Przybilla still

Michael Dougherty

By the time a player reaches 7-foot-1, you’d think the growing pains might cease to exist.
Not so for Gophers freshman Joel Przybilla, however. The big center was shut down in Saturday’s 89-60 romp at Ohio State, and teammate Quincy Lewis said he thinks he knows why.
“This is his first time around the Big Ten, and he’s learning about the crowds and playing on the road,” Lewis said about Przybilla. “It’s just growing pains. He has to go through them just like everyone else. He’ll be fine.”
Przybilla was taken out of the game against the Buckeyes by junior center Ken Johnson. Johnson scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots.
And along the way he held Przybilla to just six points, four rebounds and one lonely block.
Gophers coach Clem Haskins, who insists he doesn’t like to make excuses for his players, told the media after the Ohio State game Przybilla’s performance was a misnomer.
“Today with Joel Przybilla you didn’t see the real deal,” Haskins said. “It was a junior going against a freshman, so I’d like to see what’s going to happen a year from now.”
Przybilla entered the Iowa game 10 days ago with a 4.78 blocks per game average, but has had only three since, lowering his average to 4.06.
And in his last four games, his rebounding average has fallen from 7.66 to 6.93.
“We tried to get Przybilla into some foul trouble early and it worked to our advantage,” Johnson said. “We took him right from under the basket and took away his game.”
With Indiana coming to town Tuesday night, Haskins guaranteed some better play out of his squad.
“We’ll bounce back, and that’s why you’ll see Indiana will be in trouble on Tuesday at Minnesota,” he said.

Stay out of the pokey, Okey
The much-anticipated return of oft-troubled Iowa forward Sam Okey took place last Thursday night in East Lansing, Mich.
Okey was the 1996 Big Ten freshman of the year and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in both 1996 and 1997 when he played with Wisconsin.
But after some well-publicized run-ins with trouble, such as admitting his marijuana use to Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett and an arrest for drunk driving, Okey transferred to Iowa last January.
After sitting out a year, Okey returned to the court with six points in an 85-60 loss to the Spartans, and eight points in a 72-52 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night.
Current Timberwolf Paul Grant, who played with Okey for two years at Wisconsin, said he thinks the junior finally has his head on straight.
“I talked to him last week and he said everything has been going real well and he feels good,” Grant said. “He just wants to prove to people that he can play.”
Iowa had won 11 games in a row before a Jan. 16 loss to the Gophers that has spurred a three-game losing streak.
Tarver’s tally of thuggery
The weekly Miles Tarver statistical update for the KFAN bet between Dan “The Common Man” Cole and “The Skipper” keeps Cole in the lead.
Tarver poured in 14 points in two games this week, while only committing three fouls. His season total stands at 74 points and 35 fouls.
It looks like the Skipper will be taking a one-year leave from the airwaves, hopefully as soon as possible.