Where Iowa stands with high-level target Dawson Garcia: 'His recruitment is evolving'

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

PLYMOUTH, Minn. — It didn't take long for Dawson Garcia to show why he's a top-30 star in the 2020 class Saturday at PrepHoops' Battle at the Lakes.

In D1Minnesota's first game that day, Dawson led a 4-on-3 fastbreak and fired a no-look bounce pass to a slashing teammate for the bucket. Soon after, he stopped a fastbreak by sprinting back on defense to close out on a corner shooter.

Here's the thing, though: Garcia is 6-foot-11.

He's also 220 pounds with guard-like skills. He's agile. He's active. He's under control. 

Class of 2020 prospect Dawson Garcia prepares for a 3-point shot at Battle at the Lakes.

Iowa realized all that nearly a year ago, offering the product of Prior Lake, Minnesota, the summer after his sophomore year. The Hawkeyes have prioritized him on the recruiting trail ever since. They're thought to be well-positioned at the moment.

And they'll try to hold on as Garcia's stock continues to surge this spring and summer.

"His recruitment is evolving," Al Harris, Garcia's AAU coach, told the Register, "because people are seeing him as even more versatile than they saw him last year."

That's the thing with Garcia. By the end of last July, he had already hauled in 10 offers because he was a skilled big who showed potential outside. Colleges mostly viewed him as a center or power forward, Harris said.

Now, after an offseason focused on developing agility and perimeter skills, including a solid 3-point shot, Garcia has morphed into a different kind of prospect. Harris said some schools now see Garcia as more of a multifaceted small forward.

"I’ve always been able to move well for my size," Garcia said. "But I really worked on (agility) in the offseason, and it’s helped me a lot more because now I feel like I can guard not just point guards, but the best point guards as well."

Purdue and Ohio State offered Garcia during his high school season, and the Iowa target has tacked on more offers from Indiana, Pittsburgh, California, Rutgers and Maryland since April.

Many other programs are showing interest, too.

Among that group? Kansas, Kentucky and Gonzaga, Garcia said.

"He’s going to have some more opportunity as the summer evolves. We’ll see what happens," Harris said. "Dawson’s a kid that can probably guard 1-5 at this level and the next. He’s going to be a special talent. Just his versatility, his attention to detail, his basketball IQ is unbelievable at times."

At this point, Garcia said his recruitment is "100 percent open" and that he hasn't narrowed his list at all. He plans to do that closer to the end of summer.

He said most schools that have offered him have remained in contact. It's clear the Hawkeyes are treating Garcia as a high-level target, though. They were in Minnesota several times this season to watch him play. They also hosted Garcia for an unofficial visit in March, and Fran McCaffery was up in Prior Lake for an in-home visit in April.

Former Hawkeye assistant coach Andrew Francis was Garcia's main recruiter. Since Francis left for Cal, assistant coach Sherman Dillard has taken over as the point man.

"I have a great relationship with Fran (McCaffery)," Garcia said. "Obviously, I know his son really well, Patrick, because he played on our 17U team last year. I went down there on an unofficial visit when they were playing Rutgers and the environment was really fun to see. I like how the gym is lowered and you walk down. I had a great talk with him and the assistants."

What is Iowa's main recruiting pitch?

"That they can utilize me," Garcia said. "They said they can allow me to play in the open floor and use my size and ability. They’re like, 'That’s the greatest play we can run for you.' Because sometimes the Big Ten has the slow pace reputation, but they’re about playing fast and getting their guys moving and sharing the ball well and just using their team’s versatility."

In addition to his unofficial Iowa visit, Garcia took three official visits as a junior to Texas, Marquette and Baylor. He said he's done with official visits this academic year. If he chooses to take more official visits as a senior, Iowa could "potentially" get one, he said.

Garcia is No. 2 on the Register's latest Iowa 2020 recruiting big board.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at mbain@dmreg.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.