2022-23 Iowa Men's Basketball: Who's Back?

By RossWB on April 7, 2022 at 3:30 pm
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There have been a lot of departures from the 2021-22 Iowa men's basketball team over the past few weeks. Jordan Bohannon is really out of eligibility. Keegan Murray is headed to the NBA. Joe Toussaint is headed to the transfer portal. Josh Ogundele is also headed to the portal. Even Austin Ash is entering the portal. Who's left? What does next year's team look like? Let's take a quick overview. 

GUARDS (5)

NAME ELIG HT WT 2022 STATS
Tony Perkins JR 6-4 210 18.2 mpg; 7.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.6 apg; 45% FG, 32% 3FG, 80% FT
Ahron Ulis JR 6-3 190 13.9 mpg; 3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.1 apg; 34% FG, 33% 3FG, 79% FT
Payton Sandfort SO 6-7 210 10.5 mpg; 5.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.6 apg; 42% FG, 37% 3FG, 94% FT
Dasonte Bowen FR 6-3 170 n/a
Josh Dix FR 6-5 190 n/a

Sandfort could is a wing and could also see minutes at small forward, but it seems most likely that he'll see a lot of minutes at shooting guard next season. Dix suffered a horrific leg injury that ended his prep career; I'd consider any contributions that Iowa is able to get from him next season to be pure gravy. Fran seems very high on Bowen, an incoming freshman at point guard out of New Hampshire, so he'll definitely see minutes next year. 

There are 80 minutes per game across two guard positions to essentially distribute among four players: Perkins, Ulis, Sandfort, and Bowen. My guess on distribution: 25-28 minutes for Perkins, 25 for Sandfort, 15 for Ulis, and 12-15 for Bowen.

Ulis' poor shooting numbers are going to hamper his efforts to get increased playing time; he was not a threat from long range and his finishing near the rim was also poor. That's not good. Perkins' numbers weren't great, either, but they were at least trending in a good direction in the second half of the season after he entered the starting lineup. Sandfort's numbers aren't dazzling, but his form is pure and I think his numbers will improve next season. That 94% free throw rate is also notable; he should be Iowa's go-to option at the end of games next season.

Also: this is only a listing of the scholarship players. Iowa also has walk-ons Luc Laketa and Carter Kingsbury as options at guard next season. That said, outside of Nicholas Baer, Iowa has rarely seen walk-ons play big minutes under Fran. 

FORWARDS (3)

NAME ELIG HT WT 2022 STATS
Kris Murray JR 6-8 215 17.9 mpg; 9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.0 apg; 48% FG, 39% 3FG, 65% FT
Patrick McCaffery JR 6-9 200 24.1 mpg; 10.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.6 apg; 42% FG, 33% 3FG, 71% FT
Connor McCaffery SR 6-5 205 17.1 mpg; 2.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.9 apg; 35% FG, 34% 3FG, 72% FT

The "other" Murray may still test the NBA Draft process, but the consensus opinion (among draft experts, Iowa media, and Fran) seems to be that he'll be returning to Iowa next season. The elder McCaffery's return is also not a lock, as he's reportedly considering his options and hasn't decided whether or not to return for one more year of basketball. 

If Kris Murray does come back to Iowa for one more season, it will be so he can try to follow in his brother's footsteps and be "the man" for next year's Iowa team. Keegan averaged 32 minutes a game for Iowa this season; I'd expect Kris to play 30+ minutes a game next year as well, especially given Iowa's lack of options at forward/center right now. Kris will definitely need to pick up a few pointers from Keegan on avoiding foul trouble. 

I'd expect Patrick to play 25-28 minutes per game next year and Connor to play 17-20 minutes a game if he opts to return. Patrick is Iowa's leading returning scorer and while I expect Kris Murray to end up leading Iowa in scoring next season, Patrick is going to need to shoulder an even greater offensive load. It's going to be vital that he improves his shooting numbers (42% overall/33% 3FG) and becomes a more consistent scorer for Iowa. 

BIGS (2)

NAME ELIG HT WT 2022 STATS
Filip Rebraca SR 6-9 223 21.4 mpg; 5.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 0.7 apg; 53% FG, 17% 3FG, 60% FT
Riley Mulvey SO 6-11 240 4.7 mpg; 0.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.0 apg; 50% FG, 0% 3FG, 100% FT

It's already been confirmed that Rebraca is returning for one more year at Iowa; Ogundele's departure leaves Rebraca and Mulvey as Iowa's only bigs on the roster for the time being. I'd expect both to play more than they did this season, although how much more is TBD -- and likely dependent on 1) their improvement over the offseason and 2) any additional players Iowa adds to the roster. 

Speaking of... Iowa has 10 scholarship players for next year, with three openings. I think it's unlikely that they'll use all three available scholarship slots, but 1-2 additions seem likely. Fran has already stated that they're pursuing a big in the transfer portal. Utah Valley big Fardaws Aimaq is Iowa's top choice... but he's also the top choice of a lot of programs. 

Aimaq is expected to visit Iowa (as well as Washington, Houston, Texas Tech, and maybe Arkansas) in the next few weeks. 

It's not clear who else Iowa is looking at in the transfer portal, or if they're also considering adding a guard as well. Fran's interest in adding a big through the portal was before Toussaint (and Ash) departed Iowa; Tousssaint's departure may get Iowa to look a bit longer at transfer guard options as well. Either way, there's been a fair amount of upheaval on the Iowa roster over the last few weeks and it's probably not done just yet, although hopefully any upcoming changes are in the form of additions to the team rather than more subtractions from the roster. 

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