College basketball is changing at a rapid pace. The transfer market is bigger than ever. Recruiting is back in gear and back to normal. The time to get players is now. So why has Iowa been so slow on that front? With over 1,000 players in the portal, what is stopping Fran and co. from getting quality players from the portal?
There isn’t an easy answer to this question. Over the past couple years, the portal has grown in the amount of names in there each year. It’s not just low major players. High major players that had success have found themselves in the portal the past couple years, including some from Iowa. Those names include CJ Fredrick, Isaiah Moss, Cordell Pemsl, and Jack Nunge. Those are just the past couple of years. While losing those players, Iowa hasn’t seemed to gain much back in return. But why? It’s not like we don't have the facilities, playing time or past success.
The answer to that question is quite simple. Fran McCaffery. For whatever reason, he doesn’t love going into the portal to get fresh new players. This year he did bring in North Dakota big man Filip Rebraca, but there is still a lot to be desired. There’s a lot of talented guys out there that it seems Iowa could have used. Instead we gave Austin Ash a scholarship and got Jordan Bohannon for another year.
This has always been Fran’s way of doing things though, and for the most part talent hasn’t been the issue with Fran McCaffery’s basketball teams. While it hasn’t been an issue in the past, college basketball is changing, whether he likes it or not. Top teams go into the portal each year just to add more top talent. Baylor being the most recent example, had a team built on transfers. Davion Mitchell transferred from Auburn. Macio Teague transferred from UNC Ashville. Need more examples? UCLA this past season was carried by Johnny Juzang, transfer from Kentucky. College basketball is built on transfers, and that is evident now more than ever.
If Fran isn’t going to go into the transfer market, he’s got a lot of work to do on the recruiting front. Iowa did just get a huge recruiting win by getting Dasonte Bowen, 4 star PG recruit out of Boston. This past season, there wasn’t a lot of recruiting success though. Getting in state prospect Payton Sandfort along with the late addition of Riley Mulvey did help, Iowa still lost a ton of talent. There is still a lot to be desired from the recruiting side of things, but there's a lot of time to continue to work.
With the status of Joe Wieskamp still up in the air, there’s a large hole to fill in the scoring department, and hopefully the Hawks have the guys that can step up. We’ve seen what the likes of Jordan Bohannon and Keegan Murray can do, but now it’s time to see what the rest of the roster is capable of.