With the graduation of Adam Woodbury, the Iowa Hawkeyes have a problem, a height problem. Due to the depature of Woodbury, the Hawkeyes will ask Ahmad Wagner to handle the majority of minutes at center. While the 6-foot-7, 225 pound Wagner can certainly handle his own around the rim, Iowa would be best served to acquire some height down low to handle what Woodbury was asked to do: protect the rim and rebound.
Two 2016 recruits may see time at center this season in Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsl, but the future of those two prospects is most likely at the four. That leaves Fran McCaffery and company with a literal large task at hand, finding a center in the Class of 2017.
If They Hit The Lottery
Malik Williams is the best case scenario for the Hawks in 2017. The 40th ranked recruit in 2017 according to 247Sports, Williams is a legit seven footer that has garnered interest from most of the top programs in the nation. The Fort Wayne product weighs just 200 pounds right now, but has all the makings of a difference maker at the next level. He showcases the ability to shoot over his man in the post and all the way out to the three-point line, the length and athleticism to disrupt and block shots at the rim, as well as a decent handle for a man his size. Williams would fit in well next to the Hawks prized recruit of 2016, Tyler Cook, but it appears that Fran and the Hawkeyes should look elsewhere, as Tom Izzo and Michigan St are the far and ahead favorites to land his services.
The Long Shot
Theo John, the four-star power forward/center out of Champlin, MN, is the next recruit that the Hawks have been in on for a while, but don’t seem likely to land. The 6-foot-8 John has mismatch written all over him. He’s quick enough to blow by most men at his position, can shoot the three or take you down on the block and convert a jump hook. He has the athleticism and lateral quickness to guard either the three or four and the length to alter shots in the lane. He has the versatility to play the five in a small ball lineup as well. He would shine in the Hawkeyes up-tempo, run and gun style of play, but again it appears unlikely he will land in Iowa City as Oklahoma and Minnesota are the favorites to lock John up.
Luka Garza, a three-star center out haling from Washington D.C. looks to be Iowa’s best hope of filling the center spot in 2017. Garza carries a versatile skill set with him. While not as fleet of foot as the other two prospects, the 250-pound center displays a consistent shot all the way out to the three-point line, a decent jump hook over his right shoulder, the ability to finish with both hands around the rim and a ferocious tenacity on the boards. Another prospect that would fit in nicely in Fran’s system, Garza carries 14 offers right now, with Iowa, Louisville and Alabama being the top schools in the mix. The Hawks were the first school to offer Garza and the first school he visited, so the framework and relationship is there. Garza is the most realistic recruit for the Hawkeyes to land and fill the hole at center, and with his skill set as a stretch big man, he would be bring a versatility to the position that the Hawkeye fans haven't seen during Fran McCaffery's tenure in Iowa City.