Fleming Sees Iowa

Iowa played host to Tennessee shooting guard Andrew Fleming this weekend, offering him a scholarship and selling him on the program. He talked with Hawkeye Insider about the stop and how it impacted his recruitment.

Andrew Fleming embarked on his weekend Iowa visit thinking he would commit at the end of the summer. He envisioned playing through the AAU evaluation period in July and then evaluating his options.

The Hawkeyes may have changed his outlook.

Fleming said earlier this week that he wanted the imaginary light bulb above his head to go off when he found his school of choice. It popped up a few times Friday and Saturday as he checked out the Iowa campus, basketball facilities and conversed with coaches and players.

"The light is flickering," the shooting guard from Nashville said. "You see everything Iowa has to offer and the opportunities I could have at a place like that. To say it's not flickering, isn't true. Overall, I just have to sit back and think. I can't make the decision in 10 minutes."

Fleming visited Iowa with his father. He planned to fly home Saturday and talk things over with his mother.

"I don't think there's any such thing as a perfect fit but I think this is the closest freaking thing to it. With the way that they play and Coach McCaffery and how much confidence he has in me, overall I'll have to consider all of it. I'll talk about it with my mom and some of the people that mean a lot to me and maybe sit back and see if I want to make a decision now or later," Fleming said.

Fleming led Nashville (TN) Ensworth High to its third state title in a row this winter, winning the state's Mr. Basketball Award along the way. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound sharpshooter has decided to transfer to prestigious Oak Hill Academy in Virginia for his senior season.

Fleming broke out with Team Thad at April's Jam Fest in Pittsburgh, creating more recruiting buzz. He already had Florida and Vanderbilt working him for a commitment. Iowa made a major move on his favorites this weekend.

"It's definitely right there," he said

Fran McCaffery has slowly built up Iowa during his first four years at the school. The Hawkeyes reached the NCAA Tournament this March for the first time since 2006. They played in the NIT championship game last season.

Despite the progress, Iowa has struggled to best the top programs on the recruiting trail. Losing McDonald's All-American Tyler Ulis to Kentucky late in the 2014 cycle stung the most.

The Hawkeyes now stand toe-to-toe with, among others, Florida, a school that played in April's Final Four. The Gators and future hall of fame Coach Billy Donovan are considered an elite program, having played in the Big Dance in 14 of the last 16 years, winning back to back national championships in '06 and '07.

"If you look at their roster, let's be honest, they have lots of guards on it," Fleming said. "That is one question you have to ask yourself. They have lots of guards. If you commit there, you'll be another one.

"As you grow, there are going to be kids that come in behind you that you have to consider. People have wondered why I haven't committed (to Florida). Well, it's a scary thought to think about being recruited on top of by the next Jabari Parker or the next big time NBA player. Florida is a feeder for that.

"At Iowa, you've got talented kids that play together and like to stay together for more than one year. That's why they're going to be so good and that's why they'll continue to be good. That's just as attractive or more just because when I get there I'm going to get everything I need out of the school and have a chance to win lots of games by helping them. The more I think about it, there are cases to be made that I will be way more successful at a place Iowa than Florida."

Fleming connected with Iowa point guard Mike Gessel on his visited. They played together during a pickup game with Hawkeye players on Saturday.

"I held my own out there. I think I knocked down seven or eight threes just in 45 minutes of playing. It was pretty nuts, some of the shots that were going in. Some of the guys were laughing, like "who the freak is this kid?" I think I earned some respect from the guys for sure. The guys were so cool. They were setting me down screens the whole time to the point where the guy guarding me didn't want to guard me. I made some plays off the dribble; made some good passes," Fleming said.

Iowa academic personnel met with Fleming Friday as he toured the business and communication buildings, two major he's considering. He also watched film with McCaffery and Assistant Sherman Dillard and talked about how he would fit into the Hawkeye roster.

"They put together a highlight tape for me to watch of them pushing the ball up the court. It's very attractive. It's one thing to talk about it but they do play fast. The point guard is pushing the ball up the court and letting the twos and the threes make plays. For sure that's attractive for a guy like me," Fleming said.

Three-point shooter Josh Oglesby will use up his eligibility this season. Gesell and backup point guard Anthony Clemmons will be seniors when Fleming is a college freshman. Two other deep shooters, Peter Jok and Brady Ellingson, would be a junior and sophomore, respectively.

"Coach McCaffery is awesome and he thinks I could do big time things at Iowa. A lot of people just see me as a shooter but he's seen me play enough that he thinks I'm an all-around playmaker. He said he plans to use me in multiple ways if I were to go there. You see what the team would like when I would be there and I see that I could have a lot of success in that program," Fleming said. "The program is probably going to be a Top 25 program from here on out. It's in the Big Ten. Coach McCaffery is great. Coach Dillard is awesome. Overall, I was just blown away by the whole thing, the whole nine yards. It was crazy."

Fleming hopes to step back from his overwhelming trip and collect his thoughts. The light is flickering. He wants to see it stay on.

"I think once my heart tells me that it's the place, whatever place it is, that's where I'm going to be. I need to sit back and think about what an amazing visit I just had. I'll talk to Coach McCaffery (Sunday) and see what, overall, what he thinks. Coach Dillard was telling me how the players told him that they respect me a lot and think I'm really good and they should get me there. I'm sure Coach Dillard liked that and is probably telling Coach McCaffery about it. I'll wake up (Sunday) morning and go to church and pray about it a lot. I'm not going to make a big deal out of it when it's time. I'll probably tweet it or something like that," Fleming said.

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