Five reasons why Iowa basketball offering Brock Harding makes a lot of sense

Five reasons why Iowa basketball offering Brock Harding makes a lot of sense

On Monday, the Iowa staff extended an offer to Moline (Ill.) three-star point guard Brock Harding. The Hawkeyes are the first high-major offer for Harding, who is also heavily considering Loyola-Chicago, Colorado State, and Illinois State, among others.

Iowa made the right call in offering Harding, and here are five reasons.

1. He fits Iowa’s style of play: Harding is what Iowa is looking for in a point guard. Harding may not have the optimal length that some are looking for, but he is the complete package when it comes to a true point guard. Harding is shifty, quick, and has the ball on a string. He sees the floor very well and has a high basketball IQ. Harding has also seen his jump shot improve drastically, which we’ll discuss later. Moline plays an up-tempo pace where it scores many points and looks to run the floor as much as possible. Moline head coach Chris Taylor gives his players a lot of freedom on the court, and that’s an area where Harding could gel if he chooses to pick Iowa. Harding will look to push the tempo and play fast when he is on the court, and that’s what Fran McCaffery is looking for. One way to describe Harding is that he plays so fast, but he’s always in control and limits mistakes. The game never seems too fast for him.

2. He could be a great fit alongside Owen Freeman: The one person that may have been more excited about Harding getting the Iowa offer than Harding was AAU, high school teammate, and Iowa commit Owen Freeman. Freeman and Harding have played together the last couple of years on the main MidPro Academy team, and the two have formed a great chemistry. That chemistry will only get better next winter as Freeman transferred to Moline for his senior season, and he and Harding have been quite a pair on the June circuit. Here is what Freeman said about Harding’s game.

“Brock is the best point guard I’ve ever played with or seen,” Freeman said. “His IQ is insane, and playing with him has opened up my game as well. He has different gears he shifts into, so he plays the game at his own pace. He has developed a lethal jump shot now and he’s so difficult to defend He is the hardest worker I have been around.”

Harding and Freeman could form quite the 1-2 punch if they were to team up again in Iowa City.

3. Improved shot: Harding has seen his game improve a lot over the last couple of years, but the main improvments have been his jump shot. Harding has become more comfortable with his shooting ability, and that has made him much together to guard. Harding has always been a playmaker and a guy that can get to the rim and finish in different ways, but adding his jumper to the mix has made him difficult to stay in front of and gameplan for. Harding has gotten more comfortable with his ability to shoot it, and that has added more confidence to his game.

4. He gels well with Iowa’s other 2023 targets: We’ve talked about Harding’s fit with Freeman already, but if the Hawkeyes can land Waukee Northwest four-star wing Pryce Sandfort, then it would be another great match with Harding. Harding is an improved scorer, but as Freeman mentioned, he makes everyone better when he is on the court, and he will find ways to get his teammates open shots. Sandfort is a shotmaker, and while he can handle the ball and create for himself, he also works well moving off the ball and allowing his teammates to get him open looks off the catch. Harding and Sandfort could fit very well in the backcourt and would form a potent duo along with Dasonte Bowen and Josh Dix, among others. Not much has to be said with four-star center JP Estrella as he and Freeman would fit in well together in the frontcourt, and Harding would have two towers to work with.

5. Iowa can afford to take more guards: Some may ask why Iowa offered Harding if the Hawkeyes already have a point guard in the 2022 class in Dasonte Bowenwho the Iowa staff is high on, but McCaffery made it clear to Harding that he likes how Harding and the other guards, Bowen, Ahron Ulisand Tony Perkins, could all work well together and coexist. This quote from Harding was notable.

“He didn’t say that they needed a point guard, but he just loved the way I played,” Harding said. “In years past, they’ve had multiple point guards on the floor simultaneously with Ahron Ulis, Joe Toussaintand Tony Perkins. He hit on me playing with Dasonte Bowen and Ulis, both of them. In the years past, he’s had three guards on the court at one time and he doesn’t see why I couldn’t do that with how I’m good with the ball in my hands and being a threat off the ball and my shooting ability as another aspect which makes me harder to guard on the court with other guards on the court.”

That is certainly telling of how Iowa feels comfortable with offering Harding and how he could factor into the equation.

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