The Iowa basketball program has filled the two vacant scholarships it has for next season, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Hawkeyes are finished bringing in players for the class of 2019.
And they’re just getting started on recruiting for what should be a crucial class of 2020.
Point guard Joe Toussaint gave a verbal commitment to Iowa during his visit to the campus last weekend, joining Patrick McCaffery as the Hawkeyes’ two recruits for 2019.
McCaffery, the son of head coach Fran McCaffery, is rated the 68th best prospect in the country by 247Sports, No. 65 by Rivals.com. He figures to be primarily a small forward in college although he could play some power forward if he can pack some more muscle onto what is now a 6-foot-8, 175-pound frame.
The 6-0 Toussaint, who plays for Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, is ranked much lower nationally. He is No. 220 on the 247Sports list and had attracted attention mostly from East Coast mid-majors until this summer when he picked up offers from Wichita State and UNLV in addition to Iowa.
He’s the kind of player who likely won’t ever be a star in the Big Ten but he might be exactly what the Hawkeyes lack right now: A tough kid who will create havoc defensively and provide some quickness and penetration at the offensive end of the floor, creating scoring opportunities for teammates. Observers use words like “bulldog’’ to describe him and he helped his high school team to the New York Class AA state title in 2017.
Online you can find a highlight video of Toussaint and in 19 clips, only one shows him shooting a perimeter jump shot. There are 11 clips of him driving and scoring from close range on floaters, layups or short jumpers and seven of him making nice passes to set up teammates. He could end up being someone like Tum Tum Nairn was at Michigan State, a ballhandler, distributor and leader whose value exceeds his statistics.
More recruits coming?
McCaffrey and Toussaint fill the scholarship currently occupied by Nicholas Baer, the only senior on this season’s roster, and the one that was vacated when Ahmad Wagner opted to transfer.
However, they figure to have more scholarships open up later on — does anyone really think Tyler Cook will stick around for his senior season? — and even if they don’t, they always could bring in Patrick McCaffery as a walk-on initially, just as they did with his brother, Connor.
As a result, the Hawkeyes will continue to recruit more players in the 2019 class and will undoubtedly consider taking another one, especially if they can get a star quality frontcourt player.
Among those making an official visit over the weekend was 6-9 Trayce Jackson-Davis of Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana. Jackson-Davis, the son of former NBA player Dale Davis, is ranked the 15th best prospect in the class by 247Sports and 18th by Rivals, and he would be a huge addition for the Hawkeyes. He also has visited UCLA and over the next few weeks has visits scheduled to Wake Forest, Indiana and Michigan State.
The “crystal ball’’ on the 247Sports site has him likely going to the home-state Hoosiers, but it’s encouraging that Iowa at least got a player of that caliber to make an official visit.
What about 2020?
The Hawkeyes do not yet have any commitments for the 2020 recruiting class but it should be a very large — and important — group. They will have six juniors on the roster this season — Cook, Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Cordell Pemsl, Ryan Kriener and Maishe Dailey — which means they should sign at least five 2020 players.
The No. 1 target is likely to be 6-10 Xavier Foster of Oskaloosa. Foster, who also made his official visit last weekend, received an offer from the Hawkeyes before he ever played his first high school game and he has been climbing the national recruiting lists ever since. Rivals rates him the No. 23 player in the class, 247Sports No. 24.
Iowa State figures to be a primary competitor for Foster — he has a visit scheduled there on Sept. 29 — but the Hawkeyes’ chances of getting him could take a big hit if some of the national “blue blood’’ programs such as Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina become more involved.
According to Rivals and 247Sports, the Hawkeyes are involved with more than a dozen other top-100 players in the 2020 class, including two Midwest players who are in the top 10: Power forward Jalen Johnson of Glendale, Wisconsin, and shooting guard Jalen Suggs of Minneapolis. They’re a distinct longshot to get either of those guys.
One player with whom they’ve reportedly developed a close relationship is point guard Tyler Beard of Chicago Whitney Young, ranked No. 69 by 247Sports and No. 54 by Rivals. Iowa and Butler were the first high major schools to extend an offer to Beard although DePaul, Illinois and West Virginia also have now offered him.