Connor McCaffery gets inspirational ink on his arm to honor brother's cancer fight

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Connor McCaffery got a little choked up Thursday at his family’s fundraising event for cancer research.

The cause is close to his heart, and now etched on his arm, McCaffery said, showing off a tattoo he got last year in honor of his brother, Patrick.

“Cancer’s a huge part of my life,” said Iowa’s second-year backup point guard and son of head basketball coach Fran McCaffery. “I got it tattooed on my body.

“(Patrick) is going to get this tattoo as well. We’re going to match. That’s how much this means to me.”

Connor McCaffery displays the tattoo Thursday that he got last year in honor of his younger brother, Patrick, a cancer survivor. Both of Fran McCaffery's sons will be playing for the Hawkeye basketball team next winter.

Patrick is a senior at Iowa City West who will be joining Connor on the Hawkeye team next winter. He survived a bout with thyroid cancer four years ago.

The tattoo on Connor’s arm reads: “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live.” It is accompanied by the No. 22, which Patrick wears. The quote is from a famous speech by ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

The annual McCaffery fundraising dinner is in its seventh year, with proceeds going to the University of Iowa Hospitals. It is earmarked for the Adolescents and Young Adults cancer program.

The total money raised in the seven years was expected to eclipse the $1 million mark Thursday, said Fran McCaffery, who lost both of his parents to cancer.


Fran McCaffery said it has not yet been confirmed that freshman guard C.J. Fredrick suffered a broken rib in practice this week after stepping into the lane to take a charge on onrushing power forward Tyler Cook.

“He’s got some pain,” McCaffery said. “He didn’t practice Wednesday and I don’t think he will Friday. He might be able to play Sunday (in a scrimmage against Missouri). It’s not something that I would aggressively push.”

Fredrick did impress his teammates with his bravery. His fall was so violent that they also X-rayed his arm to see if it was broken. It wasn’t.

“He was doing pretty well (Wednesday),” McCaffery said. “(The rib) might be cracked, but it’s not displaced.”


Hawkeye center Luka Garza returned to full practices Monday, seven weeks removed from surgery to extract a 9-pound cyst from his abdomen. Things are going so well that he expects to play in Sunday’s scrimmage, Garza said Thursday.

His main issue has been fatigue in his first few practice sessions and scrimmages, Garza said.

“The recovery went better than me or the doctors could have hoped,” said Garza, who was completely away from basketball activities for 3½ weeks. “My only struggle right now is my conditioning. Once I get that back — I will — I’ll be on my way.”

Garza said he has been hit in the abdomen a couple of times in practices and has experienced no soreness. He is looking forward to testing himself against Missouri.

McCaffery is eager to see his team in action against another major-college team as well.

“You get a chance to look at everybody and everything. There’s not like there’s even a winner and a loser,” McCaffery said. “You’re going to play different periods where we’re working on pressing, zone, different lineups, backups, starters, different combinations, late-game action.

“Just two teams that are in one place trying to get better.”