McCaffery Talks Hubbard, Recruiting

April 25, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Fran McCaffery spoke at the Washington County I-Club event on Monday night and answered some questions related to Anthony Hubbard and recruiting the rest of the way in this class before hitting the dais:

Q: What are some of the things you like about Anthony Hubbard?

Fran McCaffery: The thing I liked about Hub is he is a talented athlete that can play four positions on the floor, he can shoot the three and play off the dribble. He is 225 pounds so he has a body, he handles it well and rebounds well. He gives us a lot of flexibility with what he can do.

Q: What do you say to people who say you are taking a risk with him?

McCaffery: I would say to them that in this case we have done our homework and we feel good about him. He made a mistake eight years ago. If it was a mistake he made eight weeks ago, I think it would be different story. He has proven himself over that time.

Q: Do you feel like you are pinning a lot on him by bringing him here?

McCaffery: I am not looking at him as someone that has to be a first team all Big Ten right away. I feel like this is a young man who in our opinion has proven himself to be a good person. He admits what he did and feels bad about it, but he paid dearly for it. It’s time to move on and let him live his life and give him an opportunity.

Q: What do you say to people that are really critical of giving him a scholarship at Iowa?

McCaffery: Give him a chance and get to know him like I did. If you can see him interact with his teammates and see what kind of person he, do that before you make a decision. Don’t make it based on something he did eight years ago.

Q: Can he handle it well enough to play the point?

McCaffery: I think he can play the point. We have a number of different handlers, more so than last year. Josh (Oglesby) and Hubb can do it, Marble can and Bryce can.

Q: How much do you value versatility as it seems to be a theme in your recruiting?

McCaffery: It enables us to play the way we want to play and absorb the injury. We have more depth than we had last year and we are not done yet.

Q: You wanted to play at a faster pace last year but didn’t have the depth. Do you feel you can go faster now?

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McCaffery: Now you look at Hubb, he is an older guy, 225. Marble is going to be a completely different player next year, as will Basabe, as will Cartwright. Gatens and Cartwright will be seniors. Eric May will be a completely different player and he is having a fabulous spring. Physically and maturity wise we will be dramatically different. They will know the system and how we do things and how to function under pressure I feel good about the team we’ve put together and we’d like to add another piece.

Q: Do you worry about the reception Hubbard will get at other arenas?

McCaffery: He will not rattle, its a strength. I think after you have been in prison, there isn’t much that makes you nervous.

Q: You cant say you are a young team now…

McCaffery: We can’t. We are not.

Q: How much of this with Hubbard is a gut feel, as you can’t know everything about someone during the recruiting process?

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McCaffery: I think first of all, I have a lot of respect for Dave Miller. I know Dennis Helms, that was his coach at Odessa. Both gave him ringing endorsements. My first conversation with him was very direct and thorough and very satisfying for me as were his meetings with Gary Barta, Fred Mims, folks like that that wanted to spend time with him to make sure he was who we thought he was. He consistently was someone when you first met him you would never believe his past. He is very likable and very appreciative of this opportunity. It’s incredible to think that he still had the dream and was able to fulfill it when most give it up (facing the challenges he faced after prison).

Q: What about his incident in January?

McCaffery: I don’t want to get into the details of that, but I know the facts, and if we were worried about it we would not be at this point.

Q: Are you looking to add another piece here soon?

McCaffery: I would like to get it done quickly. We will add one for sure, but if the right situation presented itself, be it another high school player or juco player or transfer, we might take two more.

Q: Could it be a situation like Bryce Cartwright (who committed to Iowa last June)?

McCaffery: We keep looking. There are transfers out there, there are still coaching vacancies. I would say its less likely that we would use that last scholarship, but if the right person presented themselves we will pull the trigger.

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Q: Will you add piece this week?

McCaffery: I hope so yes.

Q: How about tomorrow?

McCaffery: It would be a good day.

Q: How different are things for you one year later?

McCaffery: It’s a lot different. I am much more comfortable. I will recognize people when I go into this room. It’s amazing to me, no matter how many times you go through it (the I-Club events), you see this interest and support and love for the Hawkeyes and that is what it’s all about.

Q: What has been the reactions you have seen to taking Hubbard?

McCaffery: I haven’t gotten much. I think over time I will, but a lot of people will be supportive and others will not. I am realistic about that.

Q: How do you feel about the 2012 recruiting class?

McCaffery: We are way ahead in the sense that we have one in the books. We have a lot of prospects we have relationships with now, and that is the key. Rather than calling them and saying do you want to come to Iowa, they know who we are now. We are way ahead from that standpoint, but until you get them it does not matter.

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