Old-school R&B and Patrick McCaffery: How Iowa is recruiting Malik Hall

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

LAS VEGAS — Iowa assistant coach Andrew Francis texts four-star forward Malik Hall every day. Many times, his messages have nothing to do with basketball.

Class of 2019 forward Malik Hall attempts a free throw at the Las Vegas Classic.

The topic of choice instead? Old-school R&B.

"He’s a music guy, sends me a lot of music," Hall told the Register, smiling. "He’s old school. He sends me a lot of different stuff about improving myself, improving my soul."

Whatever Francis is doing, it's worked so far. Hall said Iowa is among the schools that stand out the most in his recruitment right now. He said that list is long, but Oregon, Oklahoma, Purdue, Texas and TCU were programs he named off the top of his head. Kansas is also a major player here.

Francis identified Hall as an early 2019 target, and Iowa became one of his first high-major offers. Head coach Fran McCaffery has been fully involved for a long time, too. Hall said McCaffery calls him weekly, and the Hawkeyes' coach was on hand to watch Hall on Thursday.

"That’s been an ongoing relationship for a long time. They do a really good job," Hall said. "They do a pretty good job just keeping in touch and always keeping it something new — not just the same old talk."

Other schools that watched Hall (6-foot-7, 190 pounds) on Thursday included Purdue, Oregon, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, Missouri, Kansas, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa State, Memphis, Minnesota, SMU and Texas A&M.

Hall said Iowa's main recruiting pitch involves Patrick McCaffery.

"(They think) we could build a great team — me and Pat," he said. "I’m pretty close with Pat. We do a lot of talking and just a family feel. They’re trying to get a couple more pieces alongside me and Pat if I were to go there."

Iowa City West forward Patrick McCaffery takes the ball up court during a basketball game in the Justin Sharp Memorial Shootout at Rock Island High School on Friday, June 22, 2018 in Rock Island, Illinois.

Patrick McCaffery has been doing some recruiting of his own. Earlier this month, he told the Register he had gotten to know Hall well at the NBPA Top 100 — and that he was in his friend's ear about joining the Hawkeyes.

If Hall does team up with McCaffery, he said Iowa projects him as a stretch forward. Hall is about as stretchy as a stretch forward can get; Rivals even lists him as a small forward.

"I think everybody’s going toward a more versatile style, so that’s probably one of the main things, too," Hall said. "Everybody that’s on me is always talking about versatility and being able to play different spots and do different things for the team. That’s mostly what (Iowa coaches and I) talk about."

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_.