Jalen Suggs looked every bit like a five-star, top-10 prospect at the Under Armour Association Session II in Kansas City. The Des Moines Register
Before we get to the mailbag, some junior college recruiting news: Indian Hills guard Tomas Woldetensae has committed to Virginia over the likes of Illinois, UCF and others.
The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter knocked down 47.6% of his 3-balls last season, and he projects to contribute immediately to the reigning national champion.
Right after after that news came out, I got this question on Twitter:
"Is there a reason Fran (McCaffery) wasn't looking at this guy?"
Iowa was not recruiting Woldetensae. And, of course, hindsight is 20/20, but you'd have to think an immediately eligible, nearly 50-percent long-range shooter with length could help a team with three open scholarships and a lack of shooting guard depth.
Again, though, hindsight is 20/20. Iowa wasn't in its current predicament during the height of Woldetensae's recruitment. If it was, maybe it gives him a call.
You can wonder the same thing about Iowa State, too. The Cyclones came to watch Woldetensae in October, but the interest never really developed.
Teams have different needs and different types of players in mind when they look for additions to their rosters, and I'm sure both staffs had their reasons for not seriously pursuing Woldetensae.
But, man, it sure feels like this guy could've helped either team in the 2019-20 season.
Now, let's get to this week's questions.
What transfers do (the Cyclones) realistically have a chance at getting for 2019? — @markallendaniel
Iowa State is mainly involved with three transfers right now — two sit-outs and one graduate.
The newest name is Penn State combo guard Rasir Bolton, who is set for an official visit with the Cyclones this weekend. He was one of the Big Ten's best freshmen last year, averaging 11.6 points, two rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. Assistant coach William Small is the point man, and this relationship has developed quite quickly since the end of April. There's momentum here. I'm not aware of other visits for Bolton. So, at this point, I'd say Iowa State is in a good spot.
Then there's Troy wing Javan Johnson, who will begin his official visit to Ames on Thursday. Johnson, a 6-7 sophomore, averaged 10.4 points last year. The Cyclones have been involved for a while. I'm told Arkansas and Clemson are in the mix, too.
Arkansas-Little Rock guard Rayjon Tucker is still the big graduate transfer that Steve Prohm and Co. are recruiting. He was on campus last week. Memphis, Auburn and Kansas are among the other schools in the picture. Based on competition, this might be the toughest nut to crack for Iowa State.
Grad transfers, who are (the Hawkeyes) linked to? — @aaronlyons24
This week hasn't been as kind to the Hawkeyes.
Notre Dame wing transfer D.J. Harvey, who officially visited Iowa last week, committed to Vanderbilt on Tuesday. Stadium's Jeff Goodman also reported Marquette transfers Sam and Joey Hauser would decide among Virginia, Michigan State and Wisconsin, leaving Iowa out of the picture.
Odds were always slim the Hausers would sign with Iowa, but there was thought Harvey, who played his AAU ball with Luka Garza, could wind up in Iowa City.
Now, getting to the question: I haven't heard of Iowa being tied to any graduate transfers at the moment. And with Isaiah Moss' transfer, immediate help — especially at shooting guard — would greatly benefit the Hawkeyes.
Fran McCaffery's track record suggests he wouldn't go after a grad transfer. We'll see if he makes an exception in this case.
But this is important: Iowa won't add a recruit just to fill a scholarship. Especially with a grad transfer, the player would need to project as an immediate contributor.
The problem is that many of the country's best grad transfers who could make an instant impact in the Big Ten already have an established list of suitors. That doesn't mean Iowa can't jump in, but it might be difficult to make significant progress.
Of course, that's just with the current group in the transfer portal. If new grad transfers sprout up in the coming weeks, Iowa may have better odds with one of those if it decides to get involved.
Another option is to recruit remaining high school prospects. But, again, the kid would need to be an under-the-radar gem; Iowa isn't looking to just to add a body to the roster.
Ultimately, the Hawkeyes may hold onto the three open spots and focus on 2020.
If that's the case, the 2020 class would need to be big — in number and in impact. Iowa wouldn't be able to afford a lackluster class. It currently has six open 2020 spots; five if Cordell Pemsl returns with a medical redshirt. That's a daunting number, even with C.J. Fredrick and Jack Nunge redshirting last season.
Remember when we talked about how those redshirts eased the burden on Iowa's 2020 recruitment? That's why it made sense Iowa was pursuing sit-out transfers, who'd begin their Hawkeye eligibility in 2020.
So while it's enticing to want immediate help with a grad transfer, don't forget the important of sit-out transfers — especially in Iowa's situation.
Is Iowa getting involved again with PG Bryan Greenlee out of Florida with the Moss departure? — @hawkeye1992
Iowa offered Florida product Bryan Greenlee late last summer when it was still trying to add a 2019 point guard. That recruitment ended when New York product Joe Toussaint picked the Hawkeyes on Sept. 8.
I messaged Greenlee on Tuesday, and he said Iowa is not currently recruiting him. He recently took an official visit to Illinois State and is still considering his options.
If Iowa does look to another 2019 piece, it likely wouldn't be a point guard. It's pretty secure at that position next year with Jordan Bohannon, Connor McCaffery and Toussaint, and it's targeting a few high-level options in 2020.
What are you hearing on (Chase) Courbat, (Michael) Duax, and (Angelo) Winkel for the 2021 class? — @PoptartLudwig
For those who don't know, Cedar Falls power forward Chase Courbat is the Register's No. 1 in-state 2021 basketball prospect, Dubuque Hempstead guard/wing Michael Duax is No. 5 and Bishop Garrigan power forward Angelo Winkel is No. 7.
Drake kept a close eye on Courbat and Duax during the April live evaluation period, when they both played at a high level. They're also on Iowa and Northern Iowa's radars.
Winkel is also on the in-state radar. He didn't play during April's live period so I don't have as much recent information on him, but schools like his potential. One of the keys moving forward for Winkel, a bouncy 6-8 big, is consistency. He has the talent to be a top-five kid in Iowa's 2021 class.
What do you think about Pettway transferring in from Arkansas? — @ted_rood
He's a great get.
As our Randy Peterson wrote, Pettway won't be expected to duplicate what Butler did in Ames. But he does project as an instant-impact receiver who can do some good things.
Richard Davenport, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's recruiting reporter, has followed Pettway both at Nashville High in Nashville, Arkansas, and at the university.
"Big, physical kid who is a good blocker," Davenport told me about Pettway. "Kind of a guy that should know the ropes and should be able to pick things up pretty quickly, versus a guy that maybe is or first- or second-year guy transferring in.
"This will be his fifth year. He could be one of those guys that catches 30, 40, 50 balls and really makes a difference."
Bottom line: Pettway is a proven veteran, big-bodied, 6-3 receiver with Power Five experience. Any time you can add a guy like that, you're happy — especially when you're looking for someone to fill Butler's spot in the offense.
Any idea when either (Xavier Foster) or guys like (Jalen) Suggs would commit? They have a timetable? — @RyanFitzgerald1
During the April live period, Oskaloosa five-star power forward Xavier Foster told me he plans to see how his recruitment plays out this spring and summer, perhaps take some more official visits in the late summer/early fall and then decide during his senior year.
I haven't heard plans that specific from Minneapolis five-star point guard Jalen Suggs, but I'd imagine he'll be a senior-year commitment, too. He still has so much to consider, as he's also a four-star quarterback. And he's got a decent shot to add some blue-blood offers this summer, too.
Matthew, is there still a chance Iowa comes in late in (Bowen) Born do you think? — @CoachDelaney6
My personal opinion: Yes.
As I've been writing for a while, Born is a similar prospect to Bohannon when he came out of Linn-Mar in 2016. And remember: Iowa didn't offer its current point guard until August before his senior year.
Iowa is monitoring Born. Dominoes would need to fall before it'd offer, but we'll see.
McCaffery's program isn't the only high-major watching Born. Creighton visited him at Norwalk last Thursday. The Blue Jays haven't offered, but they've shown interest in the lefty point guard since early fall.
Give me something to feel optimistic about as an Iowa basketball fan. — @racecarpassenger
Like I said earlier in this mailbag: Recruiting success can come in a flurry, and bad stuff can come in a flurry, too. It happens, and Iowa basketball is going through the ringer right now, losing Moss and missing on Harvey and the Hausers.
This is college basketball.
This stuff ebbs and flows.
The Hawkeyes' downward patch won't last forever. Iowa Basketball Land isn't coming to an end. That might be a cold comfort, but it's the truth. Iowa can generate some momentum when it announces the hiring of its third assistant coach.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.