Let's just rip the band-aid right off. C.J. Fredrick is joining the Gone, Baby, Gone gang and leaving the Iowa basketball program:
I have been able to confirm with a source that Iowa guard CJ Fredrick will be entering the transfer portal— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) April 19, 2021
Other reports have indicated that Fredrick will be transferring to Kentucky, which is a) a blue-blood program, b) badly in need of shooting, and c) close to home for Fredrick. So a move to Kentucky certainly passes the sniff test. It would also make Fredrick the second-straight shooting guard to leave the Hawkeyes for a blue-blood program after Isaiah Moss traded Iowa for Kansas after the 2019 season. Ironically, Moss' decision to leave was predicated in part on the playing time Fredrick was going to take from him in the 2019-20 season. Time really is a flat circle, or some shit.
Fredrick played in 52 games over the last two seasons at Iowa, starting all 52. He was immediately inserted into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman and praised for his shooting prowess and his ability as a defender. And, indeed, that was largely true of Fredrick's two seasons in black and gold: Iowa's perimeter defense was better when Fredrick was on the court (though it was still far from great, as we saw when Iowa faced back courts full of size, length, and athleticism) and he was a good 3-point shooter. He made 83/178 (a sizzling 47.2%) long-range attempts over two years, averaging 1.5 made threes per game. On a team that also featured excellent three-point shooters in Jordan Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp, Fredrick may have been the best of the lot. Overall, he averaged 8.8 ppg on 48/47/74 FG/3FG/FT shooting splits, while adding 2.3 apg and 1.5 rpg. If anything, Fredrick didn't shoot often enough, especially this season; Fredrick attempted five or more threes just five times in Big Ten action, and just once after January 17.
Of course, one of the reason behind that lack of shot attempts is tied to the other defining storyline of Fredrick's tenure at Iowa: injuries. Foot/ankle injuries limited him in 2019-20; he missed six games and was a far less effective player over the final two months of the season while trying to play through those injuries. Similarly, plantar fasciitis proved to be a recurring foe for Fredrick this season; he missed four of six games due to that ailment in late January and early February and while he played in all of Iowa's final ten games, his effectiveness was a shadow of what he was at his best.
We knew Iowa would have a new-look basketball team next season. We didn't perhaps appreciate just how new-look it would be. Luka Garza has departed to begin a professional hoops career. Joe Wieskamp is again going through the NBA Draft process, with an extremely high likelihood that he will not be returning to Iowa for another season. Jordan Bohannon could return for a sixth season given the NCAA's free year of eligibility in 2020-21 and has not formally announced his plans yet, but it's believed he won't be returning to Iowa without the implementation of Name, Image, and Likeness rights for college athletes. Legislation at the state level has died for the time being and federal legislation to pass in the next few months. If JBo doesn't return, Iowa will be down four starters from last season with Fredrick's departure -- and that might be five starters depending on Connor McCaffery's recovery from off-season hip surgeries.
It stings a bit to see Fredrick enter the transfer portal -- we were hoping he would be able to get healthy before next season and become one of the leaders for next year's team, when he would have had a much bigger role in the offense -- but we don't begrudge him his decision to leave, either. Transfers are the new normal in college basketball -- programs can either adapt to that reality or flounder in irrelevance. Good luck at your next step, C.J.