September 23, 2010

McCaffery visits 2012 five-star prospect

No one can say that Fran McCaffery is afraid of a tough recruiting battle. The Hawkeye head coach along with assistant coach Sherman Dillard made their way down to Wichita, Kansas on Wednesday evening for an open gym with 2012 five star prospect Perry Ellis, who has some interesting connections not only to the state of Iowa, but the University of Iowa.

"Coach McCaffery and Coach Dillard were here tonight," said Joe Auer, the Head Coach at Wichita Heights High School.

Iowa wasn't alone in taking in the open gym for the 6-foot-8 and 210 pound Ellis, who is ranked by as the 19th best prospect in the Class of 2012. Coach Auer says that Wichita State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Kansas State, and Stanford were also in the gym. Next week Ellis is scheduled for another open gym that will be attended by Georgetown, Kentucky, and Memphis.

Coach Auer has a unique connection to the Iowa program. He went to high school at Iowa City Regina and is a graduate of the University of Iowa, so there is plenty of Hawkeye talk that Ellis gets to hear when he is around his coach.

"He certainly hears a little Iowa propaganda from me," Auer said with a laugh.

In addition to Coach Auer's Iowa connections, Perry's mother grew up in Iowa and they still have family in the state.

Auer said he spoke with the previous coaching staff at Iowa early on about Ellis and they were recruiting him. Once Coach McCaffery was hired, he has jumped in right away to continue the efforts.

"I have been very impressed with Coach McCaffery. He is a very good salesman for the University of Iowa. He seems very excited and fits with the mission at Iowa. He is very excited about the improvements in the facilities as well."

Thus far this fall, Ellis has made unofficial visits to Oklahoma and Kansas. This weekend he will be making a trip to Kansas State and he will be going to Memphis, where his older sister plays college basketball, for their Midnight Madness. Also on the schedule is a trip to Kentucky in November and a January trip to Texas A&M.

According to Coach Auer, there is no Iowa visit scheduled at this time, but the Hawkeyes coaches have continued to work hard on his recruitment.

"Coach McCaffery knows that they got into this kind of late, but I think they are doing a great job trying to get in there. They have really worked the Iowa connections with him and his family."

The good news for the Iowa coaches is they appear to have time to make up ground in the recruiting battle for Ellis.

"Perry is a unique kid," Auer said. "He is very focused on his high school experience and his academics and athletics. He is not too worried about making any decisions or recruiting. He enjoys hearing from a lot of different schools right now and remains wide open in his recruitment."

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