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Four Days Until Iowa Basketball: Bakari Evelyn

Fran McCaffery turned to the transfer market to ease some concerns in the backcourt. Will it pay off?

NCAA Basketball: Valparaiso at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

With only four days left until the start of Iowa basketball season, BHGP’s player previews continue with Iowa’s first grad transfer of Fran McCaffery’s tenure.


55: Luka Garza
51: Aidan Vanderloo
35: Cordell Pemsl
30: Connor McCaffery
24: Nico Hobbs
22: Pat McCaffery
20: Riley Till
15: Ryan Kriener
13: Austin Ash
10: Joe Wieskamp
5: C.J. Fredrick

Bakari Evelyn
Guard, 6’2”, 180 lbs.
RS Senior, Detroit, MI (Soutfield Christian (MI)/Hillcrest Academy (AZ)/Nebraska/Valparaiso)

Shortly after Jordan Bohannon decided to have surgery on a nagging hip injury, the Iowa Hawkeyes entered the transfer market to land Bakari Evelyn out of Valparaiso. The redshirt senior has had a winding road to Iowa City and is poised to make an impact his senior year irrespective of Bohannon’s return.

Moss was one of three Hawkeyes last year to start all 35 games (Bohannon & Joe Wieskamp were the other two) en route to 9 points per game in 24 minutes. He was also one of the highest usage Hawkeyes as he took 23% of Iowa’s shots when he was on the floor (KenPom).

Those figures translate roughly into Evelyn’s sophomore and junior years as a Crusader, though he played a bulk of the minutes as a point guard vs. Moss on the wing. The question fo the upcoming season is if he can tap into his sophomore year more than his injury-riddled junior year, as he shot 38.5% from three with a true shooting percentage of 57.2%. While Moss was a better three point shooter, his insistence on taking midrange twos brought his true shooting percentage to 52.1%.

As you see from the above clip, the long two is largely outside of Evelyn’s game, as Synergy Sports tracked just six of his 270 field goal attempts between 17’ and the three point line in 2018-19. The rate holds into his sophomore year.

Ultimately, what he is asked to do is largely going to drive his performance and may help him regain his sophomore year fom. That season, he was more combo-y and scored 102 points on 83 catch-and-shoot opportunities, ranking in the top 20%. If Bohannon returns (or somebody else takes on the lion’s share of point guard duties), then Evelyn can be the microwave 2-guard, despite his shorter frame.

If he is forced to being more of a point guard, it could be to his and the team’s detriment.

This season is as tricky as Fran McCaffery has had to integrate new bodies and old. How he allocates the backcourt minutes and roles will go a long way in determining how good the Hawks can be this year.