JP Estrella held a mental picture of what he expected when he arrived in Iowa City this week for his official visit with Hawkeye basketball. The actual trip exceeded his vision, on and off the court.
“I feel really good about the program after the visit,” the Class of 2023 four-star big man from Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy and the Middlesex Magic AAU program told HN.
“Coach (Fran) McCaffery has done a great job and Iowa City is great. You can tell the fans love the Hawkeyes with all of them wearing gear around town. And there weren’t as many corn fields as I was expecting. I really like the town.”
Estrella (6-11, 210) has nothing against corn. He just likes that Iowa basketball and the city are so much more than the vegetable.
“The visit went great. I got to see everything Iowa has to offer and got to hang out with the guys a ton. I really enjoyed everything about it and got to meet some great people,” he said.
Coming into the week, it was thought Iowa would be matching up against Duke in pursuing Estrella. He was scheduled to visit the Blue Devils right after stopping in Iowa City. He confirmed with HN Saturday that he canceled the Duke visit.
He’s scheduled to officially visit Syracuse Aug. 4-6. He’s considering a Kansas visit.
“After this next visit (to Syracuse), I should have a good idea of where I’m at. I’ll take some time to think and talk things over with my family and coaches,” Estrella said.
The Hawkeyes put their best foot forward the last few days. Junior forward Patrick McCaffery, Fran’s son, played host to Estrella. They spent time around the whole team, but hung out the most with sophomore Payton Sandfort and his younger brother, Pryce Sandfort, a ’23 wing from Waukee (IA) High taking his official visit.
Perhaps Estrella and Pryce Sandfort will round out Iowa’s ’23 Class. Owen Freeman and Brock Harding are the known verbal pledges already in the group.
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“Pat was a super bubbly guy and super funny. I enjoyed being around him, Payton and Pryce. The whole crew was awesome to be around. I had a blast being around them and fit in well,” Estrella said.
Estrella and his parents spent about two hours watching game film with Fran McCaffery. The coach showed JP how he planned on using him in the system.
“He showed me that I can do everything that I want. We watched film of a ton of different players, but we saw a lot of Luka Garza because he could shoot the rock well, pick and roll, pick and pop, seal in the post, all those things I like to do,” Estrella said.
Estrella watched two Iowa practices and a weight-lifting session while he was in town.
“I got a good feel for how they do things and how they run the program,” he said.
During the second day of the visit, Estrella saw the academic side of Iowa.
“The people there were great and really helpful. The staff showed me the great resources available for students in Business,” he said.
Estrella expects to major in Sports Management.
Like with Garza, Iowa might benefit from having believed in Estrella’s talent before some of the blue blood programs came calling. The Hawkeyes offered him his first high-major scholarship back in December. Duke, Louisville and Kansas all offered in June.
Rivals and 247 rank Estrella as a four-star prospect. The former sees him as the No. 53 recruit in the country regardless of position for ’23, while the latter views him as the No. 62 overall player nationally in the cycle.