In the hit-and-miss world of recruiting, coaches have to be ready to move on in the wake of bad news.
Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery is now in that position after high school senior point guard Cezar Guerrero from Bellflower, Calif., announced on Monday that he had committed to Oklahoma State over Iowa and Oklahoma.
Guerrero might have been at or near the top of McCaffery’s wish list for a point guard, but other options are being considered, including 6-foot-2 Eli Carter.
Carter originally signed with St. Bonaventure coming out of high school, but then was granted a release from his scholarship and now attends Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. Carter played at perennial power St. Anthony High School in New Jersey.
“I think right now (the Iowa coaches) are going to have to look at him as the top high school kid,” recruiting analyst Van Coleman said of Carter. Carter told Hawkeye Insider.com on Monday that he still liked Iowa, but wasn’t sure when or if he would schedule an official visit.
Other point guard possibilities at the high school level include 5-10 Mike Powell Jr. from Chicago and local standout Wes Washpun from Cedar Rapids Washington.
Powell averaged 23 points per game as a senior this season and played in the same backcourt with Wisconsin recruit George Marshall at Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago.
“He’s very quick and explosive,” Coleman said of Powell. “He had a great senior year. He plays with the kid that’s going to Wisconsin. And on a given night, one was better than the other each night. But they were basically pretty even ball players.”
Washpun played in the same high school backcourt with 6-5 Iowa recruit Josh Oglesby.
Coleman said Iowa is also still evaluating several junior college guards, including teammates Darius Smith and Pierre Jackson, who attend the College of Southern Idaho. Matt Glover, a 6-4 freshman at Sheridan Junior College in Wyoming, also has heard from the Iowa coaches.
The 6-2 Smith was a four-star recruit coming of high school in Chicago and played his freshman season at Connecticut before transferring. Jackson only stands 5-10, but the Las Vegas native averaged nearly 17 points per game this season playing alongside Smith.
Anthony Hubbard, a 6-5 combo guard from Frederick Community College in Maryland already has visited Iowa and also is considering Penn State, Rutgers, Iona and Kansas State among others. Hubbard told Hawkeye Insider.com that Iowa offered him a scholarship more than two weeks ago. Hubbard is 25 years old and spent nearly four years in prison after pleading guilty to robbery stemming from an incident in 2003.
“They’ve got to now decide are they going to go junior college?” Coleman said of the Iowa coaches. “I think because they put so much time in with Cezar they may have lost a little ground with Carter. So now it’s a matter of re-finding yourself and seeing where that goes.”
The Iowa coaches also are recruiting several front-line players, both in high school and in junior college. A new name being mentioned is 6-11, 265-pound Philip Jurick, who attends Chattanooga Community College in Tennessee. Jurick originally signed with Tennessee and now has schools like West Virginia, Cincinnati, Georgia and Oklahoma recruiting him.
“He’s skilled big man and solid rebounder,” Coleman said. “He could help immediately.”
Another post player on Iowa’s radar is 6-10 Gabe Olaseni, who attends Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. Olaseni is expected to visit Iowa later this month. However, Olaseni’s prep school teammate 6-8 Eric Katenda, hasn’t decided if he will visit Iowa.
As for Guerrero’s decision, Coleman said the Iowa coaches had to overcome plenty of obstacles just to finish second. Coleman said McCaffery didn’t make Guerrero a priority until Iowa sophomore point guard Cully Payne was lost for the season in early December because of a sports hernia. Iowa also just finished having a fourth consecutive losing season for the first time ever.
“The fact that you got to the final two on this kid when you never recruited him before December of this year and he turned down looking at UCLA and didn’t go visit Kansas, I mean think about that,” Coleman said. “That’s pretty good to be in that position.
“What (fans) have to understand is this is a top-50 kid. He’s going to end up being rated in the top 50 at the end of the school year. And so what the bottom line is; when you swing at top 50 kids and they’re not in you’re immediate recruiting area you’re going to miss on some of them. And then you get a few breakthroughs and then things change.”
McCaffery wants to sign two players this spring, preferably a guard and a front-line player, after signing Oglesby and 6-8 high school senior Aaron White from Strongsville, Ohio in November.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball