Iowa Basketball received good news yesterday when it announced that Patrick McCaffery’s hardship waiver was approved by the Big Ten conference. In layman’s terms, Patrick McCaffery will not lose a year of eligibility for dealing with “residual health issues” related to his diagnosis of thyroid cancer in 2014.
Patrick McCaffery played in only two contests last season before being sidelined for the rest of the season. It was the tough first season for Patrick, while Fran McCaffery reiterated time and time again that cancer hadn’t returned but these complications had become part of Patrick’s life following his stint of thyroid cancer in 2014.
Patrick was the all-time leading scorer at Iowa highschool basketball powerhouse Iowa City West; tallying 1,150 points in his tenure. Pat averaged an absurd 25.1 points per game while shooting 58.2% from the field as a senior, improving from his still impressive 19.9 points per game and six rebounds per game as a junior. Pat was a three-year starter and four-year letter earner on teams that won a combined 86 games, four trips to the state tournament including two runner-up finishes.
Patrick came out of high school ranked as a four-star prospect, ranked 86th nationally, and second in Iowa behind only recent Marquette transfer DJ Carton. The concern for Patrick was his weight, as Patrick is listed at 6’9 but weighs only 190 pounds. His father and Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery has discussed the possible A full year away from game action to get healthy, adjust to the college game, and hopefully continue to tack on mass and add to his long frame isn’t the worst thing.
In Patrick’s two games as a Hawkeye, he tallied 6 total points, an assist, and 5 rebounds but flashed his explosiveness with two dunks against outmatched SIU Edwardsville.
But, where does Patrick fit into this loaded Hawkeye team? The answer to that is complicated because of his unique versatility on a basketball court. He is a lengthy 6’9 forward that can shoot the three, run the floor and get dunks in transition, find space in the midrange and if he finds himself in a mismatch down low can score the ball with his back to the basket.
McCaffery’s length causes problems for opponents on the defensive end, but his size and lack of experience at the college level could create issues in an already defensively weak frontcourt. The lack of depth in Iowa’s frontcourt will force him to guard bigger and stronger players in the post, especially in the nightly grind of the Big Ten. Throughout the grind of the always competitive Big Ten, Patrick will certainly find himself matched up against bigger opponents, and Iowa will need him to hold his own when thrown into these situations.
Iowa’s front-court struggled with depth last year and with Ryan Kreiner graduated, the questions around Jack Nunge’s health and the necessity of having a rested Luka Garza on the offensive end; Patrick will likely be the main benefactor of those lost minutes.
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If Patrick McCaffery can come in and provide depth and consistency, it would be a massive boost for the Hawkeyes. Having a 6’9 player who can create his own shot, post up smaller opponents, and punish bigger opponents on the perimeter with his speed advantage is a dangerous combo. Especially paired with Garza’s abilities, as well as a plethora of shooting talent including 8th year senior Jordan Bohannon who was also granted his medical hardship. Patrick’s versatility could give the already stacked Iowa basketball team another option on the offensive end and a lengthy shot-blocker on the defensive end.