We look at Iowa wing Peter Jok
Peter Jok – full name – Kacoul Dut “Peter” Jok is a 6’6” Sudanese Senior shooting guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Last year he entered his name into the NBA Draft, evaluated his stock and eventually withdrew. This year he is truly the leader of his team and by the end of the regular season has gotten them to the edge of the NCAA tournament pool.
He is one of only two seniors on the squad and is surrounded by four freshmen in the starting lineup. Jok currently leads the Big Ten conference in points per game (20.2), total points (585), free throw percentage (.920) and usage percentage (30.7). His team is currently on a four-game win streak that includes victories over #24 Maryland 83-69 and #22 Wisconsin 59-57.
Jok projects as a fringe 1st round pick in the upcoming NBA Draft due to his scoring ability, size, length and passing vision. His 6’6” frame carries 205lbs and he moves pretty fluidly both in transition and cutting to the basket. He also has solid basketball genes – NBA big-man legend Manute Bol was his uncle and Luol Deng is his mother’s cousin. His coach Fran McCaffery calls him a “positive” leader to the ten freshmen and sophomores on the Iowa squad. The team has a strange roster this year with only one player shorter than 6’4” and zero players taller than 6’9”.
Let’s take a look at Jok’s performance against Iowa’s first big test of the season on November 17th – a loss against Seton Hall 91-83 where he had 30 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists with 1 turnover.
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The game is tied early on and Iowa wants to run some action for their Senior. Jok takes a handoff and uses the screen to create a mismatch with 6’8” Michael Nzei defending him. Nzei is two inches taller but also slower than Jok and he uses it to his advantage. He uses a hesitation to a between the legs crossover in order to get the ball to his shooting hand and pulls up from 18 feet. When Jok gets his defender off balance, it’s extremely tough for them to alter his jump shot because of his body length and decisiveness.
At the end of the 1st half, Iowa is losing by 2. Jok grabs the defensive board and makes his way up the court. He dribbles his defender back to the three point line and pulls up in his face from NBA range to give Iowa the lead. Jok displays the ability to advance the ball up the floor safely and pull up in transition from deep. While this isn’t something his coaches will let him do in the NBA, looking at each part of what he accomplishes in this play separately helps add more dimensions to his game as a jump shooter.
In this clip, Iowa is down by 3 and Jok is matched up with the shorter defender Khadeen Carrington, and gets around him to make a drive to the rim. He is able to stop on a dime and step back into a smooth jumper that falls cleanly. While he isn’t the fastest guard, Jok possesses solid body control and can knock down mid-range jumpers with ease.
Here he receives a pass out on the perimeter late in the game with his team down 10. He sees that he is once again matched up against Carrington in the same spot and then uses a crafty ball fake to get around him. As the defense collapses, Jok gets to the spot before the defender and uses his length to finish over him and through the contact while adjusting in mid-air.
The last play we’ll look at from this game has Iowa running yet another play for Jok at this familiar spot on the perimeter. He uses the screen and Seton Hall decides to double team him while letting the screener roll through the paint with lots of room. As the double team forces Jok to the sideline, he wraps the ball around Angel Delgado‘s back and hits his man with a solid bounce pass just as the third defender is getting his act together under the rim. Iowa finishes the play and gets the foul plus one.
So after looking through some highlights from Iowa’s first real test of their non-conference schedule, we saw Jok do several things that will be asked of him at the next level.
1. Hits a mid-range shot off the dribble over a taller defender.
2. Brings the ball up in transition.
3. Hits a shot from NBA three-point range.
4. Gets around his defender and hits a step back mid range shot while maintaining solid body control.
5. Runs the pick and roll as the ball handler successfully and finishes with the assist.
Of course in highlight videos, you usually never get to see the player blow their defensive assignment, walk around lazily every few plays or see how many bad shots they take. Watch any Iowa game and you will see that Peter Jok is an average defender for a college guard who has potential to improve at the next level based on his hustle, high basketball IQ, and body length. He occasionally takes plays off and is prone to getting beat by skilled offensive guards, but he does try on defense.
Here are some choice plays against #17 Purdue featuring a mix of offense and defense. Iowa won the game 83-78 and Jok finished with 29 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds with 1 steal and 1 block.
First, we’ll look at a defensive play early in this game. Iowa is playing a 2-3 zone down by 1 and Jok waits patiently as Purdue sets up its offense at the perimeter. He sees the cutter go through the paint after the first, then second passes are made and jumps the third pass as the Purdue player rolls over the top of his cutting teammate. He snags the steal then uses his speed and length to race the defender down the floor while using his body to create space for a controlled finish. Here Jok proves he can be heady on defense and make well-timed plays with purpose.
Next Jok is bringing up the ball in transition along the left side of the floor when his teammate Ahmad Wagner sets him a nice pick in the middle of the three line and Jok uses it to get a pull-up jumper on his mismatch against Purdue’s gigantic 7’2” center Isaac Haas. Jok uses picks extremely well to create opportunities for himself and his teammates and displays quality timing when coming off of them to shoot. He knows that Haas is slow to hedge the pick and takes full advantage, draining a trey with lots of space. The announcers then applaud Jok saying “he never looks out of control”. This is part of his game that has developed very well during his four years at Iowa.
Iowa is down by 3 in the first half when Purdue gets out into transition looking to post up Jok down low. He gets good position on his man and maintains his balance, uses his body to defend without using his hands and gets up for the block. Jok then gets the defensive board and works his way up the floor in full control. He gets to center court and makes a nice one-handed pass to his teammate in transition who finishes. In this play, Jok demonstrates three important points –
1. He can guard taller players in the post without fouling (his body length helps here).
2. He exhibits awareness by grabbing the defensive rebound after the block.
3. He showcases his court vision when he runs the break and gets the assist without rushing things.
He won’t play point guard in the pros, but scouts will love to see that he can create plays in transition.
We’ll throw in a bonus here – Jok proves he can actually dunk in a game against lowly Rutgers.
When the NBA Draft season comes around in June, scouts will already be familiar with Peter Jok’s body of work. The Big Ten scoring king should be worth a look at the end of the 1st round and would be an absolute steal in the 2nd round. For now, though, he has his eyes set on making the NCAA Tournament with his young Iowa Hawkeyes squad looking towards proving themselves in the conference tournament.
Iowa will get a bye for the 1st round of the Big Ten tournament and will face off against a struggling Indiana team in the 2nd round on Thursday, March 9th at 6:30 ET on ESPN2.