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CJ Fredrick is an elite offensive weapon

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The sophomore guard should factor in even more heavily in 2020-21

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Over 11 recruiting cycles, Fran McCaffery has a track record of identifying talent and playing them immediately. Six freshmen have made Big Ten all-freshmen teams. Only Indiana has more, and they’re doing it with elite talent.

The most recent addition to the six-pack is CJ Fredrick. The only way the Kentucky recruit could have been easier for Fran to join him as a Hawkeye was if they lived in the same home. Fredrick’s uncle, Joe, played for Notre Dame while McCaffery assisted Digger Phelps and the connection proved important. CJ committed even before Iowa had a scholarship available for 2018.

He’s long shown that he is more than a shooter, heading the state champions his senior year.

He continued to shine at Iowa.


During the 2018-19 season, Fredrick opted for the redshirt to begin his career. An injury in practice influenced the decision, but it was well-founded as the roster thinned ahead of him and he earned a starting spot for all of last season.

He averaged 10.2 points and 2.8 assists on a blistering 46.1% from deep, good for 7th in the country, in 28.7 minutes a game. All rank among the top ten for freshmen under McCaffery. His KenPom-calculated ORtg is third at 122.2 behind Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza who finished their freshman years at 122.3.

Freshmen under Fran McCaffery

Player Class Season ORtg % Poss Points/Game Rebounds/Game Assists/Game FG% 3P% FT% TO Rate MPG Games % Minutes
Player Class Season ORtg % Poss Points/Game Rebounds/Game Assists/Game FG% 3P% FT% TO Rate MPG Games % Minutes
Jordan Bohannon FR 2016-17 111.0 19.7% 10.9 2.2 5.1 38.8% 41.6% 85.5% 21.1% 29.6 34 72.0%
Connor McCaffery RS FR 2018-19 105.6 16.7% 4.4 1.4 3.0 36.1% 20.7% 75.3% 23.2% 18.6 34 44.7%
Joe Toussaint FR 2019-20 93.5 25.3% 6.5 2.0 2.9 37.8% 29.7% 83.1% 25.2% 17.9 31 44.5%
Anthony Clemmons FR 2012-13 91.9 19.9% 4.3 1.6 2.8 37.7% 36.2% 73.1% 29.8% 16.8 38 41.6%
CJ Fredrick RS FR 2019-20 122.2 15.6% 10.2 1.9 2.8 48.3% 46.1% 79.5% 16.3% 28.7 25 57.6%
Mike Gesell FR 2012-13 99.4 20.2% 8.7 2.6 2.6 40.3% 31.7% 79.4% 20.5% 25.1 34 55.6%
Roy Devyn Marble FR 2010-11 88.7 19.9% 5.7 2.4 1.3 37.9% 26.8% 53.0% 17.0% 19.1 31 47.4%
Josh Oglesby FR 2011-12 114.6 15.8% 6.4 1.7 1.2 39.8% 37.2% 72.2% 8.5% 18.7 35 46.7%
Joe Wieskamp FR 2018-19 122.3 17.0% 11.1 4.9 1.1 48.8% 42.4% 76.7% 13.2% 27.7 35 68.6%
Cordell Pemsl FR 2016-17 108.9 22.0% 8.9 5.0 1.1 61.7% 0.0% 57.5% 20.2% 19.3 34 47.0%
Luka Garza FR 2017-18 122.3 23.9% 12.1 6.4 1.1 55.7% 34.8% 68.1% 11.6% 21.7 33 53.8%
Jack Nunge FR 2017-18 107.8 19.0% 5.7 2.8 1.0 44.3% 33.3% 75.5% 18.4% 15.7 33 38.9%
Tyler Cook FR 2016-17 99.7 24.9% 12.3 5.3 1.0 55.4% 25.0% 59.8% 21.7% 24.5 27 47.5%
Aaron White FR 2011-12 111.6 23.1% 11.1 5.7 0.9 50.4% 27.9% 69.9% 14.9% 23.8 35 59.6%
Isaiah Moss FR 2016-17 95.2 19.1% 6.5 1.6 0.9 41.2% 35.8% 74.2% 17.8% 17.1 34 41.6%
Zach McCabe FR 2010-11 88.2 19.4% 5.8 3.6 0.8 34.9% 28.6% 80.4% 24.0% 19.6 31 48.6%
Peter Jok FR 2013-14 111.5 21.7% 4.4 0.9 0.7 40.0% 34.8% 79.4% 13.4% 9.4 27 19.0%
Adam Woodbury FR 2012-13 92.4 19.5% 4.9 4.8 0.6 48.8% N/A 51.0% 23.6% 16.5 38 40.8%
Nicholas Baer RS FR 2015-16 120.8 15.0% 4.8 2.6 0.5 49.6% 39.4% 66.7% 13.8% 14.5 33 35.9%
Brady Ellingson RS FR 2015-16 105.9 14.4% 2.8 0.7 0.4 45.9% 27.3% 70.0% 17.9% 9.1 27 18.6%
Dom Uhl FR 2014-15 82.0 16.9% 2.1 1.8 0.4 36.1% 18.5% 52.4% 25.5% 10.0 33 24.2%
Ryan Kriener FR 2016-17 100.0 18.6% 3.1 2.2 0.4 55.1% 20.0% 60.0% 22.6% 8.4 28 16.9%
Melsahn Basabe FR 2010-11 105.7 23.1% 11.0 6.8 0.3 57.2% N/A 71.4% 21.9% 24.5 31 60.7%
Ahmad Wagner FR 2015-16 122.0 12.5% 2.6 2.6 0.2 68.1% 0.0% 51.4% 15.8% 10.1 32 24.2%
Includes all freshmen who played > 10% minutes in a season kenpom.com; sports-ref.com

According to Synergy Sports, he averaged 1.099 points over his 232 possessions which rated in the 96th percentile. Among Big Ten players with more than 200 possessions, it ranked fourth behind Alan Griffin, Jalen Smith, and Luka Garza.


He showed all the facets of his game in Iowa’s fifth game last season, where he scored a career high-21 points the first of three times:

  • Unlike other highlight videos, every single three he takes is shown since he went a clean 5/5. (The rest of the team went 2/12)
  • He leads the break on multiple occasions finding rim runners and initiating offense on his way to five assists.
  • He adds a steal and fast break layup for good measure.

The very next game against Texas Tech, he showed that bluegrass mettle with the biggest shot of the game:

He added 21-point outings against hometown Cincinnati and Michigan, in two wins. Throughout conference season, he finished with double-digit points seven times as he asserted himself as the number three scorer behind Garza and Joe Wieskamp.


Through no fault of his own, Fredrick found himself on the healing end of multiple injuries throughout last season. He dealt with a stress fracture which held him out of ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchup with Syracuse and flared up again at the beginning of the conference season. An ankle injury against Indiana held him out of the three following games. Overall, Iowa went 4-4 in games he couldn’t finish.

With all the dents and dings, his average playing time ranked second among Fran-era freshmen, behind just Bohannon.


If there is one area for Fredrick to improve, it’s turnovers. Rarely do players come in and play super clean basketball their freshman year, especially if their role is multi-dimensional like Fredrick’s.

His penchant for turning it over was particularly bad in transition where, according to Synergy, 25% of his possessions ended up in opponents’ hands. Despite the high rate, he still rated as “Excellent” by the site and finished with 64 points on 51 possessions.


All in all, Fredrick’s freshman season goes down as a rousing success. A flamethrower from deep, his presence will enable incredible spacing on an Iowa team which figures to challenge for the best offense in college basketball. He provides secondary ball-handling in both transition and the half court. Both he and Wieskamp are turning 21 this summer, which would make Iowa hilariously old should Garza return.

If that’s the case, his high usage days may have to wait until 2021, yet he’s proven incredibly valuable on the court in a variety of ways.