We’re counting down the Saturdays until the return of college football and much of the attention over the summer has been on the comings and goings of Iowa football, but Fran McCaffery and staff have also been incredibly busy over the last several weeks. That included an active evaluation period in July capped off by a big official visit weekend a week ago.
Earlier this week, we took a look at the two visitors in town, Waukee native Pryce Sandfort and Maine native JP Estrella. Both are big time prospects and both came in high on the Hawkeyes. From all reports, both Sandfort and Estrella really enjoyed their visits and getting to hang out with each other.
On Saturday, Sandfort showed just how much he loved the visit when he announced his commitment to McCaffery and the Hawkeyes.
As most Hawkeye fans will know, Sandfort is the younger brother of sophomore forward Payton Sandfort. He’s a 4-star small forward according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, but is a 3-star on Rivals.
Similar to his older brother, Pryce Sandfort boasts a lightning-quick release and very solid shooting for a player of his size. Speaking of size, the younger Sandfort has plenty of it for a small forward. He’s listed at 6’7” and 190 pounds as a senior-to-be. That’s notable given Payton was listed at the same height as a prospect but is now reportedly up to 6’9”.
While Pryce is a very good shooter, perhaps better than Payton, what really stands out when making the obvious comparison to Payton is a better ability to create off the bounce at the same age. Nobody is going to confuse him for a point guard, but when Fran first started recruiting him that’s exactly where the staff saw the younger Sandfort. As he has continued to grow, he’s kept most of his ball-handling abilities and can mix them in nicely with the quick trigger from deep.
So how does he fit in with Iowa’s system? Very well. Speaking with HawkeyeReport, Sandfort said Fran expects him to come in with a green light, ready to knock down loads of shots.
“They see me fitting in perfectly with how they want to play. Playing fast, shooting a lot of 3s, all of that. They see me playing the 1-3 or 4. Fran has told me before, he sees me coming in as a freshman and making 60 3s and having a big role right away. Obviously, it’s all up to me and how hard I work.”
That’s not totally unreasonable for a player who averaged 26.6 points on 52.6% shooting with 40.5% from deep as a junior at Waukee Northwest. Sandfort also added 10.3 rebounds a game a season ago.
That helped the sharp shooter interest from several programs and likely would have led to even more offers if Iowa wasn’t seen as a likely destination. Pryce garnered offers from Clemson, Nebraska, Seton Hall and Washington State, as well as Drake back when new Hawkeye assistant Matt Gatens was his lead recruiter.
Again speaking with HawkeyeReport, Sandfort said Iowa just felt like the place for him based on several factors.
“On the visit it just felt like home. I didn’t want to be anywhere else or visit anywhere else. I fell in love with the campus and the vision that Coach Fran and Coach Gatens had for me. Also, I had a great time hanging out with the guys.”
With Pryce Sandfort now on board, the Hawkeyes are up to three commitments in the class of 2023. He joins Rock Island, Illinois native Brock Harding, a point guard, and his new big man down low, Owen Freeman.
Iowa currently has one scholarship still available, but with the number of transfers in college basketball and the likelihood that Kris Murray does more than test the NBA Draft waters next spring, the Hawkeyes make look to add more than one more scholarship player this cycle. They could also opt to hold an opening heading into next offseason now that there are two NIL groups active and able to help attract potential transfers.
Until then, all eyes will be on JP Estrella, who visited with Sandfort as previously mentioned.
Welcome aboard Pryce Sandfort!