Iowa CITY, Iowa - Zach McCabe hears the compliments coming his team's way. The Iowa junior says keeping the positives in perspective is part of his leadership role.
"People talk about us having depth and talent," McCabe said. "But we need effort and hard work to be an NCAA team and carry on beyond that."
McCabe wants to make sure a team welcoming five freshmen doesn't rest of its preseason hype from an excited fan base. Iowa is looking to replace leading scorer and team leader, Matt Gatens, who is playing professionally overseas.
"I'll tell guys when they need to be told stuff, what they need to do here and there," the Sioux City Heelan product said. "I've done that already. I'm the type that leads by play and talking to guys about what they need to do."
Desire and flexibility have defined McCabe's first two years at Iowa. He played small forward as a freshman and the four and five last season.
"He can play the three, play the four, play the five," Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. "(McCabe is) smart enough to remember where to go on all three positions. (He is) probably one of our best shooters without question. And again, another guy that's really strong with 235, playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. He's giving us a lot of versatility when we look at personnel."
McCabe averaged 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds while starting 30 of Iowa's 32 contests last winter. He traveled abroad this summer with the East Coast All-Stars and believes he's added more components to his game
"I feel like I'll be the same lunch-pail guy night in and night out," the 6-foot-7, 235-pound McCabe said. "I've learned a lot more stuff that can help me this year like footwork and defensively. I learned a lot of moves when I was down in Europe. I just learned that I have to be more creative with my game to be successful in the long run."
While McCabe hopes to contribute more statistically to the Hawkeyes' attack, he points out that it will take a team effort to reach their goals. The veterans also need to help the newcomers.
"We have talent and depth and everything you need in a good team," McCabe said. "What we need to know is if these guys are going to come in, night in and night out. It requires hard work. We can't have a down night like we've had in the past."