Notebook: Four recruits sign letters of intent to play at Iowa


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Versatility has been key for Iowa basketball head coach Fran McCaffery during his tenure at Iowa. Those players allow McCaffery’s teams to run and substitute as often as they do.

With the turnaround that’s occurred at Iowa under McCaffery, it’s no surprise he’s continued to recruit players that fit this mold.

That trend continued on Wednesday, when the Hawkeyes received four National Letters of Intent to attend the University of Iowa.

“I mean, obviously we lost [Melsahn] Basabe and [Zach] McCabe, and we’re going to lose [Gabe] Olaseni and [Aaron] White; we need some size,” McCaffery said about his newest class. “So we’ve got, I think quality. We’ve got some size. We’ve got versatility. We’ll need a little more size.”

Iowa received a letter of intent from Andrew Fleming — a 6-5, 205-pound guard from Nashville, Brandon Hutton — a 6-6, 210-pound forward from Chicago, Ahmad Wagner — a 6-7, 215-pound power forward from Yellow Springs, Ohio, and Isaiah Moss — a 6-5, 175-pound forward from Chicago.

Iowa still has one spot open for the 2015-16 season. However, McCaffery hasn’t decided whether Iowa will sign another recruit for next season or hold the spot for the following season.

“Obviously, when you go after a particular recruiting class you’re looking for certain things, and we feel like we’ve got them,” McCaffery said.

Starting five expected to remain the same

Surprises are rare this early in the season, but Anthony Clemmons exhibition start against Northwood would constitute as unexpected.

For now, that spot appears to be locked up by Clemmons; he is the projected starter for Iowa’s season-opener against Hampton Nov. 14.

“It’s not definite yet, but probably,” McCaffery said.

The starting spot for the 2-guard will likely rotate between several players this season. McCaffery has said he could see either Peter Jok or Josh Oglesby starting there as well.

But in McCaffery’s system, it’s more about who finishes the game on the floor rather than who starts there.

With Clemmons and Mike Gesell on the floor, the Hawkeyes become more defensive-orientated, especially on the perimeter.

“We take a lot of pride in [defense],” Gesell said. “In practice, when we’re on the same team, we joke about how many steals we can get that day.”

With either Oglesby or Jok on the floor, the Hawkeyes move into a more offensive mentality.

Oglesby shot 40.3 percent from 3-land last season, a career-high. And while Jok saw his time diminish as the season progressed, McCaffery referred to him as a player who could one day average 15-20 points per game.

“All four of those guys can play the 2-spot,” Aaron White said. “I’m probably just as interested as you guys to see what coach Fran wants to do with that. But the good thing is that they’ve all looked good.”

Ellingson’s status still in question

Freshman Brady Ellingson has been fighting off foot problems since he came to Iowa.

McCaffery said the recovery has been slow.

“Obviously, he’s been real slow,” McCaffery said. “He did a lot more in the last three days than he had in a while, but that was by design.”

Ellingson averaged 24.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game his senior season at Hamilton High School in Wisconsin. If he finds the court, he’ll add more shooting to an Iowa team that already has a sizable amount.

“Pretty soon he’ll be back playing, and then we’ll evaluate him and see where he is because he’s got to get back in playing shape,” McCaffery said. “Physically he looks good because [strength and conditioning coach] Bill Maxwell’s working him out hard in the weight room, but still, running is a whole other story.”

Follow @JacobSheyko on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.

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