Iowa men’s basketball set to return depth to lineup

Jordan Bohannon, Jack Nunge, and Patrick McCaffery will return this season to give Iowa an important boost.


David Harmantas

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon #3 during a basketball game against Michigan State on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. The Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes 82-67.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

The Iowa men’s basketball team will add some coveted firepower into its lineup next season whether Luka Garza decides to return or not.

After Jordan Bohannon, Jack Nunge, and Patrick McCaffery missed significant time last season with injury or recovering from injury, all three will return to help lead a Hawkeye squad that is widely regarded as a top-10 team entering the season.

“Those three guys, in particular, I’m really proud of,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said.

The most highly-anticipated return of the trio will be Bohannon’s.

He ended his 2019-20 season with a bang, leaving his shoes on the Hilton Coliseum floor after beating Iowa State, 84-68, his third career victory over the Cyclones.

But Bohannon never looked like himself in the 10 games he played. He posted career lows in points, rebounds, assists, 3-point percentage, and minutes played.

Next season will likely be a different story.

For the first time in years, Bohannon will be completely healthy. That’s enough to make Iowa fans celebrate.

“I think the great thing about Jordan is he has really been diligent since his surgery and has probably felt the best he’s felt in a very long time,” McCaffery said. “But more importantly, I think he’s really gotten his body to where it needs to be in terms of strength and weight, what he eats. His discipline has been — as you would expect it to be — very professional.”

Just as Bohannon was, Nunge was expected to play a key role for the Hawkeyes after sitting out to redshirt in 2018-19.

He didn’t get far.

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After starting to find his groove, Nunge tore his ACL in Iowa’s sixth game of the season. Before he had a chance to show how he improved during his year off, his season was over.

He only shot 36.4 percent from the field while averaging 5.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game last season.

Now, it’s about making a comeback.

McCaffery said Nunge has been running and doing what he can with his indoor court at home. Still, some activity requires him to be in a pool.

His return will give Iowa another player who can stretch the floor.

“He’s had no setbacks from his knee,” McCaffery said. “He’s been running, so that’s a good sign. But we’re not rushing anything. We’re making sure we’re going at the pace he needs to go.”

Patrick McCaffery is in a similar boat.

Fran McCaffery said he has a good setup at the family’s house where Patrick and Connor McCaffery can lift and get shots up to stay in shape.

That has resulted in Patrick McCaffery adding some muscle in preparation for next season.

Patrick McCaffery sat out out the majority of last season due to residual health issues from a previous condition. Patrick McCaffery was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014, but his development this offseason is a step in the right direction.

“Patrick is coming along really well — he’s up over 200 pounds, which is the first time he’s ever been over 200 pounds,” Fran McCaffery said. “That’s a good sign.”