High school senior guard Caris LeVert has narrowed his list of schools to four, but the University of Iowa didn’t make the cut for one main reason.
“The Iowa coaching staff did an outstanding job with him,” said Jerry Francis, who coached the 6-foot-5 LeVert at Central High School in Pickerington, Ohio. “It was just a proximity thing.
“He’s kind of a momma’s boy and he kept making concerns about distance and how far it was from home. So he’s kind of going through that stage and letting the Hawkeyes presence be known because it’s a great institution and a wonderful environment. He and his mom just couldn’t get over the distance stuff.”
Francis said LeVert is expected to choose between Xavier, Dayton, Purdue and Michigan. LeVert signed with Ohio University in November, but was released from his letter of intent after John Groce resigned as the Ohio coach to take the same job at Illinois.
“Those are the four he’s kind of focused on at this point,” Francis said. “But if things don’t work out, then hopefully, if Iowa is still available we’d love to have the opportunity to compare.”
Francis, who played basketball at Ohio State from 1985-89, spoke highly of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery and of Iowa assistant Sherman Dillard.
Iowa won seven more games in McCaffery’s second season as head coach this winter compared to his first season, finishing 18-17 overall. It was Iowa’s first winning season since the 2006-07 campaign. The Hawkeyes 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.
“I think those guys did an outstanding job of being visible and letting their presence be known,” Francis said of the Iowa staff. “(Fran) is a great man and an outstanding coach. His staff speaks for itself.
“I really pushed those guys. But at the end of the day, it’s him and his mother’s decision. I told them how much I really enjoyed coach Dillard and the environment over at Iowa. But they couldn’t budge.”
McCaffery still has one scholarship available this spring after signing five high school seniors in November.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball