Iowa head basketball Fran McCaffery is beginning to turn heads among fans in the state of Iowa and has even created a buzz on Twitter with some national pundits.
Many fans and media members are impressed with what he has done at Iowa in just a short time period. The 2012 class — his first full offseason of recruiting — features five players. Of those five players, two are top 100 recruits. He has two point guards, one shooting guard, a 6-foot-11 power forward and 7-foot-1 center.
There is reason to be excited in Iowa City.
I recently reached out to all five recruits to get an in depth Q&A interview. The first installment of this five-part series features Georgia native Kyle Meyer. Meyer is a 6-foot-11 forward and was the first member of the 2012 class. Here is our exchange.
Troy Hyde: First off, tell us about your high school team in Georgia. What your expectations and how is the squad looking for a potential state championship run?
Kyle Meyer: My team is a team with lots of potential. We lost a few guys because of academic problems, but now I’m left with exactly what I want. The players I have are either talented young guys or the same senior kids I’ve been playing with since 6th grade. A championship is always a possibility, but we have a lot of work to get there.
TH: You are regarded as one of the best post players in the state of Georgia. You were the first player to commit to Iowa in this class. Some student-athletes may have waited to see if they got any more offers, especially from instate schools. Why did you not wait and what made you like Iowa so much?
KM: I took a hard look at all my options that I was given. Georgia and GA Tech were two schools I had to look at a lot because they were in state. Everyone in my school or other GA players wanted me to go to one of those because it’s their favorite team. After maybe three months of a lot of research and studying, I realized that the Georgia schools’ style of play were not for me. I chose Iowa because of the amazing coaching staff and the direction they are choosing to go with. I believe in everything they are doing basketball wise. Education also was a big factor. I want to go into physical therapy after my basketball career is done. Iowa has a great PT program.
TH: Give me your impression of Coach McCaffery? He has seemed to have won over Iowa fans in just a short period of time.
KM: Coach Fran is a terrific guy! I love him as both a person and a coach. I feel like I can trust every word he says and take it to heart. Maybe he will become a father figure to me by the year’s end.
TH: How many chances have you had to get to campus and experience what Iowa City is like? You live the furthest away of any of the recruits so it may not be easy for you.
KM: I’ve made three trips out there and loved every one of them. I only was able to stay short amount of times the first two trips because of how my flights were. My last trip was my official and I got to enjoy the school life a little bit. I learned how everything operates for a freshmen and it made me excited to move out there. It’s hard to make a lot of trips just over the weekend or whatever amount of time I have. It’s a 14 hour drive or a semi-expensive flight. I may only be able to make one more trip before the school year starts, if I’m lucky that is.
TH: The five commitments all have seemed to be interacting on Twitter and Facebook. The excitement seems to be there for you guys as well as the fans. Is building a relationship and getting to know each other now crucial to the process of turning around the Iowa program?
KM: Team chemistry is very important no matter what sport it is. Even though I don’t personally know any of the ’12 (recruits), I want to try and develop some kind of a relationship before we go out there. Basketball chemistry will come in time, but a friendship and trust will take us much farther than just a court relationship. I’m confident that Iowa is without a doubt on the way to recovery and becoming a future powerhouse the way it once was.
TH: It has been a long time since Iowa has had two players in the same class or on the court together that are 6-foot-11 and taller. That itself will get Iowa fans excited about the future. Can you both play on the court at the same time or do you see yourself as a center just like Adam does?
KM: (Laughs) I would love to see myself as a center, but I am nothing of the sort. I believe that we will eventually be on the court at the same time depending on how we develop. I am more of the wing-forward type. I love to handle the ball and take outside shots, but I’ll bang inside with the biggest of them. I have played against some of the biggest players in the country and am well prepared to play against the Big Ten competition. After learning Adam’s game and he learns mine, I believe that we could be a dangerous duo. This goes without including current players like (Melsahn) Basabe.
TH: What part of your game are you working on right now that you know has to improve before you get to Iowa City?
KM: I am constantly trying to improve my defense. I need to be able to guard every position on the court. The next level is much faster and a lot of work needs to be done to be able to keep up with the guards. Lateral quickness will be one area that will be something to take extra time on.
TH: Every player has strengths and weaknesses. You just told me about some things you want to improve. What do you feel like are your strengths on the basketball court?
KM: Things I personally feel I do well is the ability to play both inside and outside on offense. Depending on who is guarding me will depict on how I play. Another thing I do well is run the floor. I hustle on both ends and love to be in every play. I go hard for every minute on the court and play every possession like it’s my last.
TH: What do you know about the other recruits in this class? The state of Iowa knows a lot about Adam Woodbury because he plays here and has been to the state tournament. But what do you like about the class overall and the other guys that don’t play in Iowa?
KM: I like how guys are starting to come from all over the country. I don’t know much about any of the players. I never had the chance to play against any of them, but I am very anxious to meet and play with every one of them.
TH: Do you have expectations for your first season at Iowa? Have you and Coach McCaffery talked about a vision he has for the future of the program?
KM: I’m coming in with no expectations other than the fact I want to try my best. I can’t ask for anything because it is not my team. I need to earn my place and spot on the team. Coach Fran wants me to come in and bring all I have to the table. All he wants is the same as every other coach, a championship. He will help me as an individual player to get me there.
TH: Thanks for your time Kyle and welcome to Hawkeye Nation. Good luck in your senior season. I want to wish you plenty of success then and obviously when you arrive in Iowa City.
KM: Thanks for taking the time for me.
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