By Dylan Burn
Iowa City, Ia- Recruiting appears on the upswing for the Iowa men's basketball program, and Kentucky sharpshooter C.J. Fredrick is the latest example of that.
Fredrick made his official visit to Iowa City this past weekend and the experience has further solidified his commitment to Iowa.
"It was amazing," said Fredrick, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard. "I loved it. I had a great time with the guys and the coaching staff. They're definitely the type of people that I want to be around."
This was Fredrick's second visit to Iowa City. He also visited last November and was in Kinnick Stadium when the Iowa football team defeated Michigan 14-13 on a 33-yard field goal by Keith Duncan as time expired.
Fredrick likes Iowa enough to have committed despite the Hawkeyes not having a scholarship available at the present time.
Muscatine standout Joe Wieskamp has been committed to Iowa for a while, and it was assumed the 6-5 wing player would be the lone recruit in the 2018 class because no other scholarships are currently available.
But that still didn't stop Fredrick from committing to Iowa in August.
He and Wieskamp became better acquainted this past weekend, with Wieskamp also on campus.
"(Joe and I) got to hangout a lot this weekend," Fredrick said. "I really enjoyed getting to hangout with him and getting to know him better."
Fredrick also enjoyed the night-game atmosphere at Kinnick Stadium, and the energy that was supplied by the Iowa fans.
"The atmosphere was crazy, I have never experienced a fan base like that," Fredrick said. "Even after they lost to Penn State they were still chanting 'lets go hawks', that was really cool to see. They have great fans."
Fredrick said he didn't spend much time on his visit talking to the Iowa coaches about his scholarship situation. They did talk about academics, but the trip was mostly designed for Fredrick to have fun.
"Either sports management or business," Fredrick said when asked about potential majors. "The support staff is great with academics. There are a lot of resources to be successful."
Fredrick is eager for his senior season at Covington Catholic in Kentucky and to meet the high the expectations that surround the program. His team will begin the season as one of the top teams in Kentucky.
Fredrick's coaching staff at Covington includes his uncle, Joe Fredrick, who played for Notre Dame when Fran McCaffery was an assistant coach for the Irish in the late 1980s.
"We have an elite basketball program," Joe Fredrick said. " We'll probably be preseason number one, our head coach he coached for Bob Hurley at St. Anthonys in New Jersey and he's taken the same culture here. We go everywhere to play, we played in the St. Anthonys Tournament last year, we go down to Florida and play in the big tournaments, so he's (C.J.) getting quality high school coaching because he's playing for a really good high school coach."
Joe Fredrick has stayed in contact with Fran McCaffery over the years and respects him a great deal as a coach and as a person.
"Our situation is more unique than others because our families affinity for Fran is second to none," Joe Fredrick said. "I was fortunate enough to play for him at Notre Dame and the guy hasn't change since he's been 28 years old, he's the same guy. Just down to earth, all class, and he cares about his kids."
"C.J. kind of had a tough recruitment because everyone in this town wanted him to go to Xavier," Joe Fredrick said. "C.J. kind of just had a desire to go away for school. We had a good realtionship with coach Tom Crean when he was at Indiana, but Fran, there was just nobody in our mind that compared to him."
Fran McCaffery has been the head coach at four different Division I schools. Joe Fredrick has attended many of McCaffery's games over the years, often with C.J. Fredrick at his side.
Xavier offered C.J. Fredrick a schoalrship early on and was long considered the favorite to land him. But McCaffery's persistence and ties to the family ultimately paid off.
"C.J. was kind of off the map because everyone just kind of thought he was going to go to Xavier," Joe Fredrick said. "But Fran just kept recruiting him and kept recruiting him."
C.J. Fredrick is widely regarded as one of the top perimeter shooters in his class. He shot over 50% from 3-point range during the summer AAU circuit, but that isn't the only thing he does well according to Joe Fredrick.
"He's got a complete game," Joe Fredrick said. "He can play the point, he can play the two ... he's really a good passer. We're all really excited about him playing with Joe Wieskamp with the way he shoots the ball. He can score on all three levels, he has a really good mid-range game, and he's very crafty with the ball. The system (at Iowa) is perfect for him, we couldn't have picked a better system to play for, with the way Fran lets the kids play."
C.J. Fredrick has several scholarship offers from schools that include Penn State, Xavier, Butler, and Indiana. He expects a scholarship to become available at Iowa, hopefully, by the time he arrives on campus.
"He's the number one player in the state, he had a lot of big time schools in on him, but he wanted to go to Iowa." Joe Fredrick said. "He's going there (Iowa) because of Fran McCaffery. We went on a lot of visits and I can tell you, nobody's kids were as polite as Fran McCaffery's at Iowa."
247 Sports ranks C.J. Fredrick as the third best high school player in Kentucky and the best shooting guard in the Midwest.
Fredrick will join an Iowa program that has had four consecutive 20-win seasons and played in the NCAA Tournament in three of the past four seasons.
Iowa started four freshmen for much of last season, including former four-star recruit Tyler Cook at power forward.
McCaffery also will add three freshmen to his roster this season, including 6-11 center Luka Garza, who led Iowa in scoring during the four-game European trip in August. The other incoming freshmen are 6-11 Jack Nunge and 6-5 Connor McCaffery, who is Fran McCaffery's son.
Connor McCaffery is expected to redshirt in basketball this coming season in order to have more time to concentrate on his role with the Iowa baseball team.