About six weeks after their season ended, the Iowa basketball team has a lot more open scholarships for the 2019-20 season (and beyond) than we expected back in March. At the time Iowa had one open scholarship slot and they were set to lose one senior, Nicholas Baer. Those slots were set to be filled by incoming Class of 2019 recruits Patrick McCaffery and Joe Toussaint. Iowa's still bringing in McCaffery and Toussaint -- but they also have three available scholarship slots now, following Tyler Cook's departure for the NBA and Isaiah Moss and Maishe Dailey opting to transfer. So -- what happens next?
I think it's reasonable to expect that Iowa had contingency plans in place for the departures of Cook and Dailey. Iowa redshirted two players last year who seem best-suited to play the four -- Cordell Pemsl and Jack Nunge. I think there was a (not unreasonable) assumption that Pemsl and Nunge may be able to replace a lot of Cook's production, should he decide to go pro this year (which seemed likely from the moment he chose to come back to Iowa last summer). Dailey was primarily a depth option on this year's team, and with Iowa bringing in Toussaint and bringing C.J. Fredrick off redshirt, they should have some other back court options to replace Dailey's minutes (and production).
I'm not sure there was such a contingency plan in place for Moss, though. Moss has started almost every game for Iowa for the last three seasons and averaged 25 minutes a game over the last two seasons. Iowa's best options to replace that are... well, the same options it was relying on to replace Dailey: true frosh Toussaint and redshirt frosh Fredrick. Well, that and perhaps more of Jordan Bohannon at shooting guard, which means more Connor McCaffery (and Joe Toussaint) at point guard.
But what about bringing in new players for 2019-20? After all, Iowa does now have three more scholarships to work with than they had two months ago. It seems like their Class of 2019 recruiting is basically done with McCaffery and Toussaint. That leaves JUCO options or transfers. Iowa has been linked to a few prominent transfers. A few weeks ago word got out that they were in the mix for Sam and Joey Hauser from Marquette:
Marquette transfer Joey Hauser tells me that he and his brother Sam plan to visit Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa, and Michigan State.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 23, 2019
Marquette transfers Sam and Joey Hauser confirm to me they will visit Wisconsin on April 26, Michigan State on May 3 and Virginia on May 17. Also intend to set up visit to Iowa. Will obviously be a huge addition for anyone.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 24, 2019
We hadn't heard much about them lately, but apparently Iowa is still in the mix; their transfer plans may have been slowed a bit by finals prep.
Sam and Joey Hauser are not visiting Michigan State this weekend and instead will focus on finals at Marquette. They plan to take additional visits following exams. Both Hauser boys visited Wisconsin last weekend. Possible visits in future include Iowa, Michigan State, Virginia.
— Mark Miller (@WisBBYearbook) May 3, 2019
Iowa's also very much in the discussion to land Notre Dame transfer D.J. Harvey.
Notre Dame transfer D.J. Harvey told @Stadium he will choose between Vanderbilt and Iowa. Averaged 10.7 points this past season as a sophomore.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) May 1, 2019
Harvey is expected to make his decision soon. He's listed at 6'6", 225 lbs and can play on the wing or as an undersized power forward. He averaged 10.7 ppg (on 39% shooting, including 29.9% shooting from 3-point range) and 4.2 rpg in 25.9 minutes per game for the Fighting Irish last year.
The Hausers were two of the best players on Marquette last season. Sam, the older brother, is slightly smaller (6'8", 225 lbs), but was hugely effective last season: he averaged 14.9 ppg (on 45.9% shooting, 40.2% from 3-point range) and led the team with 7.2 rpg and had 2.4 apg. He was also a dead-eye free throw shooter (92.4%). Joey, the younger brother, is slightly larger (6'9", 230 lbs), and had a strong freshman season: he averaged 9.7 ppg (on 44.7% shooting, 42.5% from deep), 5.3 rpg, and 2.4 apg. The Hausers are two of the most coveted transfer options available right now, so landing them would be a definite coup for Iowa.
Neither Harvey nor the Hausers would be able to help Iowa next season, though. All three players would need to sit out a season before being eligible to play at Iowa, meaning they couldn't provide an on-court boost to the Hawkeyes until the 2020-21 season. They'd certainly be good enough (especially the Hausers) to make it worthwhile to add them to the roster, even with that one-year wait, but if Iowa is looking for someone who can make an immediate impact next season, they'll have to find that elsewhere.
Iowa hasn't been seriously linked to many JUCO or grad transfer options, but it's hard not to wonder if that might change now that Moss has decided to depart Iowa. Most of the top JUCO and grad transfer options have already chosen destinations for next year, but Iowa should probably look under every rock and peer into every hole to see if they can find talent to help next year's team. Iowa rebounded from a lousy season in 2017-18 with a pretty strong campaign in 2018-19, so avoiding back-sliding in 2019-20 is important. Doing that without adding some more talent to replace the losses of Cook, Moss, and Dailey could be challenging.