This is what we said yesterday when Brandon Hutton announced plans to transfer:
We've expected for a while that there would likely be a transfer on the horizon for the Iowa basketball program. Partially that's the nature of college basketball today -- including Hutton, 15 Big Ten players have already announced plans to transfer from their existing schools -- and partially it was the nature of the situation at Iowa. A six-person recruiting class like Iowa had in 2015 is simply very difficult to manage -- it's tough to keep all those guys happy and find minutes for all of them. So we thought someone from that group would probably be leaving at some point; on Wednesday, the other shoe dropped.
Today, the shoes kept dropping.
Iowa guard Andrew Fleming has been given his release and will transfer— Blair Sanderson (@BlairRIVALS) March 31, 2016
Hawkeye Report also has the full text of the press release from Iowa announcing Fleming's departure available here. Like Hutton's release, Fleming's release describes a player seeking a "better situation," which is likely coded language for "more playing time." While Hutton redshirted last season, Fleming played -- albeit very sparingly. On the bright side, Fleming does have a redshirt that he can use to preserve a year of eligibility when he transfers.
Fleming saw action in 12 games last season, averaging 6.7 minutes per game and 2.0 points per game. Fleming saw his most action against Coppin State, a 103-68 Iowa win where he played 22 minutes and scored five points on 2/7 shooting (1/5 from 3-point range, 0/4 free throws), grabbed six rebounds, and had four assists. He also played 10 minutes against UMKC, notching six points on 1/3 shooting (0/2 from deep, 4/4 free throws) against them, and 14 minutes against Western Illinois, scoring five points on 2/5 shooting (1/2 from deep). He played in just two Big Ten games, the blowout wins over Northwestern and Penn State, although ESPN's gamelog also credits him for an appearance against Ohio State. FUN FACT: Fleming actually scored Iowa's final points of the 2016-17 season, swishing a jumper in garbage time against Villanova.
Fleming was one of the 2015 recruits who excited us quite a bit -- he seemed the most ready to contribute immediately and he appeared to have quite a bit of potential as a guard with solid size (6-5, 200) and the ability to hurt opponents on drives to the bucket and from behind the arc. Unfortunately, he looked far less ready when the lights came on for the regular season -- the speed of the game seemed to overwhelm him he struggled to find any sort of rhythm in his appearances -- brief as they were. Christian Williams, a fellow freshman, also seemed overwhelmed at the start of the season but apparently improved over the course of the season -- he saw increased minutes late in the year and showed some promising flashes in those appearances. Fleming seemingly wasn't able to make that same level of improvement in practice over the course of the season in order to earn Fran's trust and get those late season minutes. Still, by no means were we throwing in the towel on Fleming -- his entire Iowa career amounts to 80 minutes of action. That's far from enough time to get the measure of a player. Unfortunately, any improvement and development he does make will now occur for another team.
And despite his lack of game time action, Fleming's attitude never seemed to waver -- he was one of the most demonstrative members of Iowa's bench, enthusiastically celebrating any good plays his teammates made on the court. We'll always have that 37-point outburst in the Prime Time League, too...
Farewell and good luck at your next school, Andrew.
The updated (again!) Iowa scholarship table is available below (for now, I'm still assuming that Peter Jok will return for his senior season in 2016-17):
|1||Peter Jok||Dominique Uhl||Brady Ellingson*||Isaiah Moss*|
|2||Dale Jones||Brady Ellingson*||Ahmad Wagner||Cordell Pemsl|
|3||Dominique Uhl||Ahmad Wagner||Christian Williams||Ryan Kriener|
|4||Brady Ellingson*||Christian Williams||Isaiah Moss*||Jordan Bohannon|
|5||Ahmad Wagner||Isaiah Moss*||Cordell Pemsl||Tyler Cook|
|6||Christian Williams||Cordell Pemsl||Ryan Kriener||Connor McCaffery|
|7||Isaiah Moss*||Ryan Kriener||Jordan Bohannon||Joe Wieskamp|
|8||Cordell Pemsl||Jordan Bohannon||Tyler Cook||Patrick McCaffery|
|9||Ryan Kriener||Tyler Cook||Connor McCaffery|
|10||Jordan Bohannon||Connor McCaffery||Joe Wieskamp|
|* used redshirt|
Iowa now has two available scholarship to use next year and, depending on who takes it, three available scholarships for the Class of 2017 (and, potentially, the Class of 2018). I'd say it's all but certain that one of the two open scholarships will go to walk-on Nicholas Baer. Odds are the other open scholarship will be used by a point guard, either a still-undecided Class of 2016 prospect (Christian Vital is the most likely name there) or by a graduate transfer.
Given Iowa's immediate needs, a graduate transfer point guard would make a lot of sense if one is available and interested in Iowa. Given the inexperience next year's lineup will have, it would be nice to have an experienced hand at point guard who can hit the ground running. It would also be helpful from a scholarship balance standpoint -- taking a freshman point guard now would give Iowa a six-person freshman class for 2016 (since Moss redshirted in 2015-16), which can be rather unwieldy, as we're seeing now. Still, we'll just have to wait and see what the next few weeks hold -- there's more news to come, surely.