By Sean Bock
Joe Wieskamp and C.J. Fredrick signed National Letters of Intent on Tuesday to play for the Hawkeyes.
The duo are the two members of Fran McCaffery’s 2018 recruiting class and have the potential to be significant role players.
Starting with the local kid, Wieskamp, a resident of Muscatine, is the highest ranked prospect to come to Iowa in the recruiting-rankings era, and there are many reasons Hawkeyes fan should be intrigued to see him in the black and gold.
“I feel great,” Wieskamp said. “It feels great to officially sign and be a Hawk. But now, I can just focus on the season at hand and get better each day.”
At 6-7, Wieskamp is a traditional 2-guard with great length for his position and a knack for scoring the ball. His jump shot ranges out to 20 feet, and he also can get to the basket and convert with great finishing ability and solid build for a basketball player.
In his junior season at Muscatine, Wieskamp averaged 30.4 points and 10.2 rebounds a game, including a 50-point performance in December 2016.
McCaffery said that there’s a possibility that Wieskamp could come in next season and start.
“He’s not a mistake guy,” he said. “He’s got good size … If he rips and drives baseline, he’s dunking the ball. His stroke is pure; if it’s a catch-and-shoot situation, you feel like it’s going in, but he [can] it on the deck.”
Being a highly touted recruit in-state means high expectations, but Wieskamp doesn’t seem to be bothered by all the hype.
“I don’t think about pressure too much,” he said. “I just use it as motivation to continue to work hard and know that a lot of people want to be in the spot that I’m in.”
Fredrick, a resident of Alexandria, Kentucky, had offers from such high-major programs as Indiana, Purdue, Butler, and Xavier but felt Iowa was the perfect fit. He agreed to come on the team as a preferred walk-on.
McCaffery already had a connection with the Fredrick family before he signed, coaching Fredrick’s uncle at Notre Dame while serving as an assistant coach.
When Christian Williams decided to transfer last month, McCaffery got on the phone with Fredrick and informed him he would have William’s scholarship.
“One of the big factors was my relationship with Coach McCaffery,” Fredrick said. I’ve known him for a while. We’ve been family friends, and he coached my uncle at Notre Dame. I just trusted him and loved the way he coaches and how they play. A big thing for me was on my official visit just how welcoming all the people were and the atmosphere. I was able to go to the Michigan football game, and there’s just no other atmosphere like it.”
Last season, Fredrick averaged 19.7 points and shot 40.7 percent from 3-point land.
Fredrick’s greatest strength is his shooting from behind the arc, but he also feels he can bring more to the table.
“I like to create for others,” Fredrick said. “I think playing together [with the new recruits], they’re going to like that, and I’m going to like that. So, being able to find them and make plays for them, and also creating for myself, so I think it’s going to work out well.”
The 2018 recruiting class is regarded as No. 45 in the country according to 247Sports, compared with last year’s group ranking No. 56.
Despite all the metrics that go into recruiting rankings, McCaffery doesn’t seem to be too worried about how his players stack up numbers-wise against others.
“I think it’s safe to say that I don’t really care about rankings,” he said. “I never have. We put our eyeballs on them. Can they play in this league or not? Can they fit into our system or not?”