recruit whose impact can rank on the widest possible range of the spectrum, meaning he could be really really good or not even play.
The best case scenario is that Uhl’s game translates so beautifully to McCaffery’s system (which is very much possible) that he is able to carve out a niche in the rotation immediately. With his athleticism and skill set he could be an extremely valuable weapon coming off of the bench, both knocking down perimeter shots and thriving in transition as a part of Iowa’s up-and-down style of play.
Despite being a less regarded three star recruit, I wouldn’t be shocked to see him have a similar freshman season to that of Aaron White, who shocked the Big Ten three years ago on his way averaging 11.1 points and nearly 6 rebounds per game.
Worst case scenario (which still wouldn’t be terrible in the grand scheme of things), Uhl just isn’t physically ready to compete at the Division 1 level yet, and McCaffery decides that the Hawkeyes have enough depth to allow him to redshirt and continue working on his game and body. Even if that should happen, you’re still not going to discourage me from believing that this kid will eventually be something special in an Iowa uniform.
For fear of heaping too high of expectations on a relatively unknown recruit who has yet to even participate in a collegiate practice, much less a game, I’m going to predict that Uhl will fall somewhere in between the two scenarios mentioned above. While there will certainly be some nights that he struggles, especially in the physical Big Ten, he has enough natural ability to be a major X-factor when things are clicking.
Bolstering my confidence in this prediction is McCaffery, who seems nearly as bullish on Uhl’s ability and potential to contribute early as I am.
We’ll have to see, but I’m guessing that as next season progresses Hawkeye fans will become more and more enamored with this New Jersey prospect and German native.