It’s been a wild ride for high school athletes the last year plus and even moreso for high end athletes who have been undergoing the college recruiting process. Since the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold more than a year ago, official recruiting visits have been on hold. That is, if a prospect wanted to actually see the school they were considering attending, they had to find a way to get there on their own dime and they couldn’t have any contact with players or coaches while on campus.
That’s all changed this week as the NCAA is once again allowing official visits as of June 1st. College programs across the country have been scurrying to line up recruiting visits and big official visit weekends to finally get prospects a first hand look at their schools.
For Fran McCaffery, priority number one was lining up an official visit as soon as possible for top target Dasonte Bowen. The 6’3” point guard from Worcester, Massachusetts is on campus this weekend - the first open for visits in more than a year.
That should be telling on both ends as both the school and the prospect have taken the first opportunity to get Bowen to Iowa City. Even more notably, this isn’t his first visit to campus. Bowen actually first came to Iowa City in the fall of 2019 after Iowa became his first division one offer. That bond still stands out to the former teammate of current Hawkeye Josh Ogundele at Worcester Academy. Now at Brewster Academy, Bowen told Zags Blog he hears from Fran McCaffery and the Hawkeyes multiple times a week.
“Iowa was my first offer the summer going into my sophomore year and they were also my first ever visit (unofficial). They’ve stayed on me all the way up to now which means a lot. I talk to them multiple times a week. Whether it be coach [Fran] McCaffery or another coach on the staff, they never miss reaching out. Coach McCaffery wants me to come there and have the ball in my hands trusting me to make winning plays and be an extension of him on the court. They definitely can help sharpen the tools I already have while getting me ready for the next level.”
Those give off the impression of a pretty solid position for the Hawkeyes as we enter the summer before the class of ‘22’s senior year and official visits finally opening up. Another feather in Iowa’s cap: not only was Iowa City the first visit for Bowen, it’s the only place he’s been able to make it due to Covid-19. Rather than using this first opportunity to head somewhere new, the star PG is making a return trip to the Hawkeyes.
So, what about Iowa stands out to Bowen heading into this crucial official visit weekend? Here’s what he previously told Zags Blog about McCaffery, Iowa and what had his interest.
“They’re the only school I’ve gotten to visit so far because of COVID. First of all, they keep it real with me. They tell me how it would be if I went there, how the situation would be. Coach [Fran] McCaffrey is always checking up on me. He’s not always talking about basketball, recruiting and that sort of stuff. That stands out to me a lot. He’s mainly telling me if I’m there, I’ll be one of their guys. I’ll have the ball a lot. I’ll be able to play my game, which is great to hear. I’ve already been up there and the atmosphere is great.”
While Iowa City is always a bit different without the students on campus, this weekend is sure to reaffirm those views on atmosphere. Summer is officially here and the weather in town is slated to be perfect. Nearly as perfect as Bowen would be for what Hawkeye fans are looking for in the class of 2022.
As noted, Bowen is long for a PG at 6’3”. That’s taller than current Hawkeyes Jordan Bohannon, Joe Toussaint or Ahron Ulis. But the length doesn’t come at the expense of quickness. Bowen isn’t quite Toussaint in that department, but more of a controlled version of the New York native.
He’s a solid outside shooter, though not the caliber of Bohannon (few are and there’s good reason he’s sliding to the SG spot) who brings enough in that department to make defenders play him honest. Without sagging off, he has enough burst and excellent handles to take his man off the dribble at will. A player capable of creating his own shot and finishing at the rim is precisely what Hawkeye fans have been waning for.
In his own words, “First of all, I’m a point guard. I can pass, finish and all of that. I’m an all-around player that can finish and play the defensive side. I can finish both smoothly and explosively. I would just describe myself as an all-around point guard.”
Yes, please. That combination of talents has earned Bowen a 4-star ranking from 247 Sports. Aside from the Hawkeyes, Bowen also boasts offers from USC, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Miami, Maryland, Northwestern, Penn, Brown, Penn State, UMass, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Tennessee State and Bryant.
So when might we see things progress in this recruitment? That’s to be determined. After this weekend’s visit to Iowa, Bowen has a visit to Northwestern scheduled for June 15-17th with a trip to Maryland scheduled for June 28-30th.
The Hawkeyes are set to have three scholarships available in the class of ‘22. While 6th year senior Jordan Bohannon does not count against the limit, he’ll (presumably) be gone next season. Connor McCaffery is also slated to be done after this year, as is grad transfer Filip Rebraca and new scholarship athlete Austin Ash. Given the continued surge in college basketball transfers, it’s wise to expect three to be the minimum number of scholarships available, though Iowa may well dip their toes into the transfer market as well to fill some of those needs.