Five years into his reign has head coach, McCaffery is revisiting that formula, signing junior college point guard Trey Dickerson last month in hopes of continuing Iowa's climb up the standings. He might not be done there.
The Hawkeyes are evaluating junior college talent perhaps more now than in this staff's first four years. Two prospects on the radar are guards Novian Cherry and Austin Pope, who like Cartwright and Dickerson, prepped in Southern California. The duo would like to play together at a four-year school, they both told Hawkeye Insider.
Cherry and Pope are Class of 2015 recruits. They are friends with Dickerson.
"I think we would complement each other," Cherry said of the trio. "Trey can do it all - score, find teammates. Austin is a big combo guard that can score, rebound, and defend bigger and smaller guards and pass as well. I can bring the same attributes - being able to score off the dribble, find mismatches for my teammates, post up smaller guards, rebound. With those two I would be able to spot up off of them penetrating the defense and not have to create all of my shots."
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Cherry averaged 21.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a San Diego Mesa College freshman in 2013-14. Pope (6-5, 170) posted 7.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 2.2 APG in his first season at Cerritos College in Southern California.
"I have been talking to (Iowa Assistant Andrew) Francis a lot," Cherry said. "He was recruiting me for the 2014 class but I couldn't get my (Associates Degree) in time so I had to reclassify to the 2015 class."
Cherry and Pope said Iowa has told them it will be scouting them at the Mullen Top 100 Junior College Showcase and Camp, July 11-13 in St. Charles, MO, and at the Elite 80 JUCO Showcase, July 26-27, in Las Vegas.
"I'm just looking for that family feeling," Pope said about what he hopes to find at a four-year school. "I'm very family oriented. I also am looking for a crazy fan base and atmosphere. Iowa seems to fit the description for both very well."
Cherry said he's being recruiting by Iowa, Colorado State, San Diego State, USC, Oregon State, Saint Bonaventure, Bowling Green, and Florida International. In addition to the Hawkeyes, Pope said he's hearing from most of the PAC-12 schools, Temple, Gonzaga, DePaul and Utah State.
"I feel really good about it," Cherry said of his position with Iowa. "I think I will have an offer by the end of the July period."
Pope likes the idea of playing with Dickerson.
"Me and Trey are really close. That's like my brother. He's Jesus Shuttlesworth and I'm Quincy McCall," he said laughing, referring to popular movie characters from He Got Game and Love and Basketball, respectively.
Cherry plans on studying Biology at a four-year school in hopes of becoming a registered nurse. Pope said he would like to major in Communications.
"Iowa definitely is one of my favorite schools," Cherry said. "I'll visit in the fall when I can start taking visits then just go from there."
Pope and Cherry fit into the Hawkeyes desired style of playing up-tempo basketball.
"I like run and gun and get up and down the court," Pope said.