Point guard Connor McCaffery ready for a fresh start

Connor McCaffery returns for Iowa basketball, and not only does he give the Hawkeyes another scorer, but he takes pressure off fellow point guard Jordan Bohannon.

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Point guard Connor McCaffery ready for a fresh start

Iowa guard Connor McCaffrey poses for a portrait during Iowa men's basketball Media Day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. The team's first game will be against Guilford College on Nov. 4.

Iowa guard Connor McCaffrey poses for a portrait during Iowa men's basketball Media Day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. The team's first game will be against Guilford College on Nov. 4.

Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Connor McCaffrey poses for a portrait during Iowa men's basketball Media Day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. The team's first game will be against Guilford College on Nov. 4.

Katina Zentz

Katina Zentz

Iowa guard Connor McCaffrey poses for a portrait during Iowa men's basketball Media Day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. The team's first game will be against Guilford College on Nov. 4.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

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Connor McCaffery missed Iowa’s first two games of 2017 with an ankle sprain. Then he missed eight-straight games because of mononucleosis and sat out the final 19 contests after he underwent a tonsillectomy on Dec. 26.

“Once it became evident that it was going to take awhile, when he had the setback after the surgery — when he was bleeding in the middle of night, and we had to take him to the hospital, and he was in the hospital at 4 in the morning — we kind of knew his season was shot at that point,” head coach Fran McCaffery said.

Connor McCaffery’s freshman season didn’t play out as he — or Hawkeye fans — would have liked, but now, following a redshirt year, the point guard is ready to hit the hardwood.

When it comes to point guards, Iowa played two true players last season: Connor McCaffery and Jordan Bohannon. However, Connor McCaffery’s laundry list of medical issues left the Hawkeyes shallow in the backcourt, the elder McCaffery said.

Connor McCaffery’s return not only alleviates Bohannon’s minute-load, it allows Bohannon to play more 2-guard.

“Maybe he’s a little more tired, [I can] take some pressure off, and bring the ball up, and have him come off screens — I take the ball, he goes off the ball,” Connor McCaffery said. “When it comes to a minute-load, through a Big Ten season, that’s hard. Obviously, the Big Ten — the toughest league in the country — it’s going to be a grueling season, and I think I can help in a lot of ways, and I think I will.”

Last season, Bohannon averaged 31.8 minutes per game, the 13th-highest total in the conference and the most on the Iowa team. He was the only Hawkeye with more than 1,000 minutes last year.

Connor McCaffery, a facilitator, and Bohannon, a shooter, complement each other in the backcourt.

“It brings another dimension to this team, to have a facilitator like he is,” Bohannon said. “I’m obviously able to move off to the 2-guard and get some shots that way. Instead of bringing the ball up the court and worrying about orchestrating the offense as much as I normally do.”

Connor McCaffery only played in four games last season, but in the limited minutes he had, he showed flashes of potential, averaging 2 points and 1.8 assists per game. Per 40 minutes, that’s 6 points and 5.3 assists.

He also had the fifth-best offensive rating (points scored and produced) per 100 possessions of any of the Hawkeyes, clocking in at 110.8, and also had the best true shooting percentage of any of his teammates (81.6 percent).

With just a limited sample size, there is some concern for how Connor McCaffery will bounce back this season. After all, four games isn’t a lot.

But he’s more than familiar with Fran McCaffery’s offense and style of play. It’s a matter of being there physically, not mentally.

“I’m comfortable. I’ve seen it. I’ve watched this team, this system, since I was 1, since I could walk,” Connor McCaffery said. “I think stepping in, I felt comfortable, yes. Was I physically there? Probably not.” 

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