While most attention in the Iowa basketball world has been focused on the departures of guard Brady Ellingson and forward Ahmad Wagner, potential targets to take their scholarships and the prospects for the upcoming season, the future beyond next season is continuing to evolve. And that future continues to look bright as both current Hawkeye commits and top prospects are doing big things on the hardwood.
A little more than a week ago, 2018 signee CJ Fredrick put a close to his high school career. It was a remarkable ending to a spectacular career as Fredrick scored 32 points as Covington Catholic defeated Scott County 73-55 to win the Kentucky State Championship. He averaged 23.1 ppg during his senior season on 58.3% shooting and 48.9% from three and was Kentucky’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Hawkeye fans have been plugging fellow signee Joe Wieskamp into the starting lineup for almost a year now, but perhaps Fredrick deserves some consideration?
Beyond the class of 2018, Iowa is in on some seriously high end talent. Not that 2018 is anything to look past, the aforementioned Wieskamp is the highest rated player Fran has ever landed and I just told you Fredrick may be just as good (Tom Crean said he was every bit as good as Kirk Hinrich when he offered him a scholarship to Indiana as a junior, which may be a stretch, but the kid is seriously good), but things only go up from there.
Take 2019, for example, where current commit Pat McCaffery quickly takes over the crown from Wieskamp as the highest rated recruit in the McCaffery era (Rivals has him at #31 nationally at the moment). But that isn’t enough for the younger McCaffery, he’s looking to garner even more national attention and perhaps even a spot in the McDonald’s All-America game next year.
He’s doing what he can to get his — and the Iowa — name out there nationally. This last weekend that included participating in the USA Basketball U18 3-on-3 National Championship.
Did I say participating? I meant winning.
McCaffery was teamed up, randomly, with a trio of other top players who are under the age of 18. Those teammates included Dudley Blackwell, a 2020 SF, Jyare Davis, also a 2020 SF and Carson McCorkle, who’s a class of 2021 PG. McCorkle is of particular interest as he also has an Iowa offer and has been on campus.
Here’s what Pat had to say about the effort to bring home the championship:
Oh yeah, did I say he was just winning the championship? I meant he was winning the championship and being named MVP of the whole thing.
Pat McCaffery is still coming into his body at 6’8” and under 200 lbs, but he’s incredibly talented for his height and when he does fill out, he’s going to be very, very good.
Congrats to Hailey Van Lith (Cashmere H.S./Wenatchee, Wash.) & Patrick McCaffery (West H.S./Iowa City, Iowa), who were named Most Valuable Players of the 2018 USA 3x3 U18 National Championships.#3L3VATE pic.twitter.com/r0aCeBvD2K— USA Basketball 3x3 (@usab3x3) March 25, 2018
One of the benefits of Pat being such a high quality player and also being the son of the current head coach is dad gets to attend a number of high profile events he wouldn’t otherwise be permitted to attend per NCAA rules. When Pat and 2021 target Carson McCorkle won the 3-on-3 title, Fran was able to congratulate them. And when Pat takes part in the Next Generation Sunday Program at the Final Four next weekend, Fran will be there too.
What is the “Next Generation Sunday Program”? Well, it’s essentially an all-star game at the Final Four that brings the top 24 players in the country together for a behind the scenes look at the event and an opportunity to compete through USA Basketball. Pat will be joined by the who’s who in the class of 2019.
Most notably, though, he’ll be joined by a number of guys with an Iowa offer. The two most interesting are Trayce Jackson-Davis, who’s been on campus a few times, and Matthew Hurt, who is a top 10 big man from Minnesota that Iowa fans are going to get to know more about over the summer.
Why? Because Pat is changing AAU programs following the unfortunate situation with a former Barnstormers affiliate. This summer he’ll be competing for Minnesota D1, alongside Hurt and 2019 PG prospect Tyrell Terry, who also has an Iowa offer.
Pat McCaffery is working to raise his profile. Fran is getting an opportunity to get some serious face time with some high end recruits. Win-win.
Beyond 2019, the Hawkeyes are in on - wait for it - even higher rated prospects in 2020. That starts with Oskaloosa big man Xavier Foster. Rivals has him as the #19 recruit in the country, 12 spots higher than McCaffery in 2019. The 6’10” sophomore is sure to have his pick of scholarship opportunities, but Fran has been on him for some time and the early relationship and some momentum from 2018 and 2019 may help.
It may also help if he could pair Foster with a high end guard. That’s what coach McCaffery is hoping to do with Jalen Suggs. Suggs is an incredible athlete. At 6’3” and 180 lbs, he’s ranked as the #5 recruit in the county for basketball (he’s a PG) by Rivals. He’s also considered a high end football prospect as a dual threat QB. He has an offer from Iowa in both sports.
While Pat wasn’t participating as he’s too old, Foster and Suggs teamed up last weekend in the Underclassmen All-America Game. You can view the full rosters here.
The future continues to look bright for the Hawkeyes on the recruiting trail. That starts with some home grown talent, both of the McCaffery variety and Iowans at large. If Fran can build some momentum, perhaps this won’t be Pat’s last trip to the Final Four.
Embedded below is the NCAA basketball recruiting calendar to answer all your bball recruiting questions.