The parable says only a foolish man builds his house on sand... but what does it say about building your house on Sandforts? Because Iowa basketball is doubling up on Sandfort boys in the program, with this weekend's verbal commitment from Pryce Sandfort.
All Glory to God! 110% a Hawkeye! pic.twitter.com/raw9jSonBP— Pryce Sandfort (@prycesandfort) August 6, 2022
Sandfort is, of course, the younger brother of current Iowa player Peyton Sandfort, who joined the program in 2021. The younger Sandfort is listed at 6'7" and 190 lbs; the elder Sandfort is currently listed at 6'7", and 215 lbs, though he's also had the benefit of a year in a college weight-training program. Pryce Sandfort is rated a 3* recruit by Rivals, though 247 Sports puts him as a 4* recruit. Sandfort chose Iowa over offers from Drake, Seton Hall, Clemson, Washington State, and Nebraska.
The decision to commit to Iowa came after an official visit last weekend, but Sandfort said that wasn't his original plan. But spending a few days in Iowa City was all he needed to lock in his future plans, as he told Rivals:
"Before my visit, I was talking to my parents and I was telling them there is no way I’ll commit after it. I wanted to take a lot of visits and decide after that," said Sandfort. "But on the visit it just felt like home. I didn’t want to be anywhere else or visit anywhere else. I fell in love with the campus and the vision that Coach Fran and Coach Gatens had for me. Also, I had a great time hanging out with the guys."
The Gatens factor is significant there, too. Drake was the first program to offer Sandfort a scholarship and Gatens (while at Drake) was the first college coach to contact him. He built a relationship with Sandfort that's carried over to Gatens' new role on the Iowa staff and helped make Sandfort's decision to come to Iowa -- and join a team that already has his older brother and a coach that he's very comfortable with -- an even easier one. Iowa still might have been able to get Sandfort without Gatens on staff -- but it seems unlikely they would have been able to get a commitment from him this early in the process without Gatens' influence.
Through three years of high school ball, Sandfort has already proven to be a prolific scorer; last year, as junior, he averaged 26.6 ppg and 10.3 rpg, while shooting 52.6% from the field and 40.5% from behind the arc. He is the latest in the long line of what has become a familiar type for Iowa under Fran: the long, lanky shooter who can get buckets and fill up the box score. The Iowa coaches compared him to Joe Wieskamp and I think we'd all take a Weezy starter kit; if Pryce Sandfort ends up being even 2/3 the player that Wieskamp was, he'll be a very positive addition to the Iowa team.
Sandfort's skill set primarily suggests a role on the wing, but he may have enough versatility to play elsewhere, too. As Sandfort told Rivals, the Iowa coaches expressed interest in him at multiple positions:
"They see me fitting in perfectly with how they want to play," Sandfort said of Iowa. "Playing fast, shooting a lot of 3s, all of that. They see me playing the 1-3 or 4. Fran has told me before, he sees me coming in as a freshman and making 60 3s and having a big role right away. Obviously, it's all up to me and how hard I work."
Playing the 1, or point guard, would be an interesting idea. Sandfort has played there before in his prep days, and has the skills as a ballhandler to bring the ball up the court and help initiate the offense. He could work as a big guard that would create mismatches on offense. I can't imagine him playing heavy minutes at point guard -- for one, Iowa should have other, more natural options there, like current guard Dasonte Bowen and fellow Class of 2023 commit Brock Harding; for another, Sandfort could be on the wrong side of a mismatch against quicker point guards -- but it could be an interesting wrinkle for Iowa to use at times.
Check out some highlights of Sandfort in action:
Family connections have served Iowa basketball well in recent years -- Pryce and Payton Sandfort will be the third set of brothers (after Connor and Patrick McCaffery and Keegan and Kris Murray) to suit up for Iowa in the last three years when he joins the program next winter. We're looking forward to seeing what the latest little brother to join the Iowa program can do when he arrives. Welcome to Iowa City, Pryce.