Iowa Big Man Hitting Campuses

Waverly-Shell Rock High Sophomore Austin Phyfe is making the rounds to college campuses. The Iowa Barnstormers big man has stopped at Iowa and Creighton already this month. HI spoke with the Class of 2017 member and found out how those visits went and where things stand with his recruitment.

High school players understand that exposure leads to opportunity. The more college coaches see you, the better chance you have to make a positive impression.

Austin Phyfe enjoys a decided advantage in that regard. Playing AAU basketball with the son of a Power 5 Conference Coach provides that.

The Waverly-Shell Rock (IA) High sophomore runs with Connor McCaffery with the Iowa Barnstormers. It gives Iowa Head Man Fran McCaffery inherent scouting opportunities of Phyfe.

Fran McCaffery likes what he's seen and played host to Phyfe for the Hawkeyes home game against Maryland on Feb. 8.

"I talked with him afterwards," Phyfe said. "I congratulated him and talked to him a little bit. He just said that he's been following me this year and that I've been playing well and my team is doing well. He's hoping to get to some of my games coming up. Hopefully we make it to the state tournament so he can come and watch me."

Iowa has company in its interest in the 6-foot-9, 220-pounder. He holds an offer from Northern Iowa and has visited Drake and Creighton this season. He's hoping to see Nebraska soon as well.

Waverly-Shell Rock sits at 17-2 and is ranked third in the AP's Class 3A state poll. Phyfe is averaging 14.5 points (66 percent shooting from the floor), 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.

At 15, Phyfe may not be done growing. He wears a size 17 shoe.

"I have big hands and big feet so hopefully I have a little bit more growing left," he said.

Phyfe watched the Hawkeyes roll over then No. 17 Maryland, 71-55, last weekend. He was impressed.

"I haven't been to Iowa very much. I've been there a couple of times but not in a while. (Carver-Hawkeye Arena) is amazing," he said.

"I think one of the biggest things was right when I got there, everyone was very nice, all the coaches and even the people working tickets and the will call area. They were all genuinely nice. That was cool. I love the facilities. I enjoyed it a lot."

Saturday, Phyfe sat in Omaha's CenturyLink Center to witness Creighton's 77-70 Big East victory against Marquette. The sold-out crowd was listed at 17,248.

"Creighton was very nice, too. They have a nice arena. The people were nice. They have a new, pretty pricey practice facility, which is nice. It was fun. It was a cool experience," he said.

UNI already has let it be known to Phyfe that he's wanted by offering him a scholarship last summer. His father, Steve Phyfe, played for the Panthers in the late 1980s.

"They were the first program to show interest towards me," Austin Phyfe said. "They said they knew about me because of (his father). They came and watched me and then continued to come and watch me. They watched individual workouts. Waverly played at their team camp, so they got to watch me there."

Phyfe said he's working on his quickness and agility along with his perimeter skills. He plays mostly in the post for Waverly-Shell Rock but operates as a face-up four for the Barnstormers.

Phyfe has made 3 of 11 three-pointers this season.

"My coach gives me the green light to shoot the three. I don't want to say I'm a great shot but I've worked on it a lot this summer and I've gotten a lot better. I don't shoot them often enough in games to be a consistent three-point shooter, but if I'm open in a game, I'll shoot it," he said.

Phyfe said he's taking recruiting as it comes and is in no hurry to end the process. After his prep season, he'll line back up with the son of Iowa's head coach for the spring and summer AAU periods and see if he can impress some more scouts.

"I love playing with Connor a lot. He's a great person just to hang out with. He's way fun to hang out with and he's a great basketball player also," he said.

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