CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Thursday it’s likely the basketball program won’t use all of his three available scholarships for the upcoming season.
“Honestly, probably not three,” said McCaffery, who is entering his second season as Hawkeyes’ coach. ”It’s probably more of a function that I don’t think we need three. But again, if the right three presented themselves, we would.”
Iowa has recruited players from New England to Southern California to Cedar Rapids this spring recruiting period but have yet to sign one. Iowa and Nebraska are battling for 6-foot-5 guard Anthony Hubbard from Frederick (Md.) Community College, and Hubbard plans to announce his decision on Saturday.
McCaffery, who cannot talk about recruits until they sign a letter of intent, said he’s optimistic he can land a player in the next week. But he also said he could pull a recruit out later in the signing period. He spokes to reporters before Thursday’s Linn County I-Club Spring Banquet at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center.
“I’ve signed some really good players in May and June in my career,” McCaffery said. “I don’t panic and hurry up to get done. We get the right people.
“I don’t panic. I just don’t panic. I like who we have. I feel much better this year than I did last year at this time because I had no idea what we had, who was coming. We didn’t know what we had in Bryce Cartwright. A lot of question marks. This year I think we solidified some areas. We’ve got some really good players coming in. We only lose one good player.”
Center Jarryd Cole, who averaged 8 points and 6.3 rebounds a game last season, graduates in May. Point guard Cully Payne missed all but five games after he had season-ending surgery to repair a sports hernia and torn oblique muscle. Payne asked for his scholarship release after the season and will transfer to Loyola of Chicago.
McCaffery said he wasn’t surprised that Payne wanted to leave the program.
“It was expected,” McCaffery said. “We didn’t have a ton of conversation about it, but I think when it was all said and done it wasn’t a surprise.”
McCaffery said he’s looking less at specific positions and more at fit in recruiting. He said Cedar Rapids Washington point guard Wes Washpun’s decision to spurn Iowa for Tennessee made no bearing on his recruiting efforts this spring.
“Good players, that’s what we’re looking for regardless of position,” McCaffery said. “That’s kind of how I do it, generally. At some point we need a point, we all know that. But generally I’m looking for good players who can do multiple things on the floor and play the kind of way we want to play, which is with versatility and faster with more pressure. I’d like to play next year even much faster than we played this year if we could.”