High school recruits know when Iowa Basketball and head coach Fran McCaffery are interested in them. There's little gray area.
Such is the case with Class of 2022 Virginia wing Tyler Nickel. The Hawkeyes make sure they're regularly in his thoughts.
"I'd say I hear from them pretty often," he told HN. "It's most days, if not everyday I hear from coach (Sherman) Dillard or coach McCaffery. The discussion is always about positive things, either them checking in or just wanting to talk."
Rivals and 247Sports rank Nickel (6-7, 215) as a four-star prospect. The former rates him as the No. 91 player overall in the '22 cycle, while the latter puts him at 94th.
Nickel reports 13 scholarship offers, including opportunities from Iowa, Clemson, Indiana, LSU, NC State, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. A year-long dead period brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is making it hard for him to sort through his options and come up with a group of top schools.
"It's hard to say right now because of everyone being in a very difficult situation and not getting opportunities to see certain people in person. So, it's hard to know what the future holds and hard to say what stands out right now," he said.
McCaffery and Dillard are doing their best sharing their vision for Nickel with him virtually.
"They have told me I would be a perfect fit for their free-flowing offense, and with my length and versatility, it's exactly what they want," Nickel said.
He likes what he sees in the Hawkeyes' style of play.
"They keep their guys confident at all times. There's no real restrictions outside of just basketball IQ. They take advantage of their great shooting ability by being aggressive offensively at all times, and I love that," Nickel said.
The dead period prohibits in-person meeings between coaches and prospects. Recruits also can't receive guided campus tours.
"I plan on visiting (Iowa) whenever the restrictions are lifted," Nickel said.
Nickel plays for Elkton (VA) East Rockingham High and runs with Team Loaded on the AAU circuit.
"Location doesn't have a huge role in where I end up, as in it's not at the top of my criteria for a decision. But it would be a bonus to be in a nice place," he said.
Nickel is leaning towards a major in Communications.
"I'm looking at sports broadcasting for whenever my hooping days end," he said.