IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa men’s basketball team finally has added a player to its roster for a change.
Graduate transfer guard Bakari Evelyn visited Iowa this weekend and then announced on Sunday that he had committed to the Hawkeyes.
"I chose Iowa because of my relationship with coach (Sherman) Dillard and the relationship I've been able to develop with (head coach Fran) McCaffery as well, the opportunity to play and win and also because of the team," Evelyn said. "The guys on the team were very welcoming and treated me like family as soon as I touched down on campus. It feels great to be a Hawkeye."
The 6-foot-2 Evelyn, who is from Detroit, played his last two seasons for Valparaiso where he averaged 10.5 points and 2.5 assists over 64 games.
Evelyn started his college career at Nebraska, appearing in 17 games during the 2015-16 season. So by tranferring to Iowa, he is ending where he started in college from a conference standpoint.
Evelyn has one season of eligibility remaining and will join an Iowa program that has been rocked by recent roster changes.
From Tyler Cook’s early departure to what he hopes is a career in the NBA to Isaiah Moss and Maishe Dailey both transferring to Jordan Bohannon being questionable for next season due to having recent hip surgery, Iowa’s roster has changed dramatically since the season ended with a loss to Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Bohannon’s recovery could take at least five months, so with practice starting in October, there is a chance that he could redshirt next season.
Without Bohannon, there should be plenty of chances for playing time, but even with Bohannon, Iowa needs help in the backcourt.
Evelyn knows that Iowa needs backcourt help and that factor combined with Iowa being in the Big Ten was too good for him to pass up.
He picked the Hawkeyes over New Mexico State.
"That's what I think helped to prompt coach McCaffery and Dillard to recruit me," Evelyn said. "They have a void in the backcourt and I feel I can help fill it. Coach McCaffery has always said it has to make sense on both sides when he's recruiting a player and as a graduate transfer it's common knowledge, I think, that you want the opportunity to play and now with the loss of Moss and Bohannon's injury there's that opportunity for me at Iowa."
Evelyn will compete for playing time with sophomore point guard Connor McCaffery, who is the son of Fran McCaffery, redshirt freshman guard C.J. Fredrick and incoming freshman point guard Joe Toussaint, and maybe Bohannon.
Iowa is coming off a sason in which it finished 23-12 overall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
All five starters from that team had eligibility remaining, but three have since left the program.