The Iowa Hawkeyes are experiencing an unprecedented level of attrition due to injury this season. We knew coming into the year there was a chance they would be without senior point guard Jordan Bohannon for all or part of the year. He has now officially shut things down after playing in ten of Iowa’s first 11 contests.
Just three games into the year, the Hawkeyes also lost starting forward Jack Nunge to an ACL tear. Shortly thereafter, freshman forward Patrick McCaffery was sidelined with residual effects of his cancer treatment. It’s still unclear whether he’ll be able to play again this season.
Entering Saturday’s trip to Philadelphia, Iowa was thus left with only 9 scholarship players healthy enough to suit up. One of those players was former walk on Riley Till. During that 89-86 loss to Penn State, starting guard C.J. Fredrick injured his ankle, causing him to miss the second half of the contest, leaving Iowa with just 8 scholarship guys.
Today, Fran McCaffery announced Fredrick’s status for tomorrow night’s trip to Lincoln to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers is still in question.
Per coach McCaffery... Fredrick's status is questionable heading into Tuesday's game at Nebraska. #Hawkeyes— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) January 6, 2020
As if the Hawkeyes needed any further attrition, McCaffery also noted that his son and starting guard Connor McCaffery is also in doubt for Tuesday night’s road trip.
Unlike Fredrick and the others, Connor is reportedly dealing with an illness which kept him out of practice on Sunday. How serious is the illness? It doesn’t sound great.
To add to Iowa's LONG list of injuries: Connor McCaffery didn't practice yesterday. Fran said Connor was throwing up all day yesterday.— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) January 6, 2020
For a coach who has long be criticized for going too deep into his rotation, this level of attrition has to be maddening. If Fredrick and McCaffery are both out Tuesday night, Iowa would be left with just Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza from their opening day starting five and only six players total who were recruited as scholarship athletes.
Regardless of the struggles in Lincoln thus far, making a Big Ten road trip with essentially seven scholarship players is a major concern. As would the guard depth. Without McCaffery and Fredrick, Iowa would be down to Joe Toussaint, Bakari Evelyn and Joe Wieskamp as ball handlers. In the front court, Iowa would have just Luka Garza, Ryan Kriener and Cordell Pemsl. The Hawkeyes would no doubt be forced to rely on Riley Till and other walk-ons to provide meaningful minutes.
Here’s hoping at least one of McCaffery and Fredrick can suit up Tuesday night.
Update: Walk-on Austin Ash is also reportedly dealing with mono as well.