IOWA CITY | Adam Woodbury is ripping down rebounds, swatting shots and is delivering on defense these days for the Iowa basketball team.
There’s just one little thing gnawing at the Hawkeye big man.
“I’m missing shots that I’ve made thousands of times,’’ Woodbury said.
The freshman center has followed a 4-of-5 game from the field at Michigan by hitting just two of his last 11 shots, including a 1-for-7 shooting performance in Iowa’s 70-50 win at Northwestern on Sunday.
“It definitely gets frustrating. I don’t want to be missing shots for my team, but games like that, they’re going to happen. Nobody said this was going to be easy for me,’’ Woodbury said. “I’m just going to keep working hard and hopefully they will start to fall.’’
That has happened more often than not for the 7-foot-1 post player from Sioux City East.
He has opened his college career with a 53.7-percent start from the field through 17 games, but through four Big Ten games Woodbury has connected on just 8-of-23 attempts.
At one point during a timeout Sunday, coach Fran McCaffery gave Woodbury a simple instruction. He looked him in the eye and told him to go make a lay-up.
“He’s just got to concentrate and finish. He’s got to attack the rim,’’ McCaffery said. “He’s flipping it up a little bit occasionally and fading away a little bit. Those are common mistakes for a young big guy, but he’s working.’’
That work shows in the rest of Woodbury’s statistics. He had nine rebounds against the Wildcats and has averaged 6.8 since the start of the Big Ten season.
“He’s rebounding, he’s playing phenomenal defense,’’ McCaffery said. “If he makes the shots he normally makes, we’d be talking about how great he’s been because he is performing exactly like we hoped he would.’’
Woodbury said he is getting shots that he knows he can make and he is getting them in ample numbers within the flow of the Hawkeye offense.
Still, he wants to ease the frustration by turning those misses into makes.
“I’m right there with them,’’ he said. “I’m not missing them horribly. A few adjustments here or there and I think I’ll be fine.’’
McCaffery believes that as well.
“The shots he’s missing, he’s capable of making,’’ McCaffery said. “It’s different if you’re missing threes. Well, I missed a three. But, if you miss a close one, well, you’re supposed to make a close one. Everybody knows that. He knows that.’’
That is among the reasons McCaffery is more than willing to remain patient with Woodbury.
Especially as the Hawkeyes prepare to face a Wisconsin team at home at 7 p.m. on Saturday which will test Iowa with one of the more formidable frontlines it has faced, McCaffery wants the other elements of Woodbury’s game to remain constant.
If that happens, based on the work he sees Woodbury put in on a daily basis he believes the offense will follow.
“He will get those shots to fall, and he has, so I’m not worried about that aspect of it,’’ McCaffery said. “We just stay positive with him.’’