Iowa basketball's scholarship situation and roster breakdown for 2017-18 is continuing to come into clearer focus. We knew that it was all but certain that Dale Jones was going to be moving on from Iowa after this season. He went through the Senior Day ceremonies with Peter Jok at Iowa's final regular season home game against Penn State and Fran confirmed that Jones would be leaving Iowa at Iowa's basketball banquet a few weeks ago. Now we know that he's trading the Hawkeyes for the Fighting Hawks:
UND men's basketball has received a verbal commitment from Iowa Hawkeyes transfer Dale Jones, a 6-7 PF, according to a source.— Tom Miller (@tommillergf) April 20, 2017
Jones is heading to North Dakota to finish up his collegiate career. As a graduate transfer, he'll be eligible to play immediately next fall. He joins a Fighting Hawks program with a few Iowa ties already -- head coach Brian Jones is from the Quad Cities and coached at Iowa under [REDACTED] and one of his assistants is Jeff Horner, a former Iowa standout. They also had a handful of Iowa natives on their roster last year. Iowa also played North Dakota last season, beating them 84-73 in a game that was most famous for the handshake-related brouhaha that erupted at the end of the game.
Jones arrived at Iowa as a JUCO transfer in 2015 in the hopes that he would help Iowa fill the front court voids left by Aaron White, All-Big Ten First Team, and Gabe Olaseni, the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year. Unfortunately, things never panned out for Jones at Iowa. He saw actions in six games in 2015-16, playing a total of 78 minutes and averaging 5.5 ppg and 3.0 rpg in that limited action. The high point of his season (and, in hindsight, his Iowa career) came against Coppin State, when he scored 16 (on 4/6 shooting from outside) and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Unfortunately, he went down with a serious injury at the end of November, which ended his season.
Hopes were relatively high for a breakthrough in 2016-17, especially with even more openings in the front court after the graduations of Jarrod Uthoff and Adam Woodbury. Jones would be battling a slew of freshmen, sophomores Ahmad Wagner and Nicholas Baer, and junior Dom Uhl for playing time. He played even less this year than he did last year, seeing action in just five games for a total of 15 minutes. He did get a start on Senior Day, though, and made a three pointer, which was fun. Yet again injuries severely limited his playing time -- nothing of the season-ending variety this time, but a handful of different ailments kept him from seeing the court most of the year.
In terms of Iowa's ongoing scholarship crunch, Jones' departure (when official) will get Iowa's scholarship situation back into equilibrium. Jones and Jok will be departing this year, to be replaced by Iowa's two signed incoming recruits for 2017, Jack Nunge and Luka Garza. At present, it doesn't seem like any other departures are coming. The only remaining question mark is the status of Connor McCaffery, another 2017 recruit. As Fran discussed earlier this week, he hasn't yet decided what his plans are for next year. He could come to Iowa as a baseball recruit. He could go to prep school for a year. He could walk on at Iowa as a basketball player. We should find out relatively soon what his plans are for next year.
Jones' Iowa career -- such as it was -- will simply go down as an intriguing potential what if scenario. He arrived at Iowa as a sweet-shooting big man with the ability to help Iowa rebound and stretch the floor. Thanks to injuries, we never really got to see much of that player -- aside from that brief, stunning star turn against Coppin State last year. Hopefully he finally gets a much deserved run of good health and can end his college career on a high note up in Grand Forks. Good luck, Dale.