It’s a strange world we live in where the Iowa Hawkeyes have as much preseason hype as any Iowa team in a generation (or more) with a top-5 preseason ranking, a preseason national player of the year frontrunner and a slew of other talent, yet signing day came and went this week with almost no fanfare. Yes, that’s correct, signing day was Wednesday, November 11th. Don’t feel bad if you missed it, it was pretty easy to miss. Despite the hype for the Hawkeyes on the hardwood this fall, there is almost no hype right now on the recruiting trail.
Iowa’s class of 2021 currently stands at just one commitment. That came back in early October when Waukee native Payton Sandfort pledged to the Hawkeyes. Now, little more than a month later, Sandfort has made it official by signing his national letter of intent.
Payton Sandfort is officially an Iowa Hawkeye! Congratulations P. ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/s8Z6z4hekS— Waukee Basketball (@waukeehoops) November 11, 2020
In terms of skillset, as we said when he committed, Sandfort will be what Iowa fans have come to think of as a prototypical McCaffery recruit.
He’s a long 6’7” (approaching 6’8”) forward who excels beyond the arc even if he won’t blow you away with his quickness or leaping ability, though those aren’t major negatives either.
As our own BoilerHawk put it, he’s somewhere between Nicholas Baer and Joe Wieskamp, with tnels20 noting some modestly better ballhandling. As Hawkeye fans, that should sound pretty good. While it may not be a high-flying big name recruiting win, Sandfort had a solid offer list and will fill a much needed role in Iowa City.
As a junior last season at Waukee, Sandfort shot 53.7% from the field and 45.3% from deep en route to averaging 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Look for him to step in at Iowa as a role player who can inject instant offense off the bench and provide energy a la Baer.
Hometown: Waukee, IA (Waukee)
Stars: Rivals - 3, 247 Sports - 3
While Sandfort is the only Iowa commitment in the class of 2021 to-date and the only player to sign an NLI this week, fans shouldn’t expect Fran McCaffery to be done recruiting in this class. The Hawkeyes will have two scholarships available after the graduations of Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon. While it’s still possible we see one or both of those guys return for an extra year with the NCAA allowing everyone participating in winter sports this season to have an extra year, it’s not likely.
Additionally, the NCAA is allowing players to transfer one time with immediate eligibility starting this year, which is likely to mean we see even more transfers this offseason. Following what we hope to be an historic season for the Hawkeyes, look for Fran McCaffery to sell Iowa as a hot landing spot to players looking for a new home in 2021.
Welcome aboard, officially, Payton Sandfort!