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Harty: Basketball recruiting questions answered

[ 0 ] July 19, 2013 |

Fran McCaffery has been an effective recruiter since taking over as the Iowa men’s basketball coach in March 2010.

He has landed hidden gems such as forward Aaron White and point guard Anthony Clemmons. And he withstood some of college basketball’s most storied programs to sign 7-foot-1 center Adam Woodbury.

Recruiting is a never-ending process, though, and that’s why McCaffery has been out on the road for most of this week trying to find the next pieces of the future.

So, as promised, here are 10 questions about the current state of Iowa men’s basketball recruiting:

Q: How many verbal commitments does Iowa have in its 2014 recruiting class?

A: None.

Q: Is that unusual compared to the rest of the Big Ten?

A: Not really, considering that three other Big Ten teams — Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska — also have no commitments in the 2014 class at this stage, and five teams — Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin and Northwestern — have only one each.

Q: Which Big Ten team has the most commitments in the 2014 class?

A: Ohio State leads the way with four verbal commitments, highlighted by 6-foot-7 small forward Keita Bate-Diop, a five-star recruit from Normal. Ill.

Q: Who is the most heralded recruit in the 2014 class to show a strong interest in Iowa?

A: That distinction belongs to 5-9 point guard Tyler Ulis, whose stock has risen considerably based on his performances on the AAU circuit. Ulis recently out-performed Tyus Jones in an AAU matchup and many consider Jones to be the top point guard in the 2014 senior class.

Iowa is among seven schools that Ulis is still considering, and there is speculation his choice ultimately will come down to the Hawkeyes, Michigan State and Purdue. Landing Ulis would be a major coup for McCaffery, not only because of Ulis’ ability, but also because Ulis lives in the Chicago area and the Hawkeyes have struggled to recruit in the Windy City, especially since Tony Freeman quit the team in 2008.

Q: Is there a reason to think that Iowa might have an advantage with Ulis?

A: McCaffery was the first Big Ten coach to offer Ulis a scholarship and they have since developed a strong relationship. Ulis recently was quoted in an article by Rivals.com as saying that he feels he can trust McCaffery.

Q: Has Iowa lost any recruits from the 2014 class that McCaffery’s supposedly coveted?

A: Malik Harris, a 6-7 forward from the Chicago area, was considered to be high on McCaffery’s wish list until he recently made a verbal commitment to Marquette.

Q: What is the latest on Pepperdine transfer Jordan Baker?

A: The 6-4 guard is in the process of visiting other schools, including a stop at San Jose State on Friday, according to Hawkeye Insider.com. Baker also will visit Florida State on July 26. He visited Iowa earlier this month.

Q: Who will be the first player to commit to Iowa’s 2014 recruiting class?

A: Fans would be thrilled if Ulis got the ball rolling, but he seems content on taking all five of his official visits. That could cause his recruitment to stretch into the fall. It’s impossible to make this prediction because numerous recruits claim to have scholarship offers from Iowa, but Ulis is one of few to put Iowa on a short list.

Q: Are there any players from the state of Iowa that currently hold scholarship offers from Iowa?

A: Dubuque native Seth Bonifas, who is entering his senior year at Dubuque Senior, said McCaffery offered him a scholarship as a freshman. However, Bonifas didn’t commit at the time, and now it’s uncertain if the offer is still on the table.

Q: What is the status of Iowa’s 2013 incoming recruiting class?

A: The class consists of just one player: 6-6 shooting guard Peter Jok. He played his junior and senior seasons at West Des Moines Valley under former Iowa point guard Jeff Horner after transferring from Des Moines Roosevelt. Jok was ranked at one time as the top high school freshman in the country, but his career was derailed by a knee injury. McCaffery stuck with Jok throughout the recovery process and that helped convince Jok to be a Hawkeye. Jok scored 35 points and made five 3-point baskets in his Prime Time League debut this summer. He is expected to help overcome the perimeter shooting woes that plagued Iowa last season.


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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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