Previewing Iowa basketball’s backcourt

Iowa’s backcourt will be filled with new faces next season, and the Hawkeyes need them to produce.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp looks to pass during a men's basketball matchup between Ohio State and Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, January 12, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes, 72-62. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

Iowa basketball’s backcourt will look a little different in 2019-20.

With Isaiah Moss’ transfer to Kansas and Jordan Bohannon’s potential redshirt season coming on the heels of hip surgery, head coach Fran McCaffery will be forced to turn to some inexperienced options outside of Joe Wieskamp and Connor McCaffery.

Wieskamp’s presence when playing the two will help stabilize the unit, but outside of him and the younger McCaffery, no other guard has stepped on the floor in the Black and Gold.

Bakari Evelyn, a Valparaiso transfer who committed to the Hawkeyes on June 9, will be called upon to help carry the load from the minute he steps into Carver-Hawkeye.

Freshman Joe Toussaint will likely receive plenty of minutes in his first season, as will C.J. Fredrick coming off a redshirt season.

The performance of the backcourt, however, will begin and end with its two most experienced players.

RELATED: Valparaiso transfer Bakari Evelyn commits to Iowa


Hawkeye fans certainly know what Wieskamp brings to the floor. The Muscatine, Iowa, native proved to be a force on both ends of the floor last season, and next season should be no different in an expanded role.

With Tyler Cook headed to the professional ranks and Bohannon injured, Wieskamp will need to bring scoring along with big man Luka Garza.

If Bohannon does in fact sit out a year, Wieskamp will be the main man shooting beyond the arc. After hitting 42.4 percent from 3-point range last season, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Whether Wieskamp attacks from the inside or out, defenses can’t be lackadaisical when defending him.


McCaffery knows how to distribute the ball, and he’s good in that role. But if he wants to help ease the pain of Iowa’s losses, he will need to take a step forward in creating his own offense.

He averaged 4.4 points and 3.0 assists last season, but he only shot 36.1 percent from the floor, including a 20.7 mark from deep.

The dual-sport athlete showed promise at times, however. He dropped a season-high 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting to go along with 5 assists and 3 boards against Connecticut in the 2K Empire Classic Championship.

Taking pressure off him by surrounding him with such scorers as Wieskamp and Garza should help him regain some confidence.


Evelyn committed to Iowa at the perfect time.

The Valpo transfer averaged 8.4 points per game on 33.6 percent shooting last season but didn’t live up to his potential after recovering from surgery.

In 2017-18, he ranked second on the team with 12.6 points per game and shot 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.

He’s not Moss, but his experience and 3-point prowess will certainly help the Hawkeyes in a time of weakness.

Evelyn has also played in the Big Ten before. He played in 18 games for Nebraska as a freshman before transferring to Valparaiso.


Iowa had to wait a season before it could utilize Fredrick’s scoring and shooting ability, but it will come at a good time.

Fredrick, a 6-3 redshirt freshman, was named the 2018 Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 23.1 points and shooting 48.4 percent from 3-point range during his senior campaign.

After spending a year practicing with the program and getting acclimated to the Division-1 game, he gives the Hawkeyes another weapon from deep.

Toussaint Iowa was Toussaint’s only Power 5 offer, but he could find himself in an important role early.

The 6-0 point guard helps soften the blow of Bohannon’s potential missed season, serving as a cutting facilitator with tenacity on the defensive end.

He also played with fellow incoming freshman Patrick McCaffery in the NBPA Top 100 Camp last summer, giving him a glimpse into the future.

Toussaint is a different type of player from Bohannon and Moss, but Iowa will need him to produce if they want to avoid struggles in the backcourt.

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