Iowa coach Fran McCaffery credits his outgoing seniors for turning the program around. The Hawkeyes were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Gonzaga on Sunday but recorded the program’s first win in the tournament in 14 years and finished with a record of 22-12.
It came just five years after the program hit rock bottom with a 10-22 record. “But ultimately what you have to do is convince really good players that things are going to be different, this is how we are going to do it, this is why it works for you,” McCaffery says. He says they have to decide that coming to the school is going to make it into a tournament team.
Iowa’s four seniors signed up with the program when a trip to the NCAA Tournament seemed light years away. “That’s the thing that impresses me the most about this class, it they were willing to some degree believe in me and my staff, and believe in themselves that when we’re there, we are going to go to the NCAA Tournament,” McCaffery says.
One of those seniors is Aaron White who went from an unheralded high school recruit out of Ohio to an All Big Ten standout. “We weren’t very good when we first got here,” White says. “Every day we just went to work fighting, for one another, with one another, and that’s the thing I am going to remember. Like coach said, we really love each other, we’re like a family. And those kind of memories are going to last forever.”