Fran McCaffery

Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery.

After nearly 2½ years of waiting, Joe Wieskamp finally made it official Wednesday.

The Muscatine High School star signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the University of Iowa during a ceremony in the school’s auditorium, punctuating a wait that began when he verbally committed to the Hawkeyes in June of 2015, following his freshmen year of high school.

Wieskamp, rated the 40th best prospect in the class of 2018 by, was one of two sharp-shooting wing players to sign with the Hawkeyes on the first day of the early letter of intent signing period. C.J. Fredrick, a 6-foot-4 guard from Park Hills, Kentucky, also signed.

But Fredrick only had to wait two months for this day. The 6-6 Wieskamp waited much longer.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “I’ve been committed for a while, so it’s a good feeling to make it official.”

Wieskamp said he never once wavered in his decision during the long wait.

“I’ve always been a Hawk fan, a big Coach (Fran) McCaffery fan,” Wieskamp said. “He’s always been extremely supportive of me in helping my growth. Just staying loyal to the Hawkeyes and always wanting to go there has kept me (there).”

That lengthy wait has given Wieskamp time to become a member of the Iowa family. He has attended countless football and basketball games — including last Saturday’s epic 55-24 victory over Ohio State — and also has been to plenty of the basketball team’s practices.

“That’s probably the best part about it,” he said. “Being there so early I was able to develop a relationship with the coaches and a lot of the former players.”

It also has given him time to fine-tune his game. He has gone from averaging 18.6 points and 6.1 rebounds a game as a freshman to a state-leading 30.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as a junior last winter. He shot 56.1 percent from the field last season, 41.3 percent from 3-point range and 86.8 percent at the foul line.

“He could start for Iowa right now in my opinion. I really believe that,’’ Muscatine coach Gary Belger said Wednesday. “I’ve seen guys with more talent, but I haven’t seen anybody with the right package, mental and physical.

“That’s what makes him one of the best players in the country and that’s what’s going to make him a great player for Iowa.”

McCaffery said Wieskamp has one of the best 3-pointing shooting strokes he's ever seen.

"Not only is Joe is an incredibly versatile player, but he is a person with terrific character, basketball intellect, and commitment to the team,'' McCaffery added. "We could not be more thrilled because he epitomizes everything you look for.''

The Hawkeyes also have high hopes for Fredrick, who averaged 19.7 points per game last season in leading Covington Catholic High School to a 29-6 record. He has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range each of the past two seasons and is rated the third best prospect in the state of Kentucky.

He actually committed to Iowa in August without knowing whether or not there was even a scholarship available for him. He planned to walk on with the Hawkeyes if necessary even though he had offers from such schools as Xavier, Nebraska and Penn State.

He just loved Iowa’s style of play and it didn’t hurt that his uncle, Joe Fredrick, played at Notre Dame when McCaffery was an assistant there.

When junior guard Christian Williams decided to transfer, McCaffery phoned Fredrick and told him he had a scholarship.

"He is a good shooter and scorer, but also is a good ballhandler and creates shots for other people,'' McCaffery said. "He’s equally adept at making plays for himself and his teammates that help you win. C.J. is fiercely competitive and can play multiple positions.''

Northern Iowa also signed a top-100 player Wednesday.

Northern Iowa signed the No. 88 player, A.J. Green of Cedar Falls, who is the son of Panthers assistant coach Kyle Green.

Contact Don Doxsie at The Muscatine Journal contributed to this report.


Load comments