Connor McCaffery’s return for sixth season provides extra leadership on the court for Hawkeyes

Published: Nov. 6, 2022 at 11:08 PM CST
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Connor McCaffery’s decision to return for a sixth season is something he said he knew he would regret if he didn’t.

“Everybody else said too, why would you leave college a year early? It’s the best place to be. Go to college, enjoy one more year with your brother, with your family, your dad,” McCaffery said.

Normally, he’d be juggling baseball and basketball, but all his focus this season has shifted to the court and it’s made a dramatic difference according to his head coach and his dad.

“He’s been way more aggressive offensively, shooting the ball really well, which is understandable. When you’re playing more, you’re more comfortable. Certainly, he’s been around, so he knows what we need. He knows what he’s capable of,” Iowa men’s basketball head coach Fran McCaffery said.

“I’ve felt more comfortable with the ball. I’m passing, handling it better, shooting it better. I’m in a lot better shape. I think there’s a ton of positives,” ‚” Connor said. “Besides the fact that I really miss baseball, coming out here and being able to completely focus on one sport, I’ve never done that in my life.”

In 134 games, McCaffery’s career scoring average is four points a game. He’s reached double digits 13 times. However, his value stretches far beyond his offensive production.

“There’s a difference between talking and communication. When somebody is out there on the floor, you want chirping out there. You want guys talking, but you’ve got to be saying the right things. It’s got to be valuable information that’s being translated from one person to another, not just making noise so it looks like you’re playing hard. That doesn’t do anybody any good. You’ve got to communicate. That’s what he does,” Fran said.

He’s a vocal leader for Hawkeyes who isn’t afraid to voice his opinion on a play call.

“It’s like a QB calling an audible or something at the line right,” Connor joked.

Growing up a coaches kid, has helped his vision of the game.

“I’m confident and the coaching staff gives me the confidence too, to be able to step up and do that. Not feel like I have somebody looking over my shoulder. I never do something unjustified. I’m not making stuff up. I’m thinking about things that I think is going to work,” Connor said.

Two coach McCaffery’s may be just what this young Iowa squad needs to make a deep run this season. For the 23-year-old McCaffery, he plans to enjoy his final ride.

“We’ve been successful. We’ve won a lot of games in my career here and I’ve really enjoyed my time. I’ve been on a lot of really good teams, played with a lot of good players and I’ve loved it,” he said.