Hawks Offer Atwood

With a bye week presented to him, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery hit the recruiting trail this week looking for future Hawkeyes. A stop at an Oklahoma junior college Wednesday resulted in a scholarship offer for power forward Willie Atwood.

Fran McCaffery showed up at Connors State College Wednesday afternoon with a message for power forward Willie Atwood.

"He looked me in the eyes and said, 'Willie, I want you to come play for me because you're the exact player I need,'" Atwood said.

With that, the Iowa coach offered him a scholarship, Atwood said.

"(McCaffery) said I'm real versatile," Atwood sad. "He knows I'm a tough kid. I can get the ball into the paint, I can be in the post. I can get it off the break and go. I can defend in different areas.

"He said it's hard to find a 6-8 kid that's real versatile. He said the thing he likes about me the most is that I can get the ball and I can go through traffic with my ball handling skills, think quick and make good decisions. He said he liked my ability to make plays for myself or others."

The 220-pound Atwood arrived at the Oklahoma junior college after prepping at Melrose High in Memphis. He ran AAU with the Memphis Bearcats. Through 22 games this season, he has averaged 20.3 points and 9.2 rebounds, shooting 56.0 percent from the floor and 78.3 from the line.

Wednesday marked the first time Atwood spoke in person with McCaffery.

"I thought he was a real cool, down-to-earth guy," Atwood said. "He told me it real. I thought he was real honest with me. I like him."

Atwood said he still has a lot to learn about Iowa as a school and basketball program. The Hawkeye offered impacted him, however.

"It means a lot," he said. "No Big Ten school is going to offer a player that can't play. That means I can play and he wants me. That's big. A lot of JUCO guys don't get Big Ten offers."

Atwood said he and McCaffery talked about him visiting Iowa City.

"I think I will," Atwood said. "It will probably be after the season."

Atwood, who also reports offers from Wichita State, Marshall, Western Kentucky and Murray State, is going slowly with his recruiting process.

"I'm just taking it in," he said. "It's a great thing but it's a lot to take in. I'm just trying to play it cool. I'm not trying to overwhelm myself. I'm trying to pass my classes and stay focused on my business here."

Atwood, who is interested in majoring in communications at a four-year school, said he is not sure what campus visits he'll take. Something on which to keep an eye is at where Williston State point guard Trey Dickerson is looking. They're good friends and expressing an interest in play at the same college.

"There will probably be a good chance," Atwood said. "Me and Trey, we're real cool with each other. We talk a lot. We're just going to see where it goes from here."

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