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Harty: With Fleming committed, what’s next for the 2015 class?

[ 0 ] May 12, 2014 |

In the neverending world of recruiting, Andrew Fleming committing to Iowa on Monday already is old news.

Now the question is: Who’s next?

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery still has three scholarships available for the 2015 recruiting class and there are areas that have to be addressed.

McCaffery needs to land what veteran recruiting analyst Van Coleman described as a big nasty.

“They need to get a big, physical athlete, a 6-foot-7 to 6-10 kid who can rebound and attack the basket and who can maybe pop and face a little bit as well,” said Coleman, who has evaluated high school prospects for more than three decades. “That to me is a key need. And I think they need another athlete.”

The 6-foot-5 Fleming is the second player to commit to Iowa’s 2015 recruiting class. Brandon Hutton, a 6-6 small forward from De La Salle High School in Chicago, picked Iowa in early March.

Hutton will add some much-needed athleticism, especially on defense, which is considered his strength. But he isn’t tall enough to be a true power forward in the Big Ten.

McCaffery tried to address that need in the 2014 recruiting class, and he might have to a certain extent with the addition of 6-8 forward Dominique Uhl. But McCaffery also missed on several power forward targets in the 2014 class, including 6-8 junior college All-American Willie Atwood, who signed with Arizona State last month.

The good news is that McCaffery can hold on to the scholarship and use it for the 2015 class. It’ll only be good news, though, if the scholarship is used to fill a specific need.

The practice of holding scholarships and pointing to the next recruiting class as being the key is risky because you eventually have to address the now.

Shooting guard Peter Jok was the only player in Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class because only one scholarship was available for that class. It wasn’t considered that big of a deal at the time because it was assumed that McCaffery would make up for it by landing a deep and talented 2014 class.

Iowa’s 2014 recruiting class, which also features junior-college point guard Trey Dickerson, is hardly chopped liver. But it’s also not a star-studded class and likely will be ranked in the lower half of the Big Ten Conference when the dust settles.

Only time and his performance will tell if Fleming is a good catch for McCaffery.

Right now, it looks promising on paper because Iowa will have a void at shooting guard after senior-to-be Josh Oglesby uses up his eligibility next season. The plan is for Fleming and incoming freshman Brady Ellingson to compete for playing time at shooting guard.

Both players have decent size — Ellingson is listed at 6-4 — and they both reportedly can torch the nets from long distance, which is something Iowa desperately needs.

Outside of Matt Gatens, and Devyn Marble at times, McCaffery hasn’t had a dependable 3-point shooter to rely on. The hope is that Fleming and Ellingson will fill that need.

Several factors contributed to Iowa’s collapse at the end of last season, not the least of which was poor perimeter shooting.

The team also struggled to defend and to rebound down the stretch, which points to why Coleman feels it’s critical for Iowa to land a big nasty, along with another athletic player.

Fleming plans to recruit for Iowa now that he’s committed. He claims to know at least 150 of the top 200 players nationally in the 2015 class because of his extensive AAU experience.

“It’s time to start making things happen,” Fleming said of recruiting.

In other words, it’s time to land a big nasty or two.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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