Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery hasn’t been overly successful in landing top prospects recently. Here’s an overview of the shortcomings.
This is by no means a diss or insult to previous recruits or recruiting classes, but outside of a few can’t-lose situations, Fran McCaffery has struggled to reel in top-rated talent to the Iowa basketball program as of recently.
In back to back years, McCaffery has lost out on the top prospect in the state. This year it was Xavier Foster, a guy who Iowa targeted early in his high school career, offered his first scholarship and ultimately lost out on to Iowa State despite Foster openly admitting he and his entire family are Iowa fans.
Last year it was Bettendorf, Iowa native DJ Carlton, a top-50 player in the class of 2019. The Iowa basketball team had him as a top target next to Fran’s son, Patrick, who was a top-100 player. And despite being interested in Iowa, ultimately chose to go to another Big Ten school, Ohio State.
The year before that, the Iowa basketball team did manage to land Joe Wieskamp, but the Muscatine, Iowa native was committed to the Hawks before his sophomore season of basketball even began.
In the past three years, if you take out Wieskamp and Patrick McCaffery, the Hawks have received zero commitments from top-100 players and they’ve only received one commitment from a player who had other major D-1 offers (CJ Fredrick).
Iowa State, meanwhile, has not had the ease of recruiting talent out of their backyard or having the connection that Foster did to his favorite team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Despite this, they’ve landed three four-star recruits and six top-200 players. For reference, Iowa has had just two top-200 players (McCaffery and Wieskamp).
Now, this isn’t to say recruiting rankings are everything because they aren’t. Fran has succeeded quite well with recruiting lower-rated guys that fit well into his scheme (Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Nicholas Baer), but for a team that has been to one NCAA Tournament in three seasons, the heat is on, and missing out on the top-rated recruits, especially in-state recruits right in Iowa’s backyard isn’t the way to take the heat off.
It certainly isn’t for a lack of effort as the Hawks have prioritized both of these guys in recent years, but the Iowa basketball team should have a leg up on guys like Foster and Carton, and yet, they are still missing out on them.