One last trip for Conor McCaffrey

It should come as no shock that the son of a DI college basketball coach is seen as an extension of the coaching team when he’s on the court.

Conor McCaffrey He has been coaching all his life and has also gained a lot of experience on the ground during his college career. Over his five years with the Hawkeyes, Connor played in 134 games and scored nearly 3,000 minutes.

“You know, you’ve seen it, Michigan State plays a different role than Indiana plays a different role than Wisconsin. He knows what we’re going to see from all those different teams, and from all these different coaches,” said coach Fran McCaffery.

Connor doesn’t brighten the box with a 30-point performance, in fact, he scored just 2.12 shots per game last season. However, it does bring other things to the table like head level, 3.5 assist-to-functional ratio, high basketball IQ, and leadership.

“He respects the men in the locker room. He says the right things at the right time,” Fran said. “We always talk about the difference between speaking and communicating… It should be the valuable information being translated from person to person, not just making noise, So it looks like you’re playing hard. This does not benefit anyone. You have to communicate. That’s what he does.”

This season, Connor is focused on making a difference with the younger players on the roster and making sure there are vocal leaders to take the lead when he leaves. Practically speaking, he was placed in the Golden Team with freshmen Josh Dix, Dassunt Bowen, Amarion Nimers and sophomore Riley Mulvey.

“Me and a bunch of guys who haven’t played before, so I’m that guy who comes up to him and asks questions,” Connor said. “I won’t be here next year, so what will happen when he attends the next freshman class? That was my goal. How am I going to help someone else. I talked to Peyton about being more candid, Tony about being more candid, Patrick a little more vocal. Dasonty has come in. And it was good too.”

When he’s on the field, it’s not uncommon to see Connor get into it a bit with someone else on the other team. He’s not afraid to get into it himself or support a teammate if words are exchanged during the match. The most notable example of this dates back in March of 2020 when he came face-to-face with Da Monte Williams of Illinois during an intense match that arrived at the Farm Center in Champaign. Sometimes Connor says he’ll light a fire during training if he feels the group lacks some energy.

“I’ve known I’ve gotten into it a little bit throughout my career, which is a good thing,” he said. “I will even try to prick the bear a little bit if I think we are having a bad day. I will try to get into it a little bit and get someone to talk because once he gets angry, then that energy and competitiveness really rebounds.”

As for his actual playing on the field? There is a chance we will see more offensive production from him this season. In the first 19 games of last season, Connor scored just 22 points, but in the second half of the season he made three doubles and scored 45.5% from behind the arc. His assisted turnover rate over the last 15 games was 4.86. He talked about the possibility that he will be an even greater offensive threat this season.

“At certain times and in certain formations, I have to be able and ready (to score) when needed,” he said. “Last year, I got really hot at the end of the year and started scoring more goals, but then I was also involved in matches where I wouldn’t try to shoot because Keegan had 30 and I need to find a balance… I need to be ready to step up and drop the shot if I have to. “.

Fran says he saw a difference with Connor focusing solely on basketball compared to the years he was with the baseball team. “I think it was a huge difference for him. He was still playing baseball now, so all summer, all fall, he’s been on the field. He’s more into basketball, and that helps, especially when you play more than one position. But I think from a standpoint Basketball, he was more aggressive in an offensive way, as he hit the ball well, which is understandable. When you play more, you feel more comfortable.”

Conor McCaffrey has the Big Ten Championship ring and now says the last thing missing from his time in Iowa is running in the NCAA Championship and he’s looking forward to doing so this season.

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