Hoops Recruiting Notebook: Hawkeyes Remain Involved with Nijel Pack

April 30, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Nijel Pack’s recruitment is picking up. The Indianapolis guard adds more suiters every time he takes the court.

Following last week’s EYBL Session 1 in Atlanta, Loyola of Chicago and Belmont extended scholarship offers. They joined Rice, Bradley, IUPUI, Toledo, Indiana State, Ball State, Miami of Ohio and Southern Illinois.

Pack and his Indy Heat team drew more than mid-major schools in Atlanta. Iowa, which has been recruiting him for awhile, checked in on him.

“I have a good relationship with them. I haven’t heard from them yet this spring, so we will see where things go,” Pack told HN.

Assistant Sherman Dillard has been leading the Hawkeyes’ recruitment of Pack (6-0, 170). The Lawrence Central standout visited Iowa’s campus for a game against Nebraska in January.

“I loved how packed the arena was and how supportive the fans were for them,” he said.

Pack Averaged 17.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 steals in helping the Heat post a 4-0 record during the EYBL Session 1. He earned third-team all-state honors from the AP last winter.

Iowa plays a style which suits Pack’s skill set.

“Coach makes them play fast, and that fits perfect with my game,” he said.


-The Hawkeyes played host to Bloomington (IN) South High wing Anthony Leal in September and offered him a scholarship. They’ve continued building that relationship with Dillard as the point man.

“We have a good relationship. Things are going well and we stay in good touch,” Leal told HN.

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“I’m sure I will visit Iowa again, I just haven’t gotten into the details on any of that for the future yet.”

The Hawkeyes seem well positioned for his services.

“Honestly, I haven’t even considered a list of top schools or anything like that. Iowa would probably be up near the top if I had made one,” Leal said.

The competition increased dramatically on Monday night. Home town Indiana came forward with an offer, joining the Hawkeyes, Butler, Maryland, Stanford, Xavier, Northwestern and others.

“It’s a blessing. It’s so special to know that they believe in me,” Leal told Inside the Hall.

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“It was mostly just a conversation about how they admire what I have to offer as far as shooting the ball, competing and winning. They emphasized that to be able to do what they want to do at IU, they’re going to need shooter on their team. They really emphasized that and how I could fit in there.”

-Ben Carlson saw his recruitment take off last spring and summer. Iowa was among the schools that offered a scholarship.

The Hawkeyes have continued their pursuit of the Woodbury (MN) East Ridge High forward.

“It’s been going well. They came to a couple games this high school season,” Carlson told HN.

He runs with D1 Minnesota on the AAU circuit, the same program that featured Patrick McCaffery, a class of 2019 Iowa signee and son of head coach Fran McCaffery.

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Dillard also is leading the way for Carlson, who says he texts with the Hawkeye assistant.

“I haven’t visited (Iowa) yet, but I might in the future,” he said.

Carlson also reports scholarship offers from Colorado, Creighton, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Stanford and Wisconsin, among others.

-Notre Dame transfer D.J. Harvey is visiting Iowa this week, according to a Des Moines Register report. HN reached him before the report to ask if he was interested in the Hawkeyes.

“Yes sir. Big time,” he responded.

We’ve tried to follow up with Harvey, to confirm his visit and gather more information on his interest in Iowa, but he has not responded.

Harvey (6-6, 225) played two seasons with the Irish after joining them as a Top 50 national recruit. He attended Maryland’s Dematha High and played on the same Team Takeover AAU squad as Hawkeye center Luka Garza.

Harvey missed a chunk of his freshman season with a knee injury. He came back to average 10.7 points and 4.2 rebounds as a Notre Dame sophomore last winter.

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