The season is officially over for the Iowa Hawkeyes men’s basketball team. Arriving to the NCAA Tournament as an eight-seed, the Hawkeyes met their end in the first round of the tournament, losing to nine-seed Auburn 83-75.
Finishing seventh in a stacked Big Ten conference, the Hawkeyes had higher hopes and failed to deliver. Now that the Tournament is in the books, the focus shifts to 2023-24. What will the Hawkeyes look like when the season arrives?
Who is out?
After a middle-of-the-road finish in the Big Ten conference – seventh in a stacked conference – and one of the last Big Ten teams to make the NCAA Tournament, the focus will shift on next season. While a lot can happen in the offseason, there are a few things that we know.
For starters, we know who won’t be back from this group of Hawkeyes. Be it senior or draft departures, these are the names that will be on the out and what they brought to the table for the Hawkeyes.
SR Filip Rebraca, F
Fillip Rebraca will leave school as arguably the second-best player on this incarnation of the Hawkeyes. During the 2022-23 season, he finished second in points per game (14.1) and rebounds per game (7.5) while tying Kris Murray for third on the team with 2 assists per game.
He finally became an impact player for Iowa, having an official breakout year in his senior campaign. The transfer from North Dakota went from an afterthought to one of the focal points of the Iowa offense. His contributions will be sorely missed as the Hawkeyes attempt to retool for 2023-24.
I’ll miss Filip Rebrača — dude worked his ass off and did more inside than most his size could do in Big Ten. pic.twitter.com/SM24ZqKslW
— Chris Hassel (@Hassel_Chris) March 17, 2023
SR Connor McCaffery, G
Though he did not quite deliver on the same level as younger brother Patrick, senior Connor McCaffery will certainly be missed. He wound up being a role player for the Hawkeyes, averaging 6 points per game in 30 minutes of action each night.
His play off the bench is a contribution that will be missed, though should theoretically be the easiest to replace. His brother will be around for one more year, at least.
Top 5 assist/turnover ratios in college basketball this season:
1. Connor McCaffery: 3.90
2. Reece Beekman: 3.36
3. David DeJulius: 3.19
4. Robin Duncan: 3.17
5. Tyger Campbell: 3.11 pic.twitter.com/9HPhSmgx7t
— College Basketball Report (@CBKReport) March 22, 2023
JR Kris Murray, F
Without a doubt, the biggest loss to be felt by the Hawkeyes will be that of junior forward Kris Murray. Murray established himself as a premier forward this season, averaging 20.2 points per game, 7.9 rebounds, and two assists per contest.
Murray has all the tools to be an effective power forward at the next level, entering the draft fourth in the category. As of right now, he plans to go somewhere in the latter half of the first round. He displayed a smooth offensive game during his time with Iowa, showing good offensive efficiency and putting himself in good position to score. The Hawkeyes will sorely miss what he brought to the court each night.
ESPN's latest mock draft has the Knicks selecting Keegan Murray's twin brother Kris Murray of Iowa at 19 pic.twitter.com/cT7PMigPYC
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) March 13, 2023
Who is in?
With the NCAA Tournament still going on, it is a little too early to know everyone who will be in the mix for the Hawkeyes in 2023-24. Transfers will no doubt play a role in the coming months and the right transfer could wind up playing a key role for the Hawkeyes.
For now, the focus will be on which additions from the 2023 recruiting class will be the right ones. For starters, this is the first top-25 recruiting class under the most recent regime. Here are a few of the biggest additions that could see an early impact in Iowa City.
Remember you can still bet on the March Madness in Iowa.
Pryce Sandfort, SF
The centerpiece of the current recruiting class after losing out on a pair of studs in center JP Estrella (Tennessee) and TJ Power (Duke). That said, Sandfort is no slouch and the lone knockdown shooter that Iowa landed, which is great considering Murray, McCaffery, and others are departing this offseason.
Pryce could very well have an impact for the Hawkeyes as a true knockdown shooter. He is one of the best shooters in the class and can score in a variety of ways. Though he isn’t the kind of player that transforms a program, his skills will be invaluable for a Hawkeyes program that needs to retool and replace a few valuable players.
His main role when he steps on the floor for Iowa will be to implement his outside shooting and help spread the floor. It will be the beginning of a potentially great Iowa career for Sandfort.
All Glory to God! 110% a Hawkeye!🐤 pic.twitter.com/raw9jSonBP
— Pryce Sandfort (@prycesandfort) August 6, 2022
Ladji Dembele, PF
The Hawkeyes managed to grab a big man as well in Dembele. He is an inside-out big man that has both the strength and size to be a force in the paint. That said, he is more comfortable working from the outside.
If the Hawkeyes can get him to figure out his inside game, he could be a diamond in the rough. His impact will likely not be felt for at least two years as the staff works to make him a potentially dominant big man.
2023 four-star forward Ladji Dembele tells me has committed to Iowa.
More here: https://t.co/baoeYq7pBJ pic.twitter.com/IS66dQyBBy
— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) November 16, 2022
Credits on Featured Image: Iowa Hawkeyes forward Kris Murray (24) during the game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Auburn Tigers in the First Round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship South Regional on March 16, 2023 at Legacy Arena at BJCC in Birmingham, Alabama.(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire)(Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images/Digital License)