How do you replace an All-Big Ten point guard? Two seasons ago, Dean Oliver did just that, succeeding Andre Woolridge at the point for Iowa and setting a Hawkeyes record for assists (131) as a freshman.
As a sophomore least season, Oliver again started all but one contest in leading the Hawkeyes to the NCAA Sweet 16. While he dished about the same number of assists (36), his scoring average went up, which included a 17-point effort in a second-round NCAA upset of Arkansas.
The man who recruited Oliver, coach Tom Davis, is gone. But his replacement, Steve Alford, is a former Big Ten guard himself, and will be counting on Oliver's leadership as he builds up a young team around him. Even Oliver's partner in the backcourt will be a youngster, sophomore Kyle Galloway, who steps in for the departed Kent McCausland.
Oliver's skills will be put to the test early. The Hawkeyes open their season Nov. 11 in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic against defending national champion Connecticut and point guard Khalid El-Amin.