Jok Improving

Jok Improving

After bursting onto the national scene at a young age, Iowa's Peter Jok suffered an injury. Now, the Class of 2013 Prospect is trying to show the scouts that he's back.

Peter Jok dazzled the scouts. A mix of advanced skill and athleticism, the Sudanese native ranked as one of the top freshmen in the country.

Basketball fans in Iowa wondered if Jok would stay in state for college. His mother relocated there after his father was killed in his war-torn homeland.. Peter was three.

Then, Jok felt something wrong in his knee. He ignored it and finished his sophomore season at Des Moines Roosevelt. It ended up being a torn tendon. Surgery followed that summer.

Jok's recovery was slow. It didn't stop him from playing, however. This time it was with former Iowa Hawkeye Standout Jeff Horner's West Des Moines Valley team.

"He played probably at about 60 percent," Coach Horner said of Jok's junior year. "A lot of colleges, they didn't back off, they just wanted to see how healthy he came back."

And, they're still waiting.

"Right now, Drake is one of his offers, but I think there are a lot of schools in on him that I think would take him," Horner said. "I just don't know where a lot of the schools stand.

"It's an interesting situation. It's the first time I've been through something like this with a recruit. With Kale Abrahamson (WDM Valley, '12 Northwestern), teams offered and that was it. There were no injuries to think about. It's an interesting deal with Pete and hopefully we get him healthy and he makes the best decision that's right for him."

There's a catch. Jok won't have a chance to convince schools he can get to 100 percent health before the early signing period begins in mid-November.

"I don't think it's a definite that he'll sign in November," Horner said. "There's definitely a possibility that he doesn't sign until after the basketball season because a lot of teams want to see if he's healthy."

Horner has spoken to Jok about signing in the spring during the late period. He explained the risk of another injury proving costly.

"We just want to do what's best for Pete's future," Horner said. "I think Pete has a good head on his shoulders. He'll make a decision. We'll sit down and talk more about it once more offers come in."

Jok showed scouts an improved condition during the summer. Still, something was missing.

"I would say that right now he's 85-90 percent," Horner said. "He still has two or three months before he's supposed to be fully recovered.

"It's more of an explosion; getting his legs back and being comfortable jumping off of that leg. He's definitely gotten some of that back from the end of the season to now. His vertical leap has improved a lot. Last year, he couldn't go to his right because he had to plant on his left leg. He was nervous about it. It's not a worry anymore."

Jok once held an Iowa offer. He unofficially visited the school last weekend.

"I've talked to (Iowa Assistant) Coach (Kirk) Speraw a lot about him," Horner said. "I talked to Coach (Fran) McCaffery a little bit about him last winter. We talked a lot about his health and those types of things.

"I know they really like him. They need a wing like him. He's a playmaker. He can really shoot it. But with the injury, Iowa is definitely one of the schools that wanted top wait and see kind of where he was at health wise."

When Jarrod Uthoff transferred from Wisconsin to Iowa this offseason, it left McCaffery with one scholarship to give out in the 2013 class.

"They have to make sure that they get the right one," Horner said. "I think that's what they're trying to do with Pete."

Horner said Jok also will unofficially visit Nebraska and Kansas State this semester.

"I am not 100 percent sure on schools other than Drake that have actually offered him a scholarship," Horner said. "But I also think there are a lot of schools that would take him if he told them he was serious about going there. That could change the tone of some of the schools."

One can imagine that this whole process has been a little confusing for Jok even though he's known much worse in his life.

"He is unsure," said Horner, Iowa's all-time leader in assists. "Pete and I talked about it a lot. I just tell him to go out and keep playing as hard as he can; make sure everything counts and play as a team player."

Jok hasn't lost confidence.

"He's optimistic," Horner said. "I don't think he's worrying about that stuff. I tell him not to worry about it and just go out and play. Whatever happens, happens."

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