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Fran McCaffery talks recruiting after losing Atwood

[ 0 ] April 24, 2014 |

NEWTON, Ia. – Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery was in Nashville, Tenn., at a speaking engagement Thursday when he got the news that Connors State forward Willie Atwood had picked Arizona State over the Hawkeyes.

Fran McCaffery talks to his team during Iowa's NCAA Tournament loss to Tennessee. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

Fran McCaffery talks to his team during Iowa’s NCAA Tournament loss to Tennessee. (Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports)

“I got a call from his coach,” McCaffery said.

McCaffery declined to discuss Atwood’s decision in detail. Instead, he looked ahead to 2014-15 and his plans for two open scholarships.

“I like going into this (2015) class with scholarships,” McCaffery said during an appearance at the Jasper County I-Club later Thursday.

One of those open scholarships has been offered to Cole Huff, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward transfer from Nevada. Huff is visiting Creighton this weekend, then will visit Iowa and Dayton the following two weekends. Huff also plans to visit Michigan.

Iowa already has a verbal commitment from one Class of 2015 prospect — Brandon Hutton, a 6-6 forward from Chicago DeLaSalle. With Huff, the Hawkeyes will still have three scholarships to fill because Josh Oglesby, Aaron White and Gabe Olaseni will be seniors next season.

Iowa has signed three players for next season. Guard Brady Ellingson and forward Dominique Uhl will be freshmen and signed last fall. The Hawkeyes also signed junior college point guard Trey Dickerson this spring. Dickerson has three seasons of eligibility remaining. McCaffery said all three will play next season.

Ellingson is a shooting guard. Uhl is a small forward.

“He’s 6-9, long and athletic,” McCaffery said of Uhl. “He can play (power forward) but he’s probably 200 pounds tops right now. He’s got a great frame. He’s going to put weight on.”

Dickerson will compete with Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons at point guard.

“He’s a really good player,” McCaffery said. “He can score, play fast or play in the half-court. He’s an athlete. He breaks down defenses and creates shots for other people. He throws alley-oops, but he can also score. Is he good enough to play in the Big Ten? Absolutely.”

Iowa looks stocked at both shooting guard and small forward. One guy expected to emerge is shooting guard Peter Jok.

“If he gets in the kind of shape he needs to be, he can play the three, because he’s big and strong,” McCaffery said. “He can get some rebounds.”

The coach also said small forward Jarrod Uthoff will get more minutes next season, “which maybe he should have last year.”

Playing centers Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni together is another possibility.

“Gabe will be more comfortable at (power forward),” McCaffery said. “He’d be excited about that, I think.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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