Oh yeah, what a feeling! Football is in the air which means Iowa Hawkeyes basketball is right around the corner. We’ll be counting down the days, here and there, until Iowa’s first game tips off. The countdown continues with… CJ Fredrick.
#5 CJ Fredrick, G
Hometown: Cincinatti, Ohio (Covington Catholic - Kentucky)
Stars: 247 Sports - 3 Rivals - 3
Fellow freshman Joe Wieskamp has garnered a lot of the attention among Iowa fans and national media for Iowa’s recruiting class of 2018, but in any other class CJ Fredrick would have received plenty of attention himself. Instead, he joined Iowa as a walk-on knowing he may or may not receive a scholarship and quietly continued to put in his work.
That work paid off during the offseason when Iowa had a trio of players opt to transfer. The departures created enough scholarship openings for Fredrick to get one. But the dedication to Fran and Iowa should endear him to Hawkeye fans for life.
So what will CJF bring to the hardwood this season? In reality, likely not much. That’s not an indictment of his basketball acumen, but simply an assessment of reality after Fredrick suffered a fractured rib in the first few weeks of practice this fall. The injury was suffered trying to take a charge against rim destroyer Tyler Cook.
The anecdote by itself should tell you all you need to know about Fredrick’s effort and intensity. It should also speak to his willingness on the defensive side of the ball. Those are things the Hawkeyes can use.
But that’s not what CJ was recruited for. Rather, Fredrick was courted by the likes of Nebraska, Penn State, Indiana and Xavier because he’s a knockdown shooter.
As a senior at Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School, Fredrick averaged 23.1 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds a game. He also set single-season school records for points (900), field goals made in a season (315), and 3-pointers made (107) and averaged nearly 28 points a game during the state tournament. All of which earned him the honor of Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky.
Here’s a look at his game.
How does that translate to the Hawkeyes?
Well, it’s unlikely we’ll see Fredrick play much point, but he’s a capable ball handler who can get the ball across the timeline when necessary or even fill a few short minutes in a role similar to that of Brady Ellingsen in the past.
Like Ellingsen, Fredrick should also be a knockdown shooter. In high school, he connected from downtown at a 48.4% clip. The key will be making the leap from high school and practice shooter to in-game shooter at the Big Ten level. That’s been a struggle for a couple of guys in the Fran McCaffery era.
I think Fredrick has the potential to break that trend. Partially due to his ball handling and partially because I think he brings more athleticism and defensive prowess in his game than some shooters past. Those things should help him add value and earn consistent minutes.
Whether that comes as a true freshman or whether Fredrick looks to redshirt following his rib injury remains to be seen. Regardless of the path he takes, Iowa fans are going to like CJ Fredrick the player and the person for years to come.