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Iowa basketball player previews: Connor McCaffery

The sixth-year jack-of-all-trades returns to The Family Business

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament- Purdue vs Iowa Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s that time of year again: Iowa basketball is just around the corner. In the lead up to the first game of the season we’re going to take a look at each Hawkeye and what we might expect from them in the 2022-23 season.

Next up: Connor McCaffery

#30 - Connor McCaffery, F, 6’6”, 215 lbs
Grad; Iowa City, IA; West

2021-22: 34 games, 2.5 PPG, 1.9 APG, 2.5 RPG, 35% FG, 34% 3P, 17.0 MPG
Career: 134 games, 4.0 PPG, 3.1 APG, 2.7 RPG, 35% FG, 31% 3P, 21.7 MPG

Connor McCaffery enters his final season as the ultimate role player. He started all 62 seasons games of his sophomore & junior seasons on the back of his entry pass prowess to feed Luka Garza. He averaged 3.6 & 4.0 assists in those seasons and operated at the top of the country in terms of assist-to-turnover ratio. He averaged a career-high 6.2 points in that 2019-20 season. It was a big role for that team as it was constructed.

He returned to a bench role to make room for Keegan Murray (who didn’t need the same amount of entry passes to fill it up as Garza did) but also his brother, Patrick, who emerged as a more steady scorer for the Hawkeyes last season. His minutes dipped but his impact did not. He remained a steadying hand for a less experienced squad as a coach on the floor. Perhaps where he’ll be missed most once he hangs up his black-and-gold is as the go-to in-bounder in crunch time. name a few...

As far as his 2022-23 role? I expect more of what we saw last year. Someone who can come in for any starter as Iowa’s sixth man. A guy who’s going to find the open man but if it’s him, take the shot. A pretty good podcaster! Someone who adds an EDGE to this team, evidenced by Brad Underwood’s (!) adoration for him (!!!) at Big Ten Media Day.

Perhaps the biggest question, though, is if he can find his shot for a full season after the first offseason which didn’t include baseball. That experiment never worked, which is a shame considering Connor has talked about how baseball was his first love. He had pro potential if he stuck with it full time but basketball injuries always seemed to linger into the spring and summer so it never got off the ground.

There are stretches of his career to take from which makes me think hovering around 37% on the season is totally possible. He was a 40% shooter in conference play last season on the back of an absolute heater (11/15 across 4 games) & 36% in conference play during 2019-20.

I’ve always liked his game - this 2018 piece was fun after he tore it up in Madison Square Garden - and his ability to do what is asked of the team. With a full (and healthy!) offseason, will Connor’s sixth season be his best one yet?