Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: Will Iowa tap into the junior college transfer market?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

Hopefully some of you all have been to Wells Fargo Arena this week. The Iowa boys’ state basketball tournament has not disappointed.

The top prospects are shining — Xavier Foster, Joe Wieskamp, Patrick McCaffery and Matthew Mims put on a show yesterday. And we’re getting some great upsets, too — Iowa football target Mosai Newsom’s Waverly-Shell Rock team topped No. 2 Mount Pleasant yesterday in the Class 3A quarterfinals.

If you haven’t been out to the Well, you’ve still got time. We’re finishing up the Class 4A quarterfinals and playing the Class 1A and 2A semifinals today. On Thursday, it’ll be the 3A and 4A semifinals. And then it’s championship Friday.

But now, it’s time for your Hawkeye recruiting questions.

This week’s mailbag will be a little shorter, as I’m squeezing this in between state tournament games.

Ivan Aurrecoechea attempts a shot during an Indian Hills basketball game in the 2016-17 season.

Are there any rumors of a player or two leaving the Iowa basketball team and picking up a juco or grad transfer? – @JoshBlock2

Tyler Cook dispelled any rumors of him transferring to Missouri with his Twitter post last week.

If players do want to transfer, Iowa would ideally know soon. Coaches started having their end-of-season player meetings this Monday. You’d think that’s where a player might break the news.

I wrote a couple weeks ago that, should a current player transfer, Iowa’s best bet would be to tap into the graduate transfer market. Perhaps a prolific point guard from a low-to-mid-major conference chomping at the bit to prove himself on the Big Ten stage.

Junior college would also be an option. Iowa hasn’t traditionally gone that way, but never say never.

This state is loaded with top-end juco talent, too. Indian Hills is undefeated and the best juco team in the country. Kirkwood, DMACC and Southwestern also usually produce some good Division I guys.

Here are a few of the top juco prospects still on the board in this state:

Ivan Aurrecoechea attempts a shot during an Indian Hills game in the 2016-17 season.

Ivan Aurrecoechea, forward (6-foot-8, 240 pounds), Indian Hills: Aurrecoechea is probably the best juco player in the state. His coach told me in November that he thought Aurrecoechea would sign with New Mexico, but that didn't happen. He’s got offers from UNM, South Florida, New Mexico State, Iona and Florida Atlantic.

Antonio Williams, guard (6-0, 185), Indian Hills: Quick, physical, athletic guard from Chicago. He has offers from Kent State, UM Kansas City, Green Bay and Northern Arizona.

Shane Gatling, guard (6-2, 170), Indian Hills: Lights-out shooter. He holds offers from Dayton, Towson, Iona, Fordham, Washington State and Akron.

Corey Manigault, forward (6-9, 230), Indian Hills: A transfer from Pitt who held high-Division I interest the moment he set foot on Indian Hills’ campus. Tulsa, Washington State, Colorado State and New Mexico State are pursing him.

Wali Parks, guard/forward (6-6, 210), DMACC: Explosive athlete and Iowa City West alum. He’s good friends with Patrick McCaffery. He holds offers from Green Bay, Bethune Cookman and Nicholls State.

It’s wayyy too early to have any real idea about this.

But I will say that Foster is poised for a breakout summer. (Duh, Matt.) He’s gotten blue-blood interest with his dominant high school play; he could land blue-blood offers with the same type of play on the AAU circuit.

In other words: Very soon, Iowa, Iowa State, Creighton and Texas A&M won’t be his only offers. Basically a who’s-who is already interested in Foster — including Kansas. I remember Foster’s dad bringing up Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota as teams that entered the interest party early this season.

And Tuesday night, I asked Foster’s head coach at Oskaloosa, Ryan Parker, if any other schools had shown interest throughout the season. His answer?


There’s a real chance that Foster, a five-star, top-20 sophomore prospect, will be sought out by some of the most prestigious programs in the country. So landing him would be a monumental win for Iowa or Iowa State.

For the second part of this question: A potential Cook transfer would have no impact on Foster’s decision, in my opinion. The two would never overlap years at Iowa – unless Cook redshirts for some reason.

What matters much more: Foster’s relationships with the coaches and the players he actually would play with.

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.