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Iowa Hoops Player Profiles: The Role Players

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Role players go a long way in determining the success of a season

Connor McCaffery and Tony Perkins square off

The Iowa Hawkeyes basketball season is coming at juuust the right time. While the expectations aren’t as high as last year, the possibility of a successful season still exists. Over the next week, we’ll take a look at the players on Iowa’s roster and what type of season we might expect from them. We’ll continue the series with The Role Players.

Connor McCaffery

#30, RS Senior, G, 6’5”, 205 lbs

2020-21 stats: 3.3 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 112 Assists, 30 TO’s

Career Stats: 4.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.5 APG

Connor McCaffery has started his last 62 consecutive games. That streak will end. I think this is a good thing. Not that I am not a fan of CMac. I just think that what he provides will benefit the team more coming off the bench. I have no doubt that Connor will meld into a player/coach for this squad. He is the type of glue guy that every squad wants and needs. A few examples. Connor feeds the post or makes the extra pass. Good offense is ball movement. Luka Garza helped that equation, but Connor moving the basketball the past few years has allowed the Hawks to score bushels of points. Connor is tough. A handful of years ago, and going back prior to that, the Hawkeyes were a bit soft. Connor McCaffery brings a don’t-back-down attitude to this team. Finally, although not the most fleet of foot, McCaffery understands defense and positioning. One aspect of defense he is adept at is purposefully fouling when the Hawkeyes are at a disadvantage. McCaffery led the Hawks in fouls last year with 81.

Tom Petty and CMac won’t back down

Some may say that he can’t move his feet (he has been a bit banged up), but if you watch closely many, many times Iowa is going to give up an easy basket and Connor will immediately foul. That’s a heady basketball player. Finally, Connor McCaffery is a versatile player. He can play the 1 - 4. Versatility is huge when it comes to role players. If Connor’s minutes go down ideally we will end the season with a healthier version than we have the past few years. Hopefully McCaffery is able to improve on his shooting stats this year. He shot only 28% from 3 and 59% from the free throw line. On his career Connor is a 74% shooter from the free throw line so expect him to bounce back from the stripe this season. Finally, Fran trusts Connor. A coach will put more trust and responsibility into those players who can handle it. When the Hawkeyes need to get the ball inbounds or make a full-court baseball pass, it will always be Connor.

Tony Perkins

#11, Sophomore, G, 6’4”, 210 lbs

2020-21/Career Stats: 24 games, 38 points, 31 rebounds, 16 assists, 3 TO’s, 5 steals

The BHGP staff placed these players in the specified categories A) to separate the players, and B) to show where they may fit in for this year. I am on record saying that Tony Perkins could be an absolute star for the Hawkeyes. Here are a few highlights last year against Northwestern that show some of his game.

I have watched a great deal of Perkins’ tape from high school. He finished second in the voting for Indiana Mr. Basketball. He played against tremendous competition in packed, raucous gyms. The ball was in his hands at critical moments and he made play after play. Perkins shot 46% last year; he only shot three 3 pointers on the year (33%). This offseason my guess would be that he shot and shot and shot. Iowa lost a great deal of production from behind the arc in Garza and Wieskamp. Perkins will be asked to step up his game from long range. What Perkins does provide is an athletic, explosive, aggressive guard. Other than Devyn Marble I can’t think of an Iowa guard who drove the lane with bad intentions like Tony. Late in the year he drove in traffic and tried to posterize an opponent in a “Did that just happen?” moment. He was fouled but the play still stands out to me. Here is a similar example of TPerk in high school.

Perkins is fearless when he gets on the court. Another much needed aspect of Perkins’ game I’m excited about is his ability and desire on the defensive end. Perkins is a more-than-willing/capable defender and that will be a breath of fresh air for Fran’s program. Jordan Bohannon will be a starter but I would love to see Tony Perkins getting starter-like minutes this year. If so I believe he will be a breakout star his junior year.

Other Role Players:

Iowa’s other players have been or will be included in this preview. In my opinion Fran’s rotations have almost always been too big. I feel that Kris Murray should receive a lot of minutes off the bench. He has the size and shooting ability that will be needed. I think that Fran should play Josh Ogundele and Riley Mulvey as if they are one player depending on the game situation. After years of watching Fran’s teams score points and not defend, I would give the nod to anyone who comes off our bench who can defend. We’ve seen the all-offense, no-defense movie enough times. I’m ready for something different. As always, Go Hawks!