True freshmen show veteran mindset for Iowa men’s basketball

Joe Toussaint and Patrick McCaffery have made a habit out of staying late after games to shoot until the head coach turns the lights off.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery drives to the rim during a men's basketball game between Iowa and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cougars, 87-60. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Assistant Sports Editor

The fans had left, empty popcorn buckets and candy wrappers were being picked up from the newly-empty stands at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Only two players remained on the court after Iowa’s blowout loss to DePaul on Nov. 11.

Freshmen Joe Toussaint and Patrick McCaffery were both getting extra shots up after the game.

Despite their youth, Toussaint and Patrick McCaffery are both already well-aware of what it takes to compete at the college level.

“They did that both games [including Iowa’s matchup against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville],” head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I’m proud of them for that. That’s what you want from your young guys. It’s what you want from everybody, quite frankly.”

Toussaint and Patrick McCaffery kept shooting until their head coach had to tell them to go home.

“I had to turn the lights out on them on Friday night because it got really late,” Fran McCaffery said. “It was probably about 11:30, and they were still in there, so I got them out of there.

“At some point, I’m going to go in there and say, ‘All right, you got to go to bed.’ It’s the law of diminishing returns. You got your shots up, got comfortable. You felt like you needed to do that. Now, it’s time to go eat and go to sleep.”

The two true freshmen had different journeys on their way to playing basketball at Iowa. Patrick McCaffery went to Iowa City West before coming to play for his father at the college level. Toussaint is from the Bronx.

Now, the two are side-by-side more often than not.

“Ever since I met him, we just kind of clicked,” Patrick McCaffery said. “He’s probably my best friend here. We’re roommates, pretty much together all hours of the day. That’s my guy. He’s someone I look forward to playing with for the next four years.”

Toussaint plays with the energy and toughness that Iowa needs.

Early in Iowa’s season-opener, Toussaint committed an ugly turnover. Again showing the mindset of someone beyond his years, Toussaint responded by hitting his first two 3-pointers. He wasn’t going to let an early mistake get to him, and knew how to make up for it.

“Just being confident,” Toussaint said. “Just having confidence in myself and believing in myself. That’s what I did — stayed true to myself. That was a minor mistake that I made. I had to make up for it.”

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More late night shootaround sessions are likely to take place for Toussaint and Patrick McCaffery moving forward, whether anybody knows about them or not.

The two have a long journey ahead of them as Hawkeyes, a journey they will go on together.

“I knew him a lot in AAU, but not super well,” Patrick McCaffery said. “When he came on his visit, we connected really well, and once he moved in, it was perfect. It’s definitely crazy how a guy who grew up in Iowa City, Iowa, could connect so well with a kid who grew up in the Bronx.”

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