Amid an offseason that's included backcourt uncertainty, Iowa has found the piece it desperately needed.
Valparaiso graduate transfer Bakari Evelyn has committed to the Hawkeyes, he announced Sunday afternoon via Twitter. Evelyn had been on an official visit in Iowa City this weekend.
With Isaiah Moss' transfer and Jordan Bohannon's hip questions, the Hawkeyes had to add a veteran guard now. McCaffery hasn't dipped into the graduate transfer market often. But this one was needed.
A Detroit product, Evelyn originally committed to Nebraska out of high school. He played in 18 games as a freshman before transferring to Valpo. He averaged 12.6 points per game as a redshirt sophomore. His production dropped to 8.4 points per game as a redshirt junior, as he didn't have time to fully recover from offseason ankle surgery.
Evelyn recently took an official visit to New Mexico State. He also officially visited Portland State and heard from schools like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Cincinnati and Cal.
Iowa assistant coach Sherman Dillard offered Evelyn a scholarship during a phone call a couple of weeks ago, before the dead period started May 16. Dillard recruited Evelyn out of high school, and the Iowa coach has a good relationship with Evelyn's mother.
"I know him pretty well. Iowa has recruited me two times previously," Evelyn recently told the Register. "Dillard recruited me heavily while I was in high school in Michigan, in Detroit. He came up there a lot to see me. And then, when I was coming out of high school, deciding which college to go to, they wanted me to go to Iowa and redshirt — that’s when they had a really good team."
Fran McCaffery called the day after Dillard, reaffirming the Hawkeye pitch.
"They said, 'We've wanted you previously two times, so we already know the type of player you are,'" Evelyn said. "So the evaluation process got sped up a lot, I think."
Evelyn's opportunity to contribute immediately added to the Iowa appeal. Now, he'll get a chance to prove his worth.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.