Is Iowa men's basketball's 2022 recruiting class complete? Fran McCaffery says program is 'never done'
Last week, Iowa men's basketball signed two prospects during the early signing period. And the Hawkeyes may not be done, according to head coach Fran McCaffery.
The Hawkeyes have a pair of three-star guards in their 2022 class: Dasonte Bowen of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, and in-state product Josh Dix. Could Iowa sign additional players? McCaffery noted on Monday that the work on the recruiting trail is never done.
"Never done. We could sign another one potentially," McCaffery said. "It all depends on the rest of our roster, who comes back, who doesn't."
It's understandable why Iowa focused on guards for this recruiting cycle. Iowa's 2021-22 roster has four seniors and three of them are guards: Austin Ash, Jordan Bohannon and Connor McCaffery.
When Bowen (point guard) and Dix (shooting guard) arrive on campus, expect them to develop as a potential backcourt duo. McCaffery said their styles mesh well.
"(Dasonte) is really creative, he's versatile, he's got size, length," McCaffery said. "He's got the ability to get in the lane. He can score. He's got great feel and he's a competitor.
"Josh, kind of the same way. He's a little bit bigger than Dasonte, but just really, really good sense of how to play the game. He's really tough. He's smart. He can score. He can run the point. He can play different positions defensively."
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Iowa's 2022 recruiting class ranks 55th in the country according to 247Sports. Dix, a Council Bluffs native, is the second-highest rated prospect in the state. Seven of Iowa's 15 players are in-state players. McCaffery said he and his staffer often see players during the seventh or eighth grade and begin watching their progress. That in-state pipeline will remain a priority.
"Sometimes they're not ready when they're in ninth grade or 10th grade, but they are when they are in 12th grade," McCaffery said. "Our staff understands that we want to make sure that we know all these guys and we evaluate them properly, we develop a relationship with them, invite them on campus as youngsters. Do they fit our style of play? Do they fit a need that we have?"
What position could Iowa be looking at next? Center/forward Filip Rebraca is the fourth senior on the team. If forward Keegan Murray's first-round NBA draft projection holds up, there's a good chance he'll depart. A big or a forward with position versatility would round out this class nicely.
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Other notes from Monday's weekly press conference:
Joe Toussaint is adjusting well
One of the biggest storylines this season is junior point guard Joe Toussaint moving into the starting lineup. Through two games, McCaffery likes what he sees.
"He impacts the game in so many different ways," McCaffery said. "I think he's really playing with a maturity that we knew he could get to, and we're happy for him."
Toussaint leads the team in assists per game (5), steals per game (3) and is shooting 71% from the field. And he's enjoyed playing alongside Bohannon, who shifted over to shooting guard to make space for Toussaint when Bohannon decided to return to Iowa for a sixth season.
"He plays off me and I play off of him," Toussaint said. "He's always in the right place at the right time for me and I just make the play. Me and Jordan just click on the court."
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McCaffery and Toussaint both pointed out a few turnovers in last week's win over UMKC as an area to improve offensively. He's made his biggest impact on the defensive side, and coach McCaffery and fellow teammates credit him for his work in that area. Toussaint is embracing the role of tone-setter on defense and sees it as a way to open up everything else on the court.
"I'm just trying to make my guys' life easier," Toussaint said. "I'll do all the dirty work, I'll do all the hard work. When they see me pressuring, it just gives them a sense of urgency, too, that just makes everyone better."
Iowa has great respect for NC Central
The Hawkeyes will take the court for their third game of the season on Tuesday night at home against North Carolina Central.
The Eagles are 0-2 this season but McCaffery isn't taking them lightly. He expressed the respect he has for their program on Monday.
NC Central won three consecutive Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament championships from 2017-19 and likely would have made a fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2020 had it not been canceled due to COVID. McCaffery also pointed out that the Eagles have nine transfers on this year's team hailing from other Division I programs such as College of Charleston, Georgia Southern and Providence.
"That's a team with winning DNA," McCaffery said. "It's hard to do what (coach) LeVelle (Moton) has done there: multiple championships, multiple NCAA Tournament appearances.
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NC Central is likely a step up from Iowa's previous two opponents, but this is a game the Hawkeyes should win convincingly if they play up to their standards. Games like these are critical for development when considering what's to come in December.
"When you are playing games this time of year, regardless of who you're playing against, you just want to get better," McCaffery said. "You want to get better collectively, individually, you want to build confidence, and you want to settle down into what we want to accomplish.
"You have to continue to get better and you've got to continue to grow, especially when you have some young guys trying to step up."
Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.