When Fran McCaffery saw Peter Jok play in an open gym at West Des Moines Valley High School this fall, he was sold. Jok’s surgically-repaired left knee was good to go.
The 6-foot-6 guard was dunking off that leg, slashing to the basket and hitting pull-up jumpers with McCaffery and Iowa assistant Kirk Speraw in the audience. Jok had surgery in June of 2011 to repair a torn patellar tendon. He struggled last season after returning, but is close to 100 percent now. (Read a Nov. 13 Register feature on Jok here).
“When he got healthy, we saw the real Peter Jok,” McCaffery said Wednesday, after receiving Jok’s signed letter of intent on the opening day of the fall period. (read Iowa’s release on Jok’s signing here).
“He has a complete skill set,” McCaffery said. “As we’ve seen his athletic ability come back in the last six months, now you’re talking about somebody who has the chance to be really special.”
Jok’s talent has never been a question. He started receiving scholarship offers in the 8th grade, after a strong performance in an AAU tournament in Chicago. Illinois, Marquette and Providence were among the first to offer.
Mike Nixon, who shares power of attorney with Bruce Koeppl for Jok and his three siblings, remembers the performance Jok had against the traditionally strong Mean Streets team that day in Chicago, and the offers that started to roll in.
“I took Peter outside and we saw Coach (Bruce) Weber (then the coach at Illinois) outside,” Nixon recalled. “And I looked at Peter and said, “Do you know who that coach is? He said, “I have no idea.” I said, “That’s the coach at Illinois who just offered you a scholarship.’ He said, “I don’t even know him.’ I said, “That’s exactly the point.’ Because it just didn’t matter at that point.”
When Jok reached his freshman season, he was rated in the Top 10 nationally in the Class of 2013 by most scouting services. He injured his knee that summer. Elite programs stopped calling. But Iowa – Speraw was the lead recruiter – stuck with him. In the end, Jok picked the Hawkeyes over offers from Drake, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas State – now coached by Weber.
“I see Peter as the guy who ultimately replaces (junior) Devyn Marble,” McCaffery said. “Hopefully, they can play together for a little bit.”
Iowa has just one senior on this team, guard/forward Eric May. The Hawkeyes will add Jok and Jarrod Uthoff, a transfer from Wisconsin, in 2013-14.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball