IOWA CITY — It was three years ago, but Ryan Kriener still has vivid memories of his first regular-season game in an Iowa basketball uniform.
He had missed the Hawkeyes’ preseason exhibition game with an ankle injury and he was wearing a special brace with high-top shoes in order to be able to play against Kennesaw State.
“There was no way I was missing my first collegiate game,’’ he said.
There is one other things he remembers.
“I was super, super nervous,’’ he said. “Super nervous, like disproportionately nervous. I didn’t want to do anything wrong. I didn’t want to mess up and stuff like that. It was good to see that first bucket go in and it was like 'I made it, I’m here.'’’
Kriener is now one of the team’s elder statesmen — Jordan Bohannon and graduate transfer Bakari Evelyn are the only other seniors — so he figures he might have a few words with current freshmen Patrick McCaffery, Joe Toussaint and CJ Fredrick prior to Friday’s season opener with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Just to make sure they aren’t overwhelmed by the emotion and the pressure of the situation.
“It’s something you want to soak in and remember for the rest of your life,’’ Kriener said. “You don’t want to go in too nervous.’’
His role with the Hawkeyes doesn’t figure to change too drastically this season. The 6-foot-10, 255 will provide a physical presence off the bench.
He has started only two of the previous 90 games in his career and that doesn’t figure to change, but Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said he thinks Kriener will provide good leadership for younger teammates.
“He's a cerebral guy on the court, which impacts a lot of things, most importantly the defensive end, with his communication,’’ McCaffery said. “He's telling people where to go, what to do.’’
Kriener said that other than winning every game, his goals for his final college season are fairly simple.
“I’d really like to say I led the team to the best of my abilities and that we accomplished a lot of our goals,’’ he said.
J-Bo’s workload: McCaffery said that Jordan Bohannon was likely to get a comparable amount of playing time Friday as he did in Monday’s 96-58 exhibition victory over Lindsey Wilson College.
Bohannon, who is easing back into things after off-season hip surgery, played slightly less than 15 minutes Monday.
“Might be a little bit more,’’ McCaffery said. “We'll see how he's doing that week, how he's doing that particular day.’’
He said he plans to continue to play Bohannon at both shooting guard and point guard even though Iowa appears to have a surplus at the point with Connor McCaffery, Toussaint and Evelyn.
“I feel very comfortable with him with the ball, and I think he needs to be utilized in both ways,’’ McCaffery added. “That makes him harder to guard."
Two more?: Iowa has four high school players verbally committed to sign letters of intent next week — Ahron Ulis, Tony Perkins, Keegan Murray and Kris Murray — but he said he would not be adverse to adding as many as two more recruits to the class.
Oskaloosa 7-footer Xavier Foster has narrowed his choices to Iowa and Iowa State and is scheduled to announce his decision Monday.
About SIU-E: McCaffery said he has been impressed with what he has seen on video of SIU-Edwardsville, which went 10-21 last season but it starting over under new coach Brian Barone.
“They've got some guys that can really play,’’ McCaffery said. “They have athletes. They defend. And I think he knows that this is the kind of schedule you need to play to get them ready to compete in the (Ohio Valley Conference).’’