Iowa fans hoping their team fills its remaining scholarship in the 2014 recruiting class this weekend shouldn't get their hopes up. Official visitor, Willie Atwood, plans to see more schools before committing.
Atwood, a power forward from Connors State College, is scheduled to be in Iowa City this Friday through Sunday. He also has an official visit set up to Florida State for April 10 that he expects to take.
Trey Dickerson, a JUCO point guard who committed to the Hawkeyes earlier this month on his official visit, is friends with Atwood. Dickerson said Tuesday that he could see his buddy joining him this weekend. The two are talking about playing together at a four-year school.
"I'm definitely going to take other visits (after Iowa)," Atwood said on Wednesday.
Atwood said that he's excited that Dickerson found his future home. He said there's a chance they'll team up but it's not a definite.
"If it works out, it would be cool, but if I see myself elsewhere, that's where I have to go," the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Atwood said. "It's my decision."
Iowa and Florida State emerged as official visit hosts based on Atwood's relationship with their head coaches, he said.
"They're pretty even right now," Atwood said of the two schools in the lead for his services.
Atwood said that Arizona State and Virginia Tech would be the next schools in line for official visits. Next week begins a recruiting dead period that ends with the completion of the Final Four on April 7.
"There's a chance that I could take some mid-week (official) visits," Atwood said.
Iowa, Florida State, Arkansas, Wichita State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Arizona State and TCU are among a large group of schools that have offered Atwood a scholarship, he said. Home-town Memphis jumped into the mix with him this week, he said.
"They just came in so we'll see where it goes," Atwood said.
Playing in his hometown isn't something that will weigh much into his decision, Atwood said.
"It really doesn't matter where I go," Atwood said. "I'm just looking for a program that feels like home. That doesn't have to be in Memphis.
"If I'm comfortable with the players and the coaching staff and the environment, that will be home."
Atwood said that Connors State Head Coach Bill Muse, and his assistant, Cameron Henderson, are guiding his recruitment along with his godfather. They're all stressing patience.
"They've let me know that it's on my timeline. Nobody should rush me. They said I should make sure I have a great relationship with the head coach because it's his decision when he's going to play me or take me out of the game," Atwood said.
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery has made a good impression on Atwood.
"I really don't know anything about Iowa until I get up there but I know I like the head coach," Atwood said. "I think Coach McCaffery is a great guy. The way we've been talking, I can tell he's a good guy. I'll get more of a feel for what he's like when I get up to the school this weekend."
McCaffery has told Atwood that he can play both forward positions.
"He thinks I have the ability to start a break or run the wing on a break," Atwood said. "I can post up or play outside. He can play me at different positions.
"I'm just a basketball player. Wherever I am on the floor, I can have an impact."
Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton also has impressed Atwood, he said. He guided the Seminoles to the ACC title in 2012 and the school plays host to Louisiana Tech tonight (Wednesday) for a spot in the NIT semifinals after reaching the NCAAs the previous three seasons.
Atwood said he's looking to major in business at a four-year school. He'll graduate from Connors in May and have two years of eligibility at the next level.
Being one of the most sought-after junior college players available this spring is creating a hectic time for Atwood. It is expected to continue up until he can sign a national letter of intent on April 16. That period runs to May 21.
"It's a blessing that I have options. I would rather be on this side than being on the other side trying to get schools to look at me. My phone has been going crazy but I'm just trying to take it like the blessing that it is," Atwood said.
In addition to Dickerson, Iowa signed high school seniors Dominique Uhl and Brady Ellingson in November to its '14 class. Atwood is believed to be the only player offered the Hawkeyes' final scholarship in this cycle.