The Iowa Hawkeyes have a long history of making things a family affair. On the football pitch, this comes with a lot of investigation as things haven’t been going particularly well. But on the basketball court, nicknamed Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes “The Family Business” was a good thing.
McCaffery, of course, has two of his three sons currently on the list. Not just because they are his sons, but because they both bordered on the top 100 recruits nationally.
That alone isn’t enough to earn the nickname. That came after Fran went out and signed another pair of brothers in the Class of 2020. Not nearly as highly regarded nationally, this duo required a year of preparatory school to advance and really received no other big time offers. But McCaffery gave Kris and Keegan Murray a shot, and it worked out pretty well.
Now McCaffery is at it again as he signs Pryce Sandfort, the younger brother of current sophomore and SF starter Payton Sandfort. Like the McCaffery boys, the Sandfort brothers seem to get better with each new iteration. While Payton has won the hearts of many Hawkeye fans for his gunslinger mentality on the court and his ability to really fill it from deep, younger brother Pryce is the most touted prospect.
Pryce arrives in Iowa as a 4-star recruit according to Rivals and 247 Sports and is ranked as a top 100 prospect statewide. At 6ft 7in tall and weighing 190lbs, Sandfort offers lightning fast release and very solid shooting for a player his size. Like his older brother, he has the ability to deflect shots when left open or facing a smaller defender.
But at the same age, the younger Sandfort shows a better ability to create on the fly, making him a little more dynamic and allowing more room to fire off shots. This ball-handling ability likely stems from a later growth spurt when McCaffery and his associates began recruiting Sandfort as a PG a few years ago. Now at 6’7″ with the potential to continue to grow (as his brother did in his first two years in Iowa City), the ability to put the ball on the deck should prove valuable.
Despite the piercing ability, it’s really this ability to be an inner-city sniper that Coach McCaffery excites most about Sandfort. Speaking to HawkeyeReport, Sandfort said Fran expects him to come on day one and chase shots from beyond the arc.
“You can see that I suit their style of play perfectly. Playing fast, shooting a lot of 3s, all that. You see me playing the 1-3 or 4. Fran has told me before that he sees me come in as a freshman and do 60 3s and play a big part right away. Of course it’s up to me and how hard I work.”
That’s not entirely unreasonable for a player who averaged 26.6 points on 52.6% shooting and 40.5% from depth as a junior at Waukee Northwest. Sandfort also added 10.3 rebounds in a game a season ago.
What will be interesting to watch in Iowa City is how Sandfort the Younger fits into the lineup. It seems likely that Kris Murray will join his brother Keegan in the NBA after this season, but the Hawkeyes will still have younger McCaffery as well as older Sandfort in the small forward spot when Pryce arrives in town. Could we see Patrick slide off the bench to the 4 with Sandfort to give Sandfort a breather?
It’s possible and it’s an exciting possibility. Fran has long loved the idea of 4-5 interchangeable pieces, all capable of defending multiple positions and deflecting shots from deep to expand defenses. What better way to do this than to keep recruiting siblings with similar skills and builds?
Welcome aboard, officially, Pryce Sandfort!