By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – It's official.
Connor McCaffery will play for the Iowa men's basketball team this season.
"I spoke with the baseball coaches today and they gave me the thumbs up to play basketball this season," Connor McCaffery said in the game notes for Thursday's exhibition game against Belmont-Abbey at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "I'm excited to help the basketball team this season and contribute to the best of my ability."
Connor McCaffery had originally planned to redshirt in basketball as a true freshman in order to focus on baseball. But his plan changed after junior point guard Christian Williams announced last Thursday that he would transfer from Iowa after the fall semester.
Williams was expected to be the backup point guard behind sophomore Jordan Bohannon. But it now appears that the 6-foot-5 Connor McCaffery, who is the son of Iowa men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery, will play that role.
Connor McCaffery met with Iowa baseball coach Rick Heller on Tuesday before finalizing his decision.
Connor earned all-state honors in both basketball and baseball at Iowa City West High School. He played mostly in right field in high school, but also has played first base.
Fran McCaffery told Jon Rothstein from CBS Sports on Monday that he wanted Connor to play basketball this season because the team needs him.
"Coach Heller knows we need him," Fran McCaffery said on Rothstein's podcast. "I know we need him. He wants to play (basketball). He’s playing well.”
Fran McCaffery told Rothstein that he thinks the jump from high school to college is easier in basketball than baseball.
"They’re doing some things with his swing and he’s working hard to perfect it,” Fran McCaffery said. “If we did flip and say, okay, you play basketball and red shirt in baseball (this year), he’ll still grind in the cage, get his swing down and perhaps change it next year or down the road.
“For right now, I’d say there’s a good chance he’s going to red shirt in baseball, get his swing down, play for us and help us win.”