IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa got its point guard of the future on Wednesday.
And when I watched some videos of Brewster Academy’s Dasonte Bowen, he reminded me of another guy who played point guard for Coach Fran McCaffery more than a decade ago. His name was Ronald Moore, who ran the point for McCaffery at Siena. In fact, Moore was McCaffery’s last point guard at Siena. Moore was a senior in 2009-10. McCaffery left after that season to take the job at Iowa.
Moore started 103 of 104 games at point guard for the Saints over a three-year span, and was part of three straight 20-win seasons and NCAA bids.
Moore’s bio in the Siena media guide started out like this: “True point guard with great vision...Has emerged as a great team leader...Clutch performer who has a flair for the dramatic...Slippery ball handler, terrific passer and outstanding defender...Takes care of the ball… Possesses tremendous composure and courage...Plays game at full throttle, exciting fashion.”
Siena had a 23-11 record in 2007-08, beat Vanderbilt and lost to Villanova in the NCAA Tournament. Moore averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 assists. Siena backed that up with a 27-8 season in 2008-09, highlighted by a double overtime victory over Ohio State in an NCAA first-round game. That’s where Moore earned the “clutch performer who has a flair for the dramatic” line in his bio.
Moore, who had missed the only four 3-pointers he had attempted, made a stepback triple in the final seconds to force a second overtime.
“Onions,” said Bill Raftery, the CBS analyst for that game.
And then, trailing 72-71, Moore hit another 3 with :03.9 left to knock off the Buckeyes. “Onions, double order,” said Raftery. “This little guy is just magnificent.”
That team then took top-seeded Louisville the distance before losing, 79-72. Moore averaged 8.7 points, 6.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds for that team.
As a senior, Moore averaged 7.0 points and 7.7 assists for a 27-8 team that lost a first-round NCAA game to Purdue.
I went back and watched some of that 2009 NCAA victory over Ohio State, and Moore was everything I remembered he was.
Bowen stands 6-foot-3, four inches taller than Moore. But his skill set is strikingly similar to the former Siena star: great vision, with the ability to go by his defender. A good shooter who can score in a variety of ways. A very good defender. And an ultra-competitive point guard. In other words, Bowen is a perfect addition to the Class of 2022. Add 6-11 center Riley Mulvey, a commitment in the Class of 2022 who reclassified and will be a freshman this fall, and the Hawkeyes should have a productive inside-out game for years to come.
It will be interesting to see which pieces McCaffery adds to this class, but he’s off to a solid start. Bowen represents a positive trend in recruiting for the Hawkeyes. McCaffery has shown a keen ability to identify talent.
Aaron White was a lightly-recruited forward from Strongsville, Ohio, who ended his career as a first-team all-Big Ten pick and the school’s No. 2 (now No. 3) career scorer with 1,859 points. Iowa was the first to offer Luka Garza in June of 2015 after McCaffery saw him play at a Nike Elite Camp in St. Louis, Mo.
Garza transformed his body over the next year, and had a list of 28 offers including Notre Dame, Georgetown, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama and Pittsburgh when he committed to the Hawkeyes.
“They saw what I could be before I was,” Garza said as an Iowa freshman. Garza, of course, went on to become the 2020-21 National Player of the Year and a two-time consensus all-American and Big Ten Player of the Year.
Guard Jordan Bohannon, another 1,000-point scorer and Iowa’s career leader in assists and 3-pointers, also faced a cast of doubters and didn’t draw many offers during the recruiting process.
McCaffery has had some significant recruiting catches. He has signed five players who finished in the Rivals Top 100 - Adam Woodbury (50) and Mike Gesell (100) in 2012; Tyler Cook (74) in 2016; Joe Wieskamp (43) in 2018; and Patrick McCaffery (75) in 2019.
McCaffery’s eye for talent has given him a head-start with several other high-profile talents, who seemed to elude the Hawkeyes at the end of the recruiting process. Point guard Tyler Ulis, who ended up at Kentucky, is just one example.
But Bowen, ranked 82nd nationally by 247Sports, might be the start of a new trend. His long list of offers included Big Ten rivals Maryland, Penn State, Rutgers and Northwestern, as well as USC, Miami of Florida, Georgetown, Boston College, Virginia Tech and others. And Mulvey’s list of offers included Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Penn State. But offer lists, and Top 100 lists, don’t always paint an accurate picture. Garza was 111th in the final Rivals ranking for 2017.
Iowa’s Keegan Murray wasn’t in the Rivals Top 150, and didn’t have much of an offer sheet to speak of. But after an impressive freshman season that saw him make the all-Big Ten rookie team, there is already talk of him as a first-round NBA Draft pick in 2022. The bottom line is this: how you perform on a Division I floor speaks louder than any ranking. Bowen checks a lot of boxes when it comes to fitting into Iowa’s offense as a point guard. If he can have the same kind of impact at Iowa that Moore did at Siena, he will go down as one of the most significant signees of the McCaffery era.