IOWA CITY — Joe Wieskamp’s high school coach said Wednesday he thought his star player could start for the Iowa basketball team right now.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery didn’t go quite that far. But he admitted that the Muscatine star has a chance to step right in and start when he arrives as a freshman with the Hawkeyes next year.
“I think it's a possibility,’’ McCaffery said Thursday in his first chance to comment on the signing of Wieskamp to a letter of intent this week. “He's not a mistake guy. He's got good size. He's a legit 6-foot-6, probably 6-6 plus. But he's got really long arms and he can jump. So he plays 6-8 or 6-9.
"If he rips and drives baseline, he's dunking the ball. His stroke is pure. If it's a catch-and-shoot situation, you feel like it's going in, but he puts it on the deck, and he gives it up easy. He does not hunt shots.
“I've never seen a guy get 25 (points) on fewer shots as often as he has. That's what's beautiful about his game. He'll go 10 for 12 a lot. That's a good thing.’’
McCaffery said he’s known for a long time that he wanted Wieskamp to play at Iowa. He began watching him when he was in the fifth grade when he played on the same team as Patrick McCaffery, the coach’s son, who was then a fourth-grader.
“So I saw him play 30 times,’’ McCaffery said. “He had a different body type in those days. He was a thick kid. He was arguably the best player on that team, the same team he's still on.’’
He continued to watch Wieskamp through the sixth, seventh and eighth grades and very nearly offered him a scholarship before he even began high school.
Then Wieskamp went out and averaged 18 points per game as a freshman at Muscatine.
“It was a no-brainer from that point forward,’’ McCaffery said. “So it was no sense waiting around …
“So we put the offer out when he was a freshman, and that's what he wanted to do. He wanted to come, and never wavered. Even though he's on the All-Tournament team at the NBA Top 100 camp, and he's one of the key guys on the Adidas circuit, I'm sure he fielded a lot of phone calls. I'm sure his high school coach did. I know his AAU coach did. And he never wavered.
“The thing about him, as talented as he is, he's just a fabulous person from a great family. The kind of guy you can count on. He's smart, he's tough. Incredible double-team guy, he wants to win, but he wants to do it here, and we're thrilled.’’
McCaffery also reiterated how pleased he was to also sign 6-4 C.J. Fredrick of Park Hills, Kentucky, to a letter of intent Wednesday.
Fredrick originally committed to Iowa in August without knowing if there would be a scholarship for him. Although he had scholarship offers from several other Division I schools, including some in the Big Ten, he was prepared to walk on with the Hawkeyes and pay his own way.
McCaffery said he’s never had another player do that.
“He took his time,’’ McCaffery said. “He visited a number of schools in our conference, and he visited some schools out of our conference. He watched us play on TV, and he came to campus a few times, and just identified this as a place where he wanted to go.’’
Fredrick was viewed by most recruiters as a shooting guard, but McCaffery said he is going to play a lot of point guard for Covington Catholic High School this season. He said he could see Fredrick playing either spot at Iowa.
“He sort of has that reputation for being a great shooter, and that's what everybody thinks he is,’’ McCaffery said. “He just makes shots, and he does, but he's really good off the dribble.’’