Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery had an interesting weekend.
Hawkeye signee Aaron White was named his team’s most valuable player in the annual Ohio-Kentucky All-Star game Saturday night. White, a forward, scored 19 points as the Ohio team rallied from a 20-point deficit to win, 102-100. The Ohio team included four other Big Ten signees – Trey Lewis (Penn State), Trey Burke (Michigan), Travis Trice (Michigan State) and Traevon Jackson (Wisconsin).
On Sunday, Cedar Rapids Washington guard Wes Washpun picked Tennessee over Iowa, and McCaffery continues his search for a point guard.
White, a forward named to the Cleveland Plain Dealer all-star team last week, has enhanced his reputation since signing with the Hawkeyes last fall. If he can touch the productivity turned in by another of McCaffery’s sleepers, forward Melsahn Basabe, Iowa’s front line will be improved. Basabe was Iowa’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer last season, and made the Big Ten’s all-freshman team.
White averaged 23.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and six blocked shots for his Strongsville team as a senior. He is the school’s No. 2 career scorer.
“Aaron is 6-8 but he’s long and he’s sort of sneaky athletic,” McCaffery told the Register last week. “And he can make 3s, so he can stretch the defense.”
Washpun’s decision Sunday to continue his basketball career at Tennessee means that McCaffery is batting .333 in Cedar Rapids.
That’s good for anyone in the starting lineup for McCaffery’s favorite baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies.
It’s a frustrating percentage for a coach trying to breathe life back into the Hawkeye basketball program.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson forward Jarrod Uthoff picked Wisconsin over Iowa late last summer, and he signed with the Badgers in November.
McCaffery got good news last fall when Cedar Rapids Washington guard Josh Oglesby committed to the Hawkeyes. He signed with Iowa in November.
Add junior point guard Marcus Paige from Linn-Mar of Marion, who has committed to North Carolina, and the percentage drops even more.
Washpun, Oglesby’s teammate at Washington, got an Iowa offer on Tuesday, a day after Cully Payne announced he was transferring. Washpun, who has called himself a lifelong Hawkeye fan, visited McCaffery Thursday in Iowa City.
Tennessee offered Washpun a scholarship on Friday. The Vols’ new coach, Cuonzo Martin, had offered Washpun a scholarship in February when he was the coach at Missouri State.
Washpun made reference to Martin making the first offer when he told the Knoxville News-Sentinel Sunday, “A lot of it is about Coach Martin, just being the guy that he is, and recruiting me for so long. Iowa kind of came in at the last second.’’
McCaffery might be seeing orange in his sleep. The Hawkeyes also finished second to Top 100 point guard Cezar Guerrero, who picked Oklahoma State.
Which direction the Iowa staff goes in now to find a guard with one of their three remaining scholarships is uncertain. Anthony Hubbard, who visited Iowa with Guerrero last month and saw the Hawkeyes knock off Purdue in the regular-season finale, remains in play. Penn State and Nebraska are among his other possibilities with signing day starting on Wednesday.
Iowa hosted forward Eric Katenda of Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas over the weekend. His Sunrise teammate, forward Gabe Olaseni, visited earlier. Katenda visited Georgia Tech earlier and has another visit to Notre Dame scheduled.
Last year, McCaffery signed junior college transfer Bryce Cartwright in June. Cartwright went on to average 11 points a game and lead the Big Ten in assists
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball