Good news everyone! Walk-on redshirt sophomore Nicholas Baer is a walk-on no more:
Fran McCaffery rewards Nicholas Baer with a scholarship. Baer has 3 years of eligibility remaining. #Hawkeyes. pic.twitter.com/LjTVGNB3Jg— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) April 7, 2016
Baer walked-on after graduating from Bettendorf High School and redshirted his freshman year. As a redshirt freshman, he averaged 14.5 minutes per game, shot .496 from the field and .394 from three-point range. The averages might not jump off the page, considering that he only scored 4.8 points per game, but Baer was one of the hardest working players on the team. Like most freshman, he showed his age. He was excellent against mid-level competition in November and December, struggled in Big Ten play and surprised everyone with his 15 point game against Villanova. While so many were decrying Iowa's performance against Nova, y'know, the eventual NCAA National Champion, Baer remained aggressive and shot better than 50% from the floor.
From a mental standpoint, this has to be a huge boost for Baer. Earning a scholarship after only one season is an impressive feat for a D1 basketball player. Yes, the transfers helped. But most players in Baers position would take years to develop before they even saw the floor. Fran took a chance with giving Baer minutes and it paid dividends. Also: Iowa needs Baer. With Uhl presumably playing the 5 next season and Wagner playing anything from the 3/4/5, Baer is the only true small forward with any experience until Dale Jones returns from injury. Iowa will depend on him to step up and be a consistent starter while Fran works out the kinks in his young team.
Congratulations, BAER RAID.