It’s official now: Connor McCaffery is going to play basketball for the University of Iowa basketball team this season.
The freshman guard from Iowa City and son of head coach Fran McCaffery initially planned to redshirt in basketball and focus on playing baseball for Iowa this spring, but after backup point guard Christian Williams decided to transfer, Connor reconsidered his options.
“I spoke with the baseball coaches today and they gave me the thumbs up to play basketball this season,’’ Connor said in a news release issued by the university Tuesday. “I’m excited to help the basketball team this season and contribute to the best of my ability.”
He still plans to join the baseball team once the basketball season is over and it is possible he would take a redshirt season in baseball. That decision will be made at a later date.
Both Connor and his father indicated that it was possible he would change his plans following the Hawkeyes’ 105-81 victory over William Jewell College in a preseason exhibition game last Friday.
Fran McCaffery liked the way Connor played on a four-game tour of Europe in August and in a 5-point, 3-assist performance against William Jewell.
“I think it helped that he practiced with us over the summer and competed with us overseas,’’ Coach McCaffery said. “He missed about three or four weeks over the summer with baseball and that was difficult. When he came back, he was a little rusty. But he’s been practicing hard and is looking solid.’’
The 6-foot-5 freshman, who averaged 19.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game as a senior at Iowa City West, figures to be the backup point guard behind sophomore Jordan Bohannon. And it’s likely he occasionally will be on the floor alongside Bohannon.
“We’ve been doing that in practice,’’ Connor said following the exhibition game. “He (Bohannon) moves really well without the ball and obviously as a shooter he’s special. He’s going to be open in places and hitting shots so I can just look for him and know he’s going to make it if I throw it to him.’’
The Hawkeyes play a second exhibition game Thursday night against Belmont Abbey at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. They open the regular season a week from Friday against Chicago State.