By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Thanks to a 23-win season that included a victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Iowa men’s basketball team is relevant again.
One way to tell is just from the number of transfers who are considering Iowa right now, most notably brothers Sam and Joey Hauser from Marquette and D.J. Harvey from Notre Dame.
Harvey, a 6-foot-6 wing player, will reportedly choose between Iowa and Vanderbilt, according to Stadium. He averaged 10.7 points per game as a sophomore last season.
The Hauser brothers, both of whom are forwards and who stand about 6-8, reportedly will choose between Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Virginia.
All three players would have to sit out next season, and it’s fair to say that all three of them likely wouldn’t have considered Iowa a year ago under the circumstances.
Iowa was coming off a disastrous 14-19 season last spring in which it only won four conference games and had performed woefully on defense.
Dom Uhl was also the only senior on that team, so almost all of the roster would be returning.
Combine all those factors and there wasn’t much about Iowa that would’ve appealed to a high-level transfer at this time last year.
But when your team wins 23 games and spends much of the season ranked in the top-25, others take notice, including transfers.
It won’t be easy landing the Hauser brothers because of the competition, but the fact that Iowa even has a chance to land them is a sign of progress.
The Hauser brothers are from Stevens Point, Wis., so it makes sense that Wisconsin would be a possible landing spot for them.
The 6-9 Joey Hauser also picked Marquette over Michigan State coming out of high school, while Virginia head coach Tony Bennett graduated from the same high school that the Hausers attended in Stevens Point.
Iowa tried to recruit Joey Hauser in high school, but came up short.
It makes sense for Iowa coach Fran McCaffery to explore the transfer route because his roster will change significantly over the next year.
The changes already have started with junior forward Tyler Cook having declared for the NBA Draft and with junior guard Maishe Dailey having transferred to Akron.
Nicholas Baer also used up his eligibility this past season, while Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss and Ryan Kreiner will all be seniors next season.
So there will be plenty of scholarships available for recruits and for transfers.
The beauty with landing a proven transfer, or two, is the level of experience that would accompany a transfer.
D.J. Harvey and the Hauser brothers all have proven themselves at the highest level of college basketball, so that should make for a smoother transition at their new school.
Fran McCaffery has a lot on his plate right now as he looks to hire a replacement for assistant coach Andrew Francis, who recently resigned to accept an assistant coaching position with California.
Courtney Eldridge has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Francis. Eldridge has served as Iowa’s video coordinator for the past three seasons.
Eldridge also played point guard for McCaffery at North Carolina-Greensboro.
The Iowa coaches are also in a hotly contested recruiting battle for 2020 five-star center Xavier Foster from Oskaloosa.
Foster has visited Iowa on numerous occasions and is quite familiar with the players and coaches.
Foster is also seriously considering Iowa State and has scholarship offers from Kansas, UCLA, Baylor, USC and Illinois among others.
Duke also has reportedly started to show more interest in the 6-11 Foster.