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McCaffery can afford to be selective with recruits

[ 3 ] March 22, 2012 |

Having already signed five players in November, Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery can be selective about adding another recruit this spring.

McCaffery hasn’t ruled it out. But if he signed a player this spring, that would leave McCaffery with just one available scholarship for the 2013 high school senior class.

Recruiting analyst Van Coleman said Thursday that at least one member of McCaffery‘s staff has been evaluating prospects at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament, which is currently being held in Hutchinson, Kan.

Coleman said he isn’t aware of McCaffery giving out any scholarship offers. But Coleman said there are at least three junior-college players on Iowa’s radar.

They are Nick Wiggins, a 6-foot-6 sophomore from Wabash Valley College in Mount Carmel, Ill.; Kendal Jennings, a 6-7 sophomore from Columbia State College in Columbia, Tenn., and Adam Link, a 6-6 sophomore from Otero Junior College in La Junta, Colo.

“He’s a strong, physical kid that makes plays,” Coleman said after evaluating Wiggins at the NJCAA national tournament. “Jennings is long and a very athletic kid. And Link is another kid a lot like Wiggins that makes plays.”

McCaffery also said he might add a transfer during the offseason. One possibility could be 6-4 guard Trent Lockett, who recently announced that he wanted to transfer from Arizona State where he just completed his junior season. Lockett reportedly wants to transfer to a school closer to his home in Golden Valley, Minn. Lockett led Arizona State in scoring this past season at 13 points per game. He also averaged 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists and shot 41.2 percent from 3-point range last season.

Lockett is scheduled to graduate this summer, which means he could transfer to another school and play immediately if he meets the criteria.

Coleman said it’s now apparent that McCaffery is looking to add an athletic wing player, but only under the right circumstances.

“They don’t really have anybody like that, especially a guy that can really rebound,” Coleman said of Iowa, which finished 18-17 in McCaffery’s second season as head coach. “Right now, they’ve got to be very careful that they take a player that’s going to make them better because they’ve only got two scholarships, one for this year and one for next year.

“And they don’t plan on having anybody at this point leaving the program. So they have to very selective.”

Landing Wiggins might not be easy based on the schools that already are involved with him. Wiggins told Hoopsjuco.com that he has scholarship offers from Wichita State, Baylor and Oregon State and is being recruited by Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Oregon and Villanova.

Wichita State, Baylor and Kansas State all made the NCAA Tournament this season, with Baylor having since advanced to the Sweet 16.

“I love the way they play,” Wiggins said of Baylor. “They play up and down and have a very athletic team.”

Iowa’s season ended last Sunday with a 108-97 loss to Oregon in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament in Eugene. Ore.

The Hawkeyes finished with a winning record for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The 18 victories are also seven more than Iowa had last season and eight more than the season before.

Coleman said McCaffery is still keeping tabs on several high school seniors, including 6-6 Leroy Fludd, who is from Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. Other prospects include 6-6 Terry Brutes, who attends a military school in Woodstock, Va., 6-6 Ryan Taylor from Chatham, Va., 6-7 Anthony January from Compton, Calif., and 6-6 Carlos Morris from Jacksonville, Fla.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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