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You’ve Got Mail: CJ Fredrick, Fran McCaffery Recruiting and QB Transfers?

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Did John Calipari tamper with CJ Fredrick? Can Fran McCaffery recruit? Will Iowa have a quarterback transfer before next season? The people want to know!

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Iowa
You don’t need a wire tap to know what’s going on in college basketball.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

When I set about answering the question on car wrecks in the solicitation for questions this week, it was really intended to be an ice breaker. You know, something to just get us from point A to point B and allow you all a forum to ask questions. I didn’t expect to get so many great stories and quality conversation, but am really glad we did.

However, it does feel like that conversation may have distracted everyone from the asking questions thing (or maybe you’re just bored with me already - fair). We only had a few questions submitted so we’re changing up the format a bit this week and even pulling in one from last week.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

C J Fredrick
Is there any evidence or tampering by John Calipari?

-IamSparty

It’s no secret that there is a lot of shady stuff going on in college basketball. We’re now just a few years removed from an FBI investigation that produced recorded conversations between shoe company representatives and assistant coaches from some of the best recruiting college hoops teams in the country. The people caught on that wire tap were dumb.

John Calipari is not a dumb man.

You don’t achieve the success he achieved at UMass and Memphis, leave for greener pastures without being accused of anything by the NCAA and then have both schools dinged for inappropriate activity by being a dumb man.

I’ve recently started re-watching HBO’s The Wire, which is tremendous and as good the second time around as it was the first. I can’t help but see the parallels between a guy like Calipari and a guy like Avon Barskdale (for those who’ve not treated themselves, Barksdale is the kingpin atop a Baltimore drug ring). And a guy like Barksdale is smart enough to be in control without ever touching any of the product or being caught on a wire tap saying anything that might be construed as running illegal activity.

All this to say, no, of course there is no direct evidence of John Calipari tampering with CJ Fredrick. Sure, there are photographs and social media shoutouts from Cal to Joe Fredrick and his son Joey. Sure there are Facebook posts from February and March by Joe Fredrick indicating Kentucky is going to get help for their shooting woes next year and that CJ will have a tough decision following the season.

Those are all circumstantial and do not directly tie John Calipari to anything that’s not allowed by the NCAA. This ain’t his first rodeo and that’s not how this game is played.

Fran
1 recruit in the top 150? And he’s from Iowa and ranks 140? SMH

-JSizzla

I’m not sure the origin of this question or really the intent, other than to express frustration about Fran’s recruiting. But by really any measure it’s not an accurate slight at him.

Iowa’s current roster has multiple top-150 guys, including those from Iowa and those not. Pat McCcaffery, for example, was the 75th best player in the class of 2019 according to Rivals and was at one point as high as 31st nationally. That makes two McCaffery kids to be top-150 for the vast majority of their recruitment as Connor was ranked as high as the top-100 before he was dropped from rankings when he was rumored to be playing baseball and not basketball in college. Ahron Ulis was ranked 112th nationally as a 4-star PG in the class of 2020.

But over the years, there have been a number of others. Luka Garza was ranked 111th nationally as a 4-star prospect in 2017. Joe Wieskamp was ranked 43rd nationally as a 4-star in the class of 2018. Tyler Cook was ranked 74th nationally as a 4-star in the class of 2016.

In fact, 2015 was the last time Iowa didn’t have a top-150 recruit in the class. That continues this year with Payton Sandfort, who as you noted, is 140th nationally.

The fact there is only one has nothing to do with poor recruiting and everything to do with the scholarship distribution chart throughout the recruiting cycle. Without the additions of Rebraca and Mulvey this offseason and the return of Bohannon, Iowa was at 12 scholarship players if Wieskamp returns and you didn’t have transfers from Jack Nunge and CJ Fredrick.

Could he have used that scholarship on another 2021 kid? Sure. He seemed inclined to keep it for a player in the portal all along. I don’t think that’s outlandish, but I guess it’s worth a SMH?

What are the chances of a QB transfer out of Iowa before the first game this season?

-Petes Sake

I find myself in a relatively lonely spot on this. The general consensus among fans I talk with seems to be that if Alex Padilla doesn’t win the starting job this spring, he will transfer. I disagree.

If they are truly splitting reps in practice, and we’re finally starting to see some photo and video evidence of that being more true than at the beginning of spring practice, I don’t see why Padilla would transfer this summer. Ferentz isn’t about to close down the façade of a competition now and push him out. Ditto for fall camp. I think you see Padilla strung along on the promise of competition and winning the job next year.

Similar thoughts on Hogan. While I don’t expect him to stay here long term, I think he hangs on for this season and the coaches push him on the potential to win the job next offseason. If Iowa really wants to keep him, they probably need him to pass Padilla in bowl prep or early next spring, assuming both are still here.

So with that, I’ll put the odds at around 5% and probably jinx us. You’re welcome.

Possible question(s) for the next mailbag:
What is your favorite sport to watch?
What is your favorite sport to play?

-WaterlooChazz

This is a tough one. I don’t think there’s anything better than taking in a football game in Kinnick. I also can’t think of much better than just soaking up an entire day of college football on Saturday and I truly do love to spend a fall Sunday channel hopping for NFL games and staring at the RedZone channel for an hour or two checking my fantasy lineup.

But that’s not to say I don’t love watching Hawkeye hoops. I’m not an NBA guy, but college basketball is a joy to watch. That gets magnified in March and the first two days of the NCAA Tournament are my favorite event of the year. Things got off track last year, but this year we were able to restart our annual tradition of getting together with my dad to soak up the first two days with my three boys. They’re at an age where they don’t really watch more than 5 minutes of games, but it’s something we hope continues for at least a generation.

Outside of those big two, I do enjoy going to baseball games, but can’t watch more than an inning straight on TV. Never been a big golf guy and I didn’t grow up on hockey so I’ve never immersed myself in it, though I think it’s a sport I would really enjoy. My one growing interest is soccer. I’m certainly not a hooligan or anything, but I really enjoy waking up on Saturday and Sunday morning when nothing else is on and catching an EPL match or something from the Bundesliga.

Now, in terms of playing sports, I’m getting to that pivotal point in my life where what I like playing and what I can play are going to diverge. Football has been my first love since about 6th grade, but in my 30s, that isn’t an option anymore.

Soccer is a sport I’m both still able to physically play and which has a structure in place to allow me to do so. I’m not any good at the actual soccer stuff, but it’s exercise and an excuse to get together with friends.

The other one, which may be the thing I miss most about the new work from home lifestyle, is basketball. Pre-pandemic, I was able to play noon hoops at a local community college two days a week with an option for pre-work hoops once a week in there too. That’s now gone and with it my relative in shape-ness. I would pass out on the floor if I tried to play again, but when we were running on the regular that was far and away my favorite sport to play.


That’s all for this week, folks. Be thinking of those questions for next week. Or not. Whatever, I’m not going to tell you all what to do.