Fran McCaffery has compiled another strong recruiting class, probably his strongest one yet. They signed four standouts today, three being from the state of Iowa.
The first commit of the class was Cordell Pemsl of Dubuque. He's a three-star power forward listed at 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds. Pemsl has suffered a bit of an injury bug but McCaffery is convinced that is now behind him.
"With regard to his injury, it was something that we didn't know about when he first committed to us," McCaffery said about Pemsl. "Obviously, he didn't have any problems and then subsequently has had them. But I think it's been rectified. He's in a great place right now. He had a surgery that I think will correct any future problems. Of course, you never know, but it really looks like he's in a good place physically right now, and there is no doubt in my mind that he's going to have a great impact for a long time."
On the court, Pemsl fits what Iowa does and should blend in very well according to his next head coach.
"Again, he's another guy who is big and strong, but he can score inside and he's very gifted and he's a tremendous rebounder," McCaffery explained. "(Pemsl) can really dribble and pass. He likes to play on the perimeter. He can score outside and is perfect, I think, in our style."
The second commit of the class, who is now signed, is forward Ryan Kriener, a 6-foot-8 forward from Spirit Lake in Iowa. He's a pretty similar player to Pemsl. But the most impressive trait about him has been his upward trajectory as a player.
"Ryan is a guy that we started watching early," McCaffery discussed about the Iowan. "I saw him when he was young, and we always liked him. Thing that's impressed me about him is he just keeps getting better, and the way he performed this summer really elevated himself in our eyes because he always had great size and he also has versatility. So when you have a five-man who can play the four position, but can also make threes, and he can dribble and pass, that's a game changer when you have big, strong guys that can do that. You have to have, in my opinion, five guys that can dribble the ball and pass the ball and catch the ball today in our game. Otherwise you're going to see a lot of different kinds of defenses."
"The other thing is he wanted to be here," McCaffery added about Kriener. "He wanted to be a Hawkeye, so we're thrilled that he is."
The third Hawkeye hoops commit of the 2016 class was in-state point guard Jordan Bohannon of Linn-Mar High School. What sticks out immediately about Bohannon is that he is an elite shooter from beyond the arc.
"He's an unbelievable shooter," McCaffery pointed out about his future point guard. "That's a good place to start. But for us to make the decision to sign him here, because I'm looking at him as an impact guy, it had to be the total package. He's a really good passer. He's got unbelievable savvy on the floor, and he's a got a great mind for the game. He thinks the game. You can see that at an early age that he thought the game at a unique level that would prepare him to be successful at the Big Ten level."
McCaffery was able to see Bohannon the most because of Jordan's ties with his own family.
"I've been watching Jordan play since he was in middle school, so I have a different perspective of him," he noted. "I felt like he started to get national recognition over this summer, and I thought it was long overdue, personally. I have had the luxury of seeing him more than most people because he ends up playing against my sons at times that would be a dead period."
The last one to join the class of four was the headliner, Tyler Cook of St. Louis, Missouri. He went to Chaminade Prep and is a top 100 recruit. McCaffery raved about his ability and potential, and you can hear him talk about Cook in the above video as well.
McCaffery actually took the time to discuss the process that brought Cook to Iowa City.
"We've been recruiting Tyler for quite some time," he stated. "He's special in a lot of different ways, starting with his character. He comes from a phenomenal family. He is as delightful and his family is as delightful a family as you'd ever want to meet."
"So he came to our Ohio State game last year, and we sat in my office for probably four-and-a-half hours after that game and just visited with each other," McCaffery continued about Cook. "So those kinds of things are somewhat unique in this business. But they're just really good people and they appreciated that and we identified him early as our guy and continued with that consistency and really made the effort to maximize recruiting opportunities that the NCAA gives us to be there to show him. He's been here a number of times so we're just thrilled with him."
On the court, McCaffery is just as impressed with his top 100 signee.
"He really understands how to play," McCaffery said of Cook. "He understands how to be great. What I see in him is as great as he is; I see even greater potential, because he's played primarily the power forward position most of his life. You take one look at him, and you know that's why he's there, but there's a lot more in his game. He can handle the ball, he can run, he can make plays off the dribble, he can shoot the ball, and that's kind of player that I envisioned. Somebody that has the flexibility to play in transition and play on the perimeter, play in the post, and impact the game in so many different ways."
Iowa begins their regular season hoops slate this Friday night as they host Gardner-Webb.