It's the new norm for basketball and football programs all over the country. Seniors and red-shirt juniors are celebrated for their accomplishments at the end of the current season, as they are either not expected to return or they haven't made their decision yet. The extra year of eligibility the NCAA granted athletes due to COVID has really exacerbated the trend.

Add Iowa guard Connor McCaffrey to the ever-growing list of young men who decide, 'Hey, you know what? I want to play another year.'

As he announced via Twitter yesterday, the son of head coach Fran McCaffrey will play his sixth year with the Iowa basketball program.

Five minutes or so later, the Iowa Men's Basketball Twitter account shared the message, with a quote from McCaffrey himself:

In his tenure as a Hawkeye, the 6'5 guard has played in 134 games, averaging 4 points, 3.1 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per contest. Last year he put up 2.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and dished out 1.9 assists over 17 minutes a game.

Though he clearly hasn't put up gaudy numbers in the box score, the older of the two McCaffrey brothers is known and valued for his defensive versatility. The Hawkeyes relied on his ability to defend both guards and forwards en route to their Big Ten Tournament championship in 2021-2022.

During last night's Iowa basketball banquet, McCaffrey and Keegan Murray were awarded the Chris Street Award. The honor "is presented annually to a Hawkeye player, or players, who best exemplify the spirit, enthusiasm, and intensity of Chris Street," according to Sports Illustrated.

According to Hawk Central, McCaffrey has stayed ready following the Hawkeyes' first-round NCAA Tournament loss to Richmond. This is what he told the publication:

I've been playing a lot of pickup. Going to the wellness center sometimes and then we'll play over at this place in North Liberty, some guys from here, some semi-professionals that live in town and some players from (Northern Iowa) will come down. It's good runs.

Now that Connor has decided to return, it makes the lineup for Iowa a bit clearer heading into next season, despite the departures of Keegan Murray and Jordan Bohannon as well as Joe Toussaint and Josh Ogundele. Though Kris Murray declared for the NBA Draft along with his brother his future remains up in the air, as his draft stock is not as high as Keegan's.

Connor's younger brother Patrick also returns, along with a backcourt of Tony Perkins, Payton Sandfort, and Ahron Ulis. Filip Rebraca is the lone returner in the frontcourt that played significant minutes last season.

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