Connor McCaffery Discusses Iowa Pledge

Saturday night, Connor McCaffery decided to commit to play for his father, Fran McCaffery, at Iowa. Sunday, the newest Hawkeye pledge spoke with HI about his decision.

One of the first people Connor McCaffery contacted after committing to Iowa Saturday night was a future teammate, Cordell Pemsl, who thought it was a joke.

"He asked me if I was serious," said McCaffery, who after a little convincing was able to get Pemsl to believe him.

"He said it was really cool. He was happy," McCaffery said.

McCaffery is a member of the 2017 recruiting class and a sophomore at Iowa City West. Pemsl, who committed to Iowa in the spring, is a '16 prospect from Dubuque Wahlert. They played together this summer at the Nike Top 100 camp in St. Louis.

"We talked a lot there," McCaffery said. "I know Cordell well."

McCaffery's commitment was not surprising seeing as his father, Fran McCaffery, serves as the Hawkeyes head coach. The timing of the pledge caught some folks off guard.

Connor unofficially visited Iowa on Saturday.

"I've been thinking about committing for a long time from almost the time when he offered me. Going on the visit and just kind of hanging out with (the Hawkeye players) after at my house, it was just all really fun. That's when I actually decided and told him (Saturday night)," he said.

Connor, who averaged 6.1 points and 4.5 assists as West freshman last winter, recalled that his father offered him a scholarship in the summer of '13.

"He mentioned it then. Into the middle of my freshman year of high school he really made it clear to me that he had offered me," Connor said.

The Iowa coach slow-played his son's recruitment.

"We hadn't really talked about it until (Saturday) night. We were just sitting there and he treated me like a recruit. That's when we really had our serious talk about coming to play for him at Iowa," Connor said.

Connor said he felt like a recruit, not a son, meeting with his father in his office Saturday. The coach explained why he thought the 6-foot-5 point guard fit well with the Hawkeyes.

"He talked about my strengths and how they would fit into his system and how he thinks I would be able to play with his guys. He talked about my ability to adapt to any system. I play a different way for my high school coach (Steve Bergman) than I do for my AAU team (the Iowa Barnstormers). He said I can do whatever the coach asks and he said that's something he really likes," Connor said.

College programs are not allowed to personally contact prospects until they begin their sophomore years of high school. Margaret McCaffery, Fran's wife and Connor's mom, said coaches did talk with her husband about her son.

"I don't really know much about that," Connor said. "I got some (recruiting) letters and I saw people at my games but they're not allowed to contact me. I wasn't allowed to talk to any of them."

Connor said that Dayton and Notre Dame, where Margaret played and Fran coached, were among a group of schools sending letters to him

"I also got one from Iowa, which I thought was funny," Connor said.

Connor, 16, had his shoulder X-rayed a few months ago due to a baseball injury. He asked the physicians about his growth plates.

"I'm pretty sure I'm close to done growing I think. They said they're still open but that was a while ago," he said.

At 6-5, Connor already stands taller than the majority of college point guards. The goal now is to add weight and strength and improve his skill set.

"I've been really wanting to improve shooting threes and I've been working on a pull-up as well. For West, I'll still run the fast-break, run the half-court sets and we'll play well together, but I want to improve my three-point shooting and put that pull-up jumper into my game," he said.

Connor can focus on areas of improvement with his college destination set.

"It feels really good. I always wanted to commit early so I didn't have to worry about it as much and go on a bunch of visits and deal with everything because of who my dad or mom are. It wouldn't be the same going to other places after having been to Iowa so much. It feels good to get it over with. Now I can just start working out more and playing more baseball as well," he said.

It's been a difficult year for the McCafferys. Connor's younger brother, Patrick, 14, publicly battled thyroid cancer. Fran's parents died from the disease.

Saturday night, after the team and other recruits left their house, Fran, Margaret and Connor were talking. The other three McCaffery children were playing off on their own. Soon, they would share a moment everyone needed.

"Eventually they all came upstairs and I had already committed. My parents told them and they all came over and jumped on me. Patrick was taking pictures of me and stuff. It was funny," Connor said.

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