Seven months ago Megan Gustafson wrapped up the greatest career in Iowa basketball history. Today Iowa women's basketball picked up the greatest recruit in program history.
No, I don't think that quite conveys the significance of this commitment. How about...
This is, to put it mildly, a HUGE get for Lisa Bluder and the Iowa women's basketball program. Caitlin Clark is the bluest of blue chip recruits on the 2020 scene. ESPN rates her a 5-star prospect (with a grade of 98 out of 100), and ranks her the #4 overall prospect in the Class of 2020. Clark is an absolutely elite prospect and the type of player who can make an immediate high-level impact. In women's basketball, she's the type of prospect who goes to UConn or Notre Dame or Baylor. Maybe Maryland or Oregon now. But not Iowa -- until now. Clark is not just the biggest recruiting get in the Bluder Era at Iowa, she's probably the biggest recruiting get in the history of the Iowa program. In terms of Iowa sports overall, she's probably the biggest recruiting get since A.J. Epenesa or Spencer Lee.
The last Iowa women's hoops recruit with a profile like Clark's is probably Samantha Logic, who was a 5* recruit (#10 overall recruit) in 2011. She went on to have an absolutely phenomenal career at Iowa, breaking several Iowa career records and going on to be an All-American. If Clark has a career like that, we'll be very happy indeed.
Clark, a 5'11" guard from West Des Moines Dowling, chose Iowa over Iowa State and Notre Dame, as well as offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Texas, and Florida. She's been a star since she started playing high school basketball and she's produced at a staggering level over the last two seasons. She averaged 27.1 ppg as a sophomore, then bumped that to 32.5 ppg as a junior, despite dealing with increased defensive attention. She also managed to haul in 7.0 rebounds per game, dish out 3.5 assists per game, and snare 2.2 steals per game. If you want to see her scoring prowess in action, here she is dropping 60 points -- in a high school game:
And here's some more video of Clark in action:
Here's some of the evaluations she received from ESPN as a prospect:
Consumate playmaker executes in half-court game with precision; unselfish decision-maker passes with purpose; offensive firepower manufactures shots in mid-range game to the arc; a leader, teammate and a power-5 prospect.
Superb play maker brings half-court execution; penetrates and distributes, game manager; shot selection in mid-range game moves to the arc; outstanding floor general with leadership qualities.
That sounds like a player who not only has a lot of offensive skills of her own to display on a basketball court, but also a player who can improve the level of play around her. She also sounds like the sort of prospect who other high-level prospects may want to play with, which is important -- as good as Clark might be, she alone isn't going to elevate Iowa to a higher level in women's basketball. But if she can help sway some other top recruits to call Iowa City home...
And that's important because elevating Iowa women's basketball to new heights is definitely on Clark's mind:
Just talked to Dickson Jensen, who coached Caitlin Clark (@CaitlinClark22) w/ All Iowa Attack:— Matthew Bain (@MatthewBain_) November 12, 2019
"(Iowa's) getting in my opinion the best player in the U.S. Caitlin wanted to play at a place where she could take them further than they've ever been before in the NCAA Tournament"
Hell yeah. That's a player with serious ambition -- as well as the skill and drive to achieve those ambitions. Welcome to Iowa City, Caitlin -- we can't wait to see what you do in black and gold over the next few years. For now... we dance: