IOWA CITY — Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery won’t tolerate what he feels are unnecessary shots at his players, even when they come from his own fan base.
On his Wednesday night radio show, a fan called in to complain about senior Zach McCabe’s contributions and minutes. McCaffery called the comments “out of line” during the show. Friday, McCaffery once again defended McCabe and chided the fan.
“(McCabe’s) going to score 900 points and get 500 rebounds and he’s trying to rip the kid on my radio show,” McCaffery said. “That’s not going to happen, not on my show. I don’t care if the guy — I was this close to saying, ‘You know what? Don’t preface what you’re getting ready to say by saying I’m a big Hawk fan. No, you’re not. No, you’re not. Go root for somebody else.’ I don’t have time for that guy.”
McCabe, a 6-foot-7 forward, has played in 129 games with 39 starts over his four-year career. He and fellow senior Melsahn Basabe are on track to set a new school record for most games played when the season is complete.
During his career, McCabe has scored 835 points for a 6.5 per-game average. In Iowa’s last home game against Michigan, he scored seven points, grabbed six rebounds and dished four assists with no turnovers.
“He’s been a terrific player for us for four years, a great teammate, tremendous captain,” McCaffery said. “He has won games for us. I use him in so many different ways. But he clearly is under-appreciated in many ways. Not you guys. You guys see it. But think back to the Minnesota game. They’re pressing us all over the place. Who brought the ball up? He did, as much as everybody else on our team.
“And we had no problems with the press, because McCabe got the ball on the floor, threw it over, drove it, kicked it, whatever it took. You think back to the Xavier game, he’s making all the 3s when we’re down 15 or 17, he’s making all the 3s. People forget about that.”
McCabe has had tough games, especially against Ohio State where he was a combined 1-for-16 from the field. But he also was 8-of-16 from 3-point range during the Battle for Atlantis tournament. He defends three positions, is a skilled passer and an inside-outside scorer.
“You have to appreciate what a guy brings to the table every day,” McCaffery said. “He comes with it. He gives me everything he’s got every day with tremendous attitude and support of all of his teammates. You’re not going to bad mouth him, not in front of me.”