Former Iowa basketball standout Jess Settles is a head coach for the first time. Settles was named the head coach at Iowa Wesleyan in late November after former coach Alan Magnani was fired and the Tigers are 4-3 with him on the bench after a Wednesday loss to Clarke.

Settles had previously assisted with programs at Mount Pleasant High School and Southeastern Community College. “It was a unique situation where we didn’t have any type of staff at all,” Settles says. He says they have a lot of good players and they have bought into the system.

Settles says it did not take him long to find out just how competitive the Midwest Collegiate Conference is. He says so many of the games come down to free-throw shooting and rebounds and he expects the conference title to come down to the wire.

Settles says he has been impressed with the talent at the small college level, and a lot of outstanding playuers are overlooked by the big schools. “At every level there are great players, and you even see that in the Missouri Valley now with Creighton and U.N.I. and some of the so-called mid-majors with Butler. They can compete night in and night out with just about anybody,” Settles says.

He says the use of the 3-point line has opened up opportunities for a lot of players. Iowa Wesleyan returns to action on Saturday with a visit to Ashford.