Pair of Iowa basketball recruits receive extra benefits — sort of

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Two 4-star men’s basketball recruits received extra benefits from Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery shortly after the program secured their commitments.

But coach McCaffery and his wife, Margaret, gained a few benefits themselves along the way.

The recruits are Iowa freshman guard Connor McCaffery and his younger brother, Iowa City West forward Patrick McCaffery. Connor, who committed to the Hawkeyes in 2014, recently received a vehicle from Coach McCaffery. Patrick continues to pick up several meals a week from local businesses, courtesy of Iowa’s coach.

At Iowa’s basketball media day, Coach McCaffery admitted the players received items of value from him and his wife.

“We did buy a car for Connor,” Coach McCaffery said. “He has to get to school. But Patrick still doesn’t have his license. I haven’t bought him a car.”

It’s likely once Patrick obtains his license, he also will receive a car.

Initially, Connor denied receiving extra benefits from Coach McCaffery.

“That was not a deal,” Connor said. “It was kind of like, ‘Go take out the trash now that you’ve committed.’ Things like that. Never anything like extra benefits. I don’t even know what to call them.”

Coach McCaffery indicated he obtained a quid pro quo from Connor along with his commitment. He has yet to receive the same assurances from Patrick.

“We make [Connor] work,” Coach McCaffery said. “He’s got some things he’s got to get done. We still can’t get Patrick to clean up his room.”

All sides agree food was provided in exchange for future services.

“I guess I did get some extra dinner meals from [Margaret McCaffery],” Connor said. “That’s about it.”

“I might have picked up the check for that,” Coach McCaffery said.

One chain restaurant that serves burritos in the Iowa City area benefited the most from the McCaffery boys’ commitments.

“[Coach McCaffery] definitely has gotten me Pancheros [Mexican Grill] now and again,” Connor said. “That’s about as many benefits as I’ve gotten.”

“[Patrick] goes to Pancheros about five days a week,” Coach McCaffery said. “He should really be doing commercials for Pancheros.”

Coach McCaffery discovered the players’ attachment to Pancheros during a trip to Mexico for the Cancun Challenge in 2012. That’s when and where the food demands started.

“Patrick would have been in sixth grade,” Coach McCaffery said. “Don’t ever take us to Mexico again. The food was awful. We hate the food. As soon as we landed in Iowa City, [Patrick said] ‘Let’s go to Pancheros and get some real Mexican food. So, let’s go to Pancheros. That’s Mexican enough.’ We’re not going back to Mexico.”

In addition, with the Hawkeyes at the 13-player scholarship limit, Coach McCaffery has agreed to pay for Connor’s tuition and other school-related expenses this year.

According to 24/7Sports composite rankings, the 6-foot-8 Patrick is the No. 9-ranked small forward nationally in the Class of 2019. He’s ranked as the No. 36 overall player. Connor, who stands 6-5, was rated as a 4-star guard by Rivals. He will redshirt this season while also playing college baseball for the Hawkeyes.

Connor and Patrick also receive gifts, food and other materials year-round from Coach McCaffery and his wife, who also are known as the players’ parents.

Iowa-coach-Fran McCaffery
Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery answers questions at the team’s media day. (Scott Dochterman/Land of 10)

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