IOWA CITY, Ia. – Fran McCaffery would consider taking a so-called college basketball "free agent" — a fifth-year player with one season of eligibility remaining — in light of point guard Trey Dickerson's departure from the Iowa program.
But the Hawkeyes' fifth-year coach said Tuesday that finding the right fit for a program that puts heavy emphasis on chemistry is a significant factor in recruiting a transfer.
"A lot of times, those things happen at the last second," McCaffery said. "You get a call, so-and-so is available, what do you think? You're looking at film, trying to do background checks on character to make sure you don't make a mistake there.
"Ultimately, what's important to me is our team chemistry. You start adding a guy who is a fifth-year guy, a transfer that's eligible right away, you want to make sure that they fit not only in terms of what you see on the floor, but they fit in the locker room."
With Dickerson's departure, McCaffery has two scholarships remaining for the class of 2015. He'd ideally like to use one for a big man, with Gabe Olaseni and Aaron White graduating, and one for a guard — though he said Tuesday that incoming recruits Isaiah Moss and Andrew Fleming could play the point if necessary.
The university announced Monday it had granted Dickerson's request to transfer to another school.
"I'm not doing anything other than trying to help the kid make sure he finishes strong here academically and put him in a position where he can transfer anywhere he wants," McCaffery said. "He's got to bear down there. We'll help him.
"Going to get a ton of phone calls about him. We'll talk to people, impress upon them that he has great character."
Put plainly, Dickerson wanted more playing time. The 6-foot sophomore got just 23 minutes of action in Iowa's first 14 Big Ten Conference games after coming here as a junior-college all-American with three years of eligibility.
One of the reasons Dickerson didn't get many minutes was because of the re-emergence of junior point guard Anthony Clemmons, who had struggled as a sophomore, as a backup to junior starter Mike Gesell.
Clemmons said Tuesday he had spoken with Dickerson about going through struggles.
"Most of it (not playing) is pride, but a lot of people can't take stuff like that," Clemmons said. "He was a strong enough individual and just said, 'Alright, I just can't go through it.' "