It was just 26 days ago that Hawkeyes forward Patrick McCaffery was taking a leave of absence, citing anxiety. His return date was unknown — until it wasn’t. Just an hour or so before Iowa’s game against Rutgers, McCaffery was seen in uniform ready to play.
Early in the first half, McCaffery checked in and promptly drained a corner three ball to the Hawkeye crowd’s delight.
“It was awesome,” Patrick’s father and head coach Fran said. “I wasn’t surprised because he practiced really hard yesterday. He looked like himself. What was most impressive was him taking and making the first shot. He didn’t shy away in the moment. He didn’t hesitate, he just made it. I was just really happy for him.”
Patrick played just 13 minutes, but knocked down all three of his long distance attempts, a team high. The typical starter made a big impact off the bench, tallying nine points, two assists and two rebounds, while adding a block and a steal in Iowa’s 83-72 win over Rutgers. But what he’ll remember the most is the ovation from the crowd as he entered the game.
“I’m really appreciative to all the fans who came out today — the ovation meant a lot,” Patrick said. “It was a really emotional game, a really emotional day. It’s been a really emotional last few weeks and all those feelings came to fruition.”
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