Yesterday we previewed Iowa basketball's first game of the season against Kennesaw State. Later on Wednesday, the Hawkeyes rounded out their recruiting class for the 2017-18 season. Jack Nunge, a 6-10, 200-lb power forward signed his letter of intent, while the 6-11, 210-lb center Luka Garza is expected to do so this morning.
Then there’s Connor McCaffery, a 6-6 shooting guard who is rated the No. 1 shooting guard in the state of Iowa. He’s also Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery’s son. Iowa doesn’t have a basketball scholarship left to give, HOWEVER, McCaffery the younger might just earn one from the Iowa baseball team.
All in all, these are three really talented guys joining the program. Taking Connor McCaffery in to account, it’s the No. 33 class in the country according to Rivals. As long as Fran keeps doing his thing, I see no reason why he can’t sustain success on the recruiting trail.
McCaffery addressed the media Wednesday and spoke about his recruits, as well as some plans he has for this team moving forward:
Q. You talked about debating whether or not to bring Baer off the bench or put him in the starting lineup? Why are you leaning toward the starting lineup at this point?
FRAN MCCAFFERY: He deserves to be in there. He does too many good things at both ends. On the glass, with the ball. He can make threes. He can put it on the deck. He can handle the ball. You're getting intense, half court, man-to-man defense... he's going to be able to handle it, move it. He's got a low-post game, and he's really smart.
He knows where he's supposed to be, where everybody else is supposed to be, and he communicates that information to the younger guys. He's valuable in that area.
Yeah, I think keeping Nicholas Baer in the starting lineup is a good idea too.
Don’t sleep on Iowa redshirting anyone, I guess.
Q. Have you had those thoughts on if you are going to redshirt anyone this season?
FRAN MCCAFFERY: Had a lot of thoughts and discussion. We haven't decided to do it yet.
Q. Is it possible you wouldn't red shirt anybody?
FRAN MCCAFFERY: It's very possible, yes.
We’ll have a pretty good idea of who will and won’t be getting a shirt after these first few games methinks.
Obviously a coach is going to have high praise for the guys he recruited, but I’m apathetic towards football at this point so I can’t help but look towards a bright future for Iowa basketball.
Q. What are your thoughts on Luka?
FRAN MCCAFFERY: Thrilled with Luka. I saw him two years ago now and fell in love with his game. What's interesting is how his game has transformed. I loved his game initially. He was an incredible shooter for a guy that big. He was big, thick and physical, and he has subsequently changed his body. He lost 30-35 pounds. He's quicker, he's more mobile, he's bouncier off the floor, he uses his length.
So he's a rare combination of a guy with a really good low-postgame who can stretch the floor and make threes and who understands how to compete on every possession, and that's a rare combination when you get a guy who is 6'10" and a 7'3" wing span and can stretch the floor and play smash mouth inside. Up and unders and jump hooks, and those kinds of moves, you don't see a lot of that anymore. He's effective.
He's a gamer, on top of which he's got a phenomenal attitude and an incredible work ethic. So you put all that together, you've got something special...
Some guys have 39 major offers when they're in ninth grade. It took a little while for him. And to watch a guy earn it like that is impressive. I'm very proud to have him in a Hawkeye uniform.
And this got me even more excited!
Q. Does he remind you of anybody you've had here at Iowa, his style?
FRAN MCCAFFERY: He reminds me a little bit of Kevin McHale.
That doesn’t exactly answer the question but McHale was a damn good player in college so I’ll take it.
Connor McCaffery hasn’t signed yet so I’m not sure why Fran was able to comment on him here. Is it simply because he’s his son? I don’t know I’m just a blogger.
Q. Connor's not going to sign, are you waiting to see how the scholarship situation shakes out or has he considered baseball?
FRAN MCCAFFERY: Well, baseball is a big part of his thought process, no question about that, and it should be And it's hard, because not a lot of guys do it, especially with position players. It happens a lot more with pitchers only. So you have that component. You have the scholarship component. You have the baseball component. It's a lot of moving parts with him.
But he's not in any rush.
Q. What's it like recruiting him as his father?
FRAN MCCAFFERY: I think when you look at the entire picture, it's a positive. But it is stressful in the sense that you want everything to work for him. We just talked about what Luka's experience was like. It wasn't like that for Connor. So having been doing this for as long as I have, you kind of want Connor to be able to look at other places and look around. Is this where I want to go to school? Is this who I want to play for? Is this the style of play for me? Do they meet the academic criteria that I laid out for myself. Do they need me?
The timing of recruiting is often critical, so he's not really had that opportunity. So it makes it fun and exciting. But at the same time, a little different. I think in the end it will all work out.
And that’s that. Keep with us as we continue our coverage of Iowa hoops for the rest of the season, because there needs to be at least one Iowa team to have optimism for.