The transfer market has been relatively quiet for the Iowa basketball team, but it was reported the Hawks were pursuing a former 3-star grad transfer PG.
The Iowa basketball team has open scholarship spots heading into the summer months, and the opportunities are dwindling for them to find some talent to bolster the depth of their roster heading into next season.
It’s not like they haven’t been trying. They just keep missing. But with a great opportunity on the line next year to return to the NCAA Tournament, the Iowa basketball team needs as much talent as possible.
So when I saw a report that the Hawkeyes were actively recruiting another transfer, I got excited.
Bakari Evelyn, a former three-star point guard from Chandler Arizona decided to leave Valparaiso two months ago, and the Iowa basketball team is hot on his trail after striking out twice before with the 6’2” combo guard.
According to a report put out by the Chicago Post-Tribune, Evelyn just wants the opportunity to compete in the NCAA Tournament.
"When you go to college, getting to the NCAA Tournament is on your list of goals,” Evelyn said. “My fifth year, my last go-around, I want to give my best effort to achieve it — get to the big dance and make a good run."
Interestingly enough, he could be a key difference in whether or not the Iowa basketball team would make the NCAA Tournament next year considering how much uncertainty there is at the guard positions. Jordan Bohannon could be back next year or he may redshirt depending on his injury heals.
Evelyn brings 44 games of starters experience in three seasons (1 with Nebraska and 2 with Valparaiso), and last year as a redshirt junior, he averaged 8.4 points, 2.1 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game in 28.7 minutes of action for the 15-18 Valparaiso Crusaders.
A decade ago, playing in the Missouri Valley Conference wouldn’t have been a big deal. The conference was regularly sending 3-4 teams to the NCAA Tournament. Now, without former powerhouses Wichita State and Creighton holding it up, it’s a shell of its former self. To get to the tournament now, you have to win your conference tournament, which is never an easy task.
If Evelyn decides to join the Iowa basketball program (he takes his official visit next weekend), it would give the Hawkeyes much needed depth at the guard spots. He’s a willing passer, and he’s shown the ability to shoot the ball well from deep (he shot 38% from three as a sophomore).
Most importantly, this would give Fran McCaffery significant flexibility with his roster. If Bohannon returns, you slide Evelyn to the 2 and have him and CJ Fredrick split minutes. If Bohannon doesn’t return, Evelyn and Connor McCaffery can man the point guard spot unless Joe Toussaint has a tremendous fall camp. Either way, it gives Fran the option to not force incoming recruit Toussaint into the fold unless he is ready.
With his official visit next weekend, and his familiarity with the Iowa basketball coaching staff (according to the Hawkeye Report’s article, they’ve recruited him twice before), we could see a decision made as early as mid-June.
It’s getting down to the wire for recruiting in the 2019 season, and this would have a profound impact on next year’s success.