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Hoops prospect visits

BY BRENDAN STILES | APRIL 28, 2010 7:30 AM

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Melsahn Basabe, a 6-7 forward who originally signed a letter of intent to play for Fran McCaffery at Siena, may possibly reunite with McCaffery at Iowa.

Basabe flew into the Quad Cities on Tuesday, his high-school coach David Lubick said, and he will visit Iowa City with his mother today.

The Glen Cove, N.Y., native averaged 13 points and nine rebounds per game as a senior at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Mass. Lubick said he has been impressed with how Basabe has handled the transition, noting that a big part of his initial decision to go to Siena was because of McCaffery.

“He liked Siena because it was close to home. He liked the way they played and everything like that, but much of it was about Coach McCaffery,” Lubick said. “When this opportunity presented itself, he was pretty much calm about the whole thing and just decided to bide his time.

“It was made clear to him before he committed to Siena that Coach McCaffery believed in him strongly, and he knew he was going to have the opportunity to follow him if he went somewhere.”

Should Basabe become a Hawkeye, he would fill one of four available scholarships McCaffery has at his disposal. More importantly, the addition would add more depth to the Iowa roster, which has nine players on scholarship, including incoming freshmen Zach McCabe and Devyn Marble.

“This gives them a guy who is similar [to former Hawkeye Aaron Fuller], at least in terms of size, athleticism, on the wing, in the post,” HawkeyeReport.com publisher Tom Kakert said. “It gives them a guy who can create his own shot, handle the ball a little bit. He’s an athletic player who they really don’t have in terms of that size on the roster right now.”

Kakert also said Ben Brust is still considering Iowa and remains in contact with McCaffery. The Mundelein, Ill., native was released from his scholarship on April 11 and has spoken to and visited numerous schools including Wisconsin and Boston College.

However, a recent ruling by the Big Ten prevents the 6-2 guard from joining another conference school on scholarship besides Iowa.

“I think the whole waiver process may have pushed things back a little bit,” Kakert said. “I think he really wanted to make a decision fairly soon, and now, I don’t think that’s as likely, although you never know.”

Should Brust decide to go elsewhere, he would be the second commitment from former coach Todd Lickliter’s 2010 class lost. Forward Cody Larson chose to attend Florida last week. The Hawkeyes also are left with scholarships after previous releases of Fuller on April 9 and Anthony Tucker on Feb. 11.

The spring signing period concludes on May 19.

On the coaching front, McCaffery is still trying to land one more assistant coach and a graduate assistant. Iowa Sports Information Director Matt Weitzel said on Tuesday no real timetable is in place to fill the third assistant coaching vacancy and that McCaffery could make a decision anytime.

The Iowa head coach has hired two assistants, Andrew Francis and Kirk Speraw. Francis worked under McCaffery at Siena; Speraw, a former Hawkeye player for Lute Olson, was hired April 23 after a 17-year head-coaching stint at Central Florida.


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