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McCaffery to join Gatens at Portsmouth Invitational

[ 0 ] March 29, 2012 |

Former Iowa guard Matt Gatens will have more than just his parents cheering him on at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament next month in Virginia.

Gatens’ father, Mike Gatens, said Thursday afternoon that Iowa coach Fran McCaffery has confirmed that he also will travel to Portsmouth, Va., to provide his support.

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is an annual event where potential NBA players get evaluated by NBA scouts and executives while participating in games. This year’s event will be held April 11-14 at the Churchland High School gymnasium in Portsmouth, Va.

“It’s not surprising, but it shows his support for his players,” Mike Gatens said of McCaffery. “He said most of the time he’ll be out there helping Matt. He just wants to be there to support Matt in any way he can.

“When he called me, I said, `you’ve got your team to worry about.’ He goes, ‘This is part of it. This is a big part of it.’”

Matt Gatens played a key role in making McCaffery’s second season as the Iowa coach a success. The Hawkeyes finished 18-17 overall marking the first time since the 2006-07 campaign that Iowa has had a winning record.

Gatens and his cohorts also won a game in the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2006 and a game in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 2003.

The 6-foot-5 Gatens led Iowa in scoring this season and finished his career as Iowa’s sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,635 points. The former City High star is one of just two Iowa players to amass over 1,500 points, 400 rebounds, 250 assists and 125 steals during a career.

The fans rallied behind the team as evidenced by the 13,190 that packed into Carver-Hawkeye Arena on March 13 to watch the victory over Dayton in the first round of the NIT.

McCaffery showed his appreciation to the fans by writing a letter thanking them for their support shortly after the season.

“Wasn’t that thank-you letter something?” said Mike Gatens, who also played basketball at Iowa in the mid-1970s.

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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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