Patrick McCaffery talks about Joe Wieskamp’s legacy. Dargan Southard/Press-Citizen
Hawkeye recruit Patrick McCaffery will not play for the Iowa Barnstormers this offseason.
In a phone call with the Register on Monday, McCaffery said he has decided to play his AAU basketball this spring and summer with D1 Minnesota, an adidas Gauntlet program based out of Minneapolis.
McCaffery said it would have been difficult to stay with the Barnstormers after Greg Stephen, his former coach and former Barnstormers co-director, was arrested by the FBI and charged in federal court with knowingly transporting child pornography.
"I don’t really know how to say this, but I just felt like (in order) to accomplish what I want to accomplish this summer, I just needed a fresh start — a clear mind," McCaffery said. "I didn’t think, with all the stuff that happened with Greg, that that was going to be possible with the Barnstormers anymore. Just too many memories there."
On Feb. 23, the Register learned that Stephen, who’d been with the Barnstormers program since it began in 2005, was being investigated by Iowa’s Department of Criminal Investigations for possessing videos of boys undressing to the point of nudity in what appeared to be a hotel bathroom.
Stephen was arrested on March 13. A criminal complaint unsealed that day alleges Stephen confessed to secretly recording three boys, ages 12, 13 and 14, naked in a hotel room during a trip to Illinois. If convicted, Stephen faces between five and 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least five years of supervised release following imprisonment.
McCaffery isn’t the only former Barnstormers player to switch teams this offseason. Even Brauns, one of the state’s top 2020 prospects, told the Register he will play for Wisconsin Playground Warriors. Trey Hutcheson and Derek Krogmann, both quality 2019 prospects, will play for Martin Bros AAU this offseason.
"Obviously, there’s going to be some bumps in the road when something like this happens," McCaffery said of players’ reaction to the revelations regarding Stephen, "so I just felt like I needed to separate myself from it and try to play with a clear head."
Although he’s already committed to Iowa, McCaffery still has plenty to play for this offseason. He’s within range of a McDonald’s All-American Game invitation, and he said he wants to prove he belongs among the upper echelon of the country’s 2019 prospects.
He will play on a top-tier D1 Minnesota 17U roster, which includes 2019 Iowa targets Tyrell Terry and Matthew Hurt. Terry is an intelligent and efficient point guard out of Minneapolis. Hurt, a power forward, is a five-star, top-10 prospect in the 2019 class.
"They definitely won’t be able to say I didn't try to get them to come to Iowa," McCaffery said. "They’ll be getting an earful from me all the time."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.