IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As the only redshirt on the University of Iowa men's basketball team, freshman Kyle Meyer's hard work is unseen by the thousands of fans who watch the Hawkeyes play.
The 6-foot-10 center from Alpharetta, Ga., was one of five members of UI head coach Fran McCaffery's 2012 recruiting class, which ESPN.com and Scout.com ranked as the 19th best nationally.
"I came to Iowa primarily because of the coaching staff," Meyer said. "I liked coach McCaffery and his coaching style. It's a rising program, and I think we're on our way to something really good."
Meyer was a four-year starter at Northview High School and was ranked as a two-star recruit and the 41st-best center in the 2012 recruiting class by ESPN.com. During his senior season, he averaged 18.2 points and 12.9 rebounds, leading his team to a fourth-place finish at the Georgia state tournament.
McCaffery elected to redshirt Meyer in early November, a move that will give the post player four years of eligibility after this season.
"I wasn't surprised (to be redshirted), but I didn't necessarily expect it," Meyer said. "I can see why they would do it, and I was a good candidate for it."
Meyer says he is working to improve his defense and learning how to use his size to his advantage.
"I've worked a lot on my post play, post defense, and perimeter defense, along with my flexibility," he said. "I came in kind of stiff and wasn't able to move around a lot. I've gotten better with that."
The coaching and training staffs have put Meyer on an accelerated lifting program to help him bulk up for the rigors of Big Ten Conference play.
"I'm gaining weight," he said. "I'm able to push and pull a lot more than I could when I came in."
Meyer suffered a setback in February with a high-ankle sprain that put him on crutches, in a walking boot, and sidelined him for a month.
"(The ankle injury) was disappointing for him," said McCaffery. "He has been getting stronger, and he has been really good in practice."
With Meyer now out of the boot and able to train again, he says he is ready to keep making improvements on his game.
"The injury's gone, I'm pretty care-free now," he said. "I'm playing harder every day, and I'm getting better."
Meyer returns to his duties as a scout-team player in practice, helping the Hawkeye first-teamers prepare for their National Invitation Tournament matchup with Virginia on Wednesday.
"He's a terrific young man," McCaffery said. "He works hard, and we are thrilled to have him."
Wednesday's game will begin at 6 p.m. (CT) and will be televised on ESPN2.
The Iowa women's basketball advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 69-53 victory over Miami (Fla.). The Hawkeyes will face top-seeded Notre Dame on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. (CT).
Click HERE for ticket information for the Iowa men's basketball team's "March to Manhattan."