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#HelloJerry Mailbag: Christmas Party Attire, Fran McCaffery’s Point Guards and Phil Parker


Missouri State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

This is the second to last mailbag of 2017. First up, Ugly Sweaters and proper party attire:

Q: What is appropriate holiday party attire if you are staunchly against ugly sweaters? I am toying with the idea of buying a turtleneck, because I think this is the only tasteful occasion to wear a turtleneck and sport coat. And I also want to look a little bit like an asshole at this party, but not a HUGE asshole.

— BenjaminRoss

Hello Jerry: It’s a damn shame but ugly sweaters are OVER PLAYED. Ever since those asshats at Tipsy Elf pranced their way onto Shark Tank and monopolized the “ugly sweater” by slamming us all with unnecessary Facebook propaganda and banner ads that ultimately pushed the now former college party staple into something “parents” wanted to try for family get-together’s the trend has been dead to me.

We lost the fun that surrounded the concept of the “ugly sweater”. I vividly remember going to local thrift store’s and/or Ragstock in hopes of finding the perfect hand crafted sweater — one in which somebody’s grandmother spent good time on — with (literally) the best bells, whistles. lights, broaches and Santa patches.

The whole goal was to be unique before slugging down Jungle Juice and Hot Apple Pie shots in a steamy apartment before going downtown. It was NOT to sit around Aunt Brenda’s living room, hate drinking shitty wine and light beer while you gamble on which of your cousin’s kids knock the other out first with their new Hulk Hands

Now, with that all out of the way, I FULLY support the turtle neck and sport coat look as long as you wear a gold chain. It’s 100% vital if you want to find your place perfectly in the middle of assholedom. People will judge you for the turtle neck (especially if it’s tight), but when they see that gold chain, suddenly they turn that judgement into respect. It takes balls to wear the gold chain/turtleneck/sport coat combo.

Now, if you don’t want to wear a turtle neck, I think you go full on Miami Vice. Head back to your local thrift store and find the brightest sports coat (make sure the sleeves are able to be rolled up your forearms) and some sort of patterned button down for underneath.

Then throw that gold chain BACK on.

Basically, I want you to look like you were cut out of a Lonely Island video. You’re welcome.

Oh, and for the record, I do support GhostWedge’s recommendation... again, as long as you ave the gold chain:

“Uh.... NO turtlenecks.... period.... ever. Hawkeye jersey or tee under the sport coat. You won’t look like a dufas and chicks dig the TigerHawk for all occasions. You’re welcome.”

Chicks do dig the TigerHawk.

Q: Fran has narrowly struck out on several top PG prospects lately any of whom would’ve likely made this team one of the top 4-5 in the B1G. Do we know if there were any "Plan B" guys that showed interest, but somehow never received an offer?

— Toobaboy

Hello Jerry: This is a great question that I just don’t have the answer to. So, I called in a professional:

JPinIC: Well, let’s start with this: if I’m a “professional” the world as we know it is doomed. But I agree, this is a good question and one that gets at an issue I think a good portion of the fanbase has been grappling with for several seasons now under Fran McCaffery.

Everyone has been looking for that quick, penetrating PG who can totally transform this Iowa offense and unlock all the possibilities Fran has built into it. The problem? So is every other coach in America. And these guys don’t just grow on trees. When there’s one out there to be had, coaches pounce.

What I think Fran has done a great job of is identifying that talent early and building relationships. This whole issue is perhaps so well-known among Iowa fans because he’s done so well at getting in on these guys that a lot of other coaches just didn’t build a relationship with early enough to be in the running. Inevitably, it seems Iowa is always left standing at the altar while some blueblood is off to their honeymoon with our program-changing PG.

Now, I could probably write another 3,000 words on everyone we’ve missed out on, why and what any one of them would have meant to this program (let’s be honest, I could just as easily write 3,000 for you all on why I’m so wordy). But this here is a mailbag; you don’t want 3,000 words, you want an answer. And frankly, I might want to use those 3,000 words on this topic at a later date, like when more dominoes fall in the FBI/shoe company scandal in college hoops...

Instead, I’m just going to drop the list of top targets Iowa has come in second under Fran McCaffery:

2017: none
2016: Charlie Moore
2015: Glynn Watson
2014: Tyler Ulis
2013: EC Matthews
2012: Marcus Paige
2011: Cezar Guerrero, Trey Burke
2010: Ben Brust (decommit)

Now, that’s a pretty impressive list. What’s more impressive is how early Fran was in on most of those guys (the early years are a bit of an exception). A byproduct of that has been Fran identifying a lot of targets, making offers and then narrowing his focus on the top guys he has a good shot at - many times getting to a point where all the focus was on the top target down the stretch.

Does that mean we’ve missed out on some potential fits? Probably. I don’t know that any are program changers, but a guy like Wes Washpun is someone who would have likely come to Iowa if he had an offer early in the process back in 2011. Instead, there was no relationship there and he ended up at UNI via Tennessee. Jordan Bohannon nearly fell into that category, but luckily Fran had cut bait on Charlie Moore early enough to salvage that one (though a kid like Moore alongside Bohannon would be a joy to watch).

In summary, yes, Fran has struggled to land his top priority at PG basically every recruiting cycle. However, most of the time he has landed a backup option - even if that backup option isn’t a true PG (Bohannon, I think, fits this category). Someday all his pounding the pavement on the trail will pay off with that coveted high end PG commit. Some day.

Note: If you’re curious who exactly did have an offer from Fran, you can go back year by year to see who reported an offer using this handy link.

Q: What’s the best fowl? Duck, pheasant, or quail?

— indyhawk

Hello Jerry:


Quailman all day everyday.

Hello Jerry: Man, I’m torn. But I don’t think you can give much criticism (as much as I would like to) to the entire staff. Both of these guys were on the defensive side of the ball; aka what Iowa and the coaching staff leaned on the entire season. If anything, I feel like this should lead to praise for the job Phil Parker has done throughout his career at Iowa.

We’ve been talking about Parker in The Pants Slack a lot recently and most of us feel as though he is the most important cog on this staff and is increasingly underrated. Since taking over as the defensive coordinator in 2012, Iowa has finished 33rd in 2012, 49th in 2013, 17th in 2014, 36th in 2015, 21st in 2016 and 34th in 2017 in total defense.

Do you want to guess how many times Iowa finished in the Top-50 in total offense in that span?


Their best finish (not surprisingly) was in 2015 when they came in at 52 (116 in 2012, 78 in 2013, 60 in 2014, 117 in 2016 and 111 this year).

Maybe I’m just tired of being negative. Maybe I’m sick of beating a dead horse about the shortcomings of Kirk’s offensive identity and how that may or may not be effecting Brian Ferentz. Instead, I much rather shine a brighter light on a dude that filled in the ginormous shoes left behind by Norm Parker and has developed, developed and developed some more.

Props to Phil. He needs more adulation.

Hello Jerry: I wrote this entire mailbag while “doing” my work. Despite the push from management, nobody wants to do anything right now and that goes double time for the customers I’m being told to bother on a daily basis.

I know it will never happen, but these last two weeks of the year should be a national holiday where if you HAVE to work, you do it from the confines of your home.

We WILL be back next week. If you all would be ever so kind and get me some of your “Best of” questions ASAP, I’ll start putting together an end of the year mega bag for you all to digest as you sit bored at work. Hit me up @JerryScherwin.

Shouts to @Abrandenburg10 for the inspiration. I will answer this next week:

Love you all.