Two players leaving Iowa
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
IOWA CITY — The dismantling of Iowa’s underperforming roster began Tuesday, as reserves Brady Ellingson and Ahmad Wagner announced that they were leaving the program.
The school says Ellingson, a redshirt junior, will graduate in May and seek to play a year as a graduate transfer at another school, while Wagner says he wants to give football a shot after three seasons playing basketball for the Hawkeyes. He hasn’t decided whether to stay at Iowa or play football at another school.
Ellingson, a 40-percent career 3-point shooter, averaged 2.8 points and 1.1 assists a game last season. But he couldn’t find consistent playing time even after fellow guard Christian Williams abruptly quit the team in November.
Wagner was a highly sought-after recruit in both basketball and football coming out of high school. But his hoops career fizzled in 2017-18 as he averaged just 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.
One possible option for Wagner would be to stay in Iowa City and join coach Kirk Ferentz’s squad, which never seems to have enough receivers. Ferentz held a news conference on Tuesday, but Wagner’s announcement came roughly an hour after Ferentz finished talking with reporters.
“My plan now is to train and get my body into football shape so I can be ready for when I decide where I will finish my athletic and academic goals,” Wagner said.
The Hawkeyes will bring in a likely starter at Ellingson’s position next fall in highly touted freshman Joe Wieskamp.
“Brady is a hard worker, a terrific teammate, and a good student. We wish Brady good luck in his future endeavors,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Ellingson and Wagner’s departures will open up a pair of scholarships for the Hawkeyes. They’ve avoided using the graduate transfer rule in recent years, but anything might be possible after a disappointing 13-18 record in 2017-18 — their worst season in nearly a decade.
Iowa could use a veteran point guard who can attack the rim and open perimeter space for the likes of Wieskamp and fellow guard Jordan Bohannon, and it might also be in the market for another power forward after losing Wagner.
The Hawkeyes could even stash a scholarship for later use after adding just two freshmen in their latest recruiting class.
Iowa is also awaiting word on star forward Tyler Cook’s future.
Though Cook isn’t projected to be picked in this spring’s NBA Draft, he will go through the league’s evaluation process. Cook hasn’t hired an agent, meaning he could return to the Hawkeyes.