With Jordan Bohannon now out of eligibility after spending six years in Iowa City and Joe Toussaint leaving the Iowa program for the transfer portal, there are plenty of questions surrounding the Iowa basketball program at point guard for 2022-23.
The answer might be on the roster already, but if not, there’s a good chance the answer currently wears the maroon-and-white of Moline High School in Illinois.
Brock Harding announced his commitment to Iowa over the summer, and he’ll make the short trip across Interstate 80 from the Quad Cities to Iowa City in 2023. For now, he’s got one final season of high school basketball for Moline, which went 28-5 a season ago.
While Harding likely has his focus on winning the Western Big 6 and making a run at the Illinois state championship, Iowa fans are no doubt wondering how he’ll do once he joins Fran McCaffery’s squad. Here’s what he might bring to Iowa basketball once he arrives!
He’s Got a Shooter’s Touch
If you follow Iowa basketball closely, you know that the Hawkeyes play fast, put up a lot of shots, and don’t really rely on their point guard as an assist producer. Everyone is expected to be able to score and create offense, and everyone McCaffery puts on the floor is capable of doing exactly that against Big Ten defenses.
Harding fits that mold well. He can create shots for teammates, but he will often look for his own shot too. Last season for the Maroons, he averaged 19.3 points per game, and if all goes well for him this year, he’ll have a realistic chance to become Moline’s all-time leading scorer.
More impressive is that he does this without forcing the 3-point shot. Harding hit just 37 3-pointers, which meant that more than 80 percent of his points came from inside the arc or at the free throw line. That’s the sign of a player who knows how to find high-percentage looks and make them count. In Iowa’s offense, that’s important.
— brock harding (@hardingbrock2) June 23, 2022
He’s Got Quick Hands and Plays Great Defense
When you average almost three steals per game, you’re doing something right on defense. Harding is known as a hard worker on offense, as he puts up between 500 and 600 shots a day before school, and he works just as hard without the ball.
At an even six feet, he’s not particularly tall, but he does have the quickness needed to stay with opponents and uses his hands well.
Defense isn’t what Iowa’s known for, but the Big Ten is full of teams that force you to grind out wins, such as Penn State, Rutgers, Purdue and Wisconsin. Having players who can force turnovers makes a difference.
— brock harding (@hardingbrock2) June 20, 2022
He’s Got a Connection With a Fellow Recruit
Iowa fans will be able to get a glimpse of the future in action at Moline games this season because Harding will spend this year playing with Owen Freeman, who has also committed to joining Iowa in 2023.
This will mark the first year the two have played together in high school, as Freeman transferred to Moline from Bradley-Bourbonnais, but they’ve been AAU teammates for years and are close off the court.
“Brock is like a brother to me,” Freeman told the Quad City Times. “We started off AAU teammates and now high school teammates, and then now we’re going to bring that dual connection to Iowa City. And it just means a lot to me to have him by my side through all of this. We will be able to be there for one another if we need it.”
There’s of course no guarantee that Harding and Freeman will be on the court together in Iowa City, but having two players on the same page from Day 1 can help team chemistry. If they can build that connection with their future Hawkeye teammates, Iowa’s attack should be tough to stop.
— NY2LASPORTS.TV (@NY2LASPORTSTV) July 27, 2022
How Much Will Harding Play in 2023?
With no one player having a lock on the point guard spot in 2022, there’s a wide range of potential playing time outcomes for Harding when he arrives in Iowa City.
McCaffery isn’t likely to hand him the ball on Day 1 the way Mike Krzyzewski did with Bobby Hurley at Duke in the 1980s, but Harding will likely have an opportunity to contribute right away unless Ahron Ulis, Tony Perkins or Dasonte Bowen can lock down the position.
Ulis and Perkins will be seniors when Harding is a freshman, so he’ll likely spend his first season coming off the bench and learning how to be a college point guard.
As a three-star prospect, he’s likely to spend four years in Iowa City unless he hits the transfer portal, so the Hawkeyes will likely bring him along slowly. 2024, Harding’s sophomore season, should be when his breakout season comes.
— Sean Bock (@SBock247) June 25, 2022
Credits on Featured Image: Phil Roeder on Flickr