The Iowa Hawkeyes have a history of making things a family affair. On the football field, that’s come with lots of scrutiny as things have not gone terribly well. But on the basketball court, having Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes nicknamed “The Family Business” has been a good thing.
McCaffery, of course, has two of his three sons currently on the roster. Not just because they’re his sons, but because they were both borderline top-100 recruits nationally.
That by itself isn’t enough to garner the nickname. That came after Fran went out and signed another pair of brothers in the class of 2020. This duo was not nearly as highly regarded nationally, requiring a year of prep school to continue developing and receiving really no other big time offers. But McCaffery took a chance on Kris and Keegan Murray and that played out pretty well.
Now, McCaffery is at it again as he signs Pryce Sandfort, younger brother of current sophomore and starting SF Payton Sandfort. Like the McCaffery boys, the Sandfort brothers seem to be getting better with each new iteration. While Payton has won the hearts of many a Hawkeye fan for his gunslinger mentality on the court and his ability to really fill it up from deep, younger brother Pryce is the more highly-touted prospect.
Pryce comes to Iowa as a 4-star recruit according to both Rivals and 247 Sports, and is rated as a top-100 prospect nationally. Listed at 6’7” and 190 pounds, Sandfort boasts a lightning-quick release and very solid shooting for a player of his size. Like his older brother, he has an ability to knock down shots when left open or with a smaller defender in his face.
But at the same age, the younger Sandfort shows a better ability to create off the bounce, which makes him a bit more dynamic and creates more space to get shots off. That ballhandling ability is likely due to a later growth spurt as McCaffery and staff began recruiting Sandfort as a PG several years ago. Now at 6’7” with the potential to continue growing (as his brother did in his first two years in Iowa City), the ability to put the ball on the deck should prove a valuable asset.
Despite the penetrating ability, it’s really that ability to be a sniper from downtown that has coach McCaffery most excited about Sandfort. Speaking with HawkeyeReport, Sandfort said Fran expects him to come in day one and hunt shots from beyond the arc.
“They see me fitting in perfectly with how they want to play. Playing fast, shooting a lot of 3s, all of that. They see me playing the 1-3 or 4. Fran has told me before, he sees me coming in as a freshman and making 60 3s and having a big role right away. Obviously, it’s all up to me and how hard I work.”
That’s not totally unreasonable for a player who averaged 26.6 points on 52.6% shooting with 40.5% from deep as a junior at Waukee Northwest. Sandfort also added 10.3 rebounds a game a season ago.
What will be interesting to monitor in Iowa City is just how Sandfort the younger slots into the lineup. It seems likely that Kris Murray joins his brother Keegan in the NBA after this season, but the Hawkeyes will still have the younger McCaffery as well as the older Sandfort at the small forward spot when Pryce arrives in town. Could we see Patrick slide to the 4 with Sandfort off the bench to giver a breather to.. Sandfort?
It’s possible and it’s an exciting possibility. Fran has long loved the idea of 4-5 interchangeable parts that are all capable of defending multiple positions and knocking down shots from deep to stretch the defense. What better way to do that than to continue recruiting siblings with similar skillsets and builds?
Welcome aboard, officially, Pryce Sandfort!