Andrew Fleming left Iowa Saturday afternoon feeling like the the Big Ten school fit him well. The junior shooting guard wanted to take time to talk things over with his mother and reflect on emotions he was experiencing.
Back in Tennessee that night, the Nashville product pictured his future. He wondered if this was the sensation he'd heard other recruits describe when finding their school.
While in reflection, Fleming received a text from Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery. It read:
So glad you enjoyed everything. There is no question that this is the perfect fit. I want you in a Hawkeye uniform and I want to be your coach. You have the talent and intelligence to be great and we will make history.
The correspondence pushed the Hawkeyes into even better position with the 6-foot-5, 205-pound reigning Mr. Basketball from Tennessee. Fleming slept on it and called McCaffery Sunday morning.
"He said he was just about to call me," Fleming said. "He said he just got done watching his son play and that he had an Andrew Fleming type game; had around 25 points and played really well. I told him that I wanted to play for him and I wanted to play at Iowa."
Fleming's verbal commitment gives Iowa two in the 2015 Class. The incoming transfer to Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) joins Chicago's Brandon Hutton in the group. The Hawkeyes have three more scholarships available in the cycle if they don't land anybody else in '14.
"It just felt right," Fleming said. "It was the right fit. Overall, I just think I'm going to be very successful there. I know Coach McCaffery has my back. He has so much confidence in me and I just think the world of him and all of the coaches at Iowa. Making this move is going to be great. I'm just so happy that I took the time to go up there to see it and it ultimately changed my life."
Fleming arrived at Iowa on Friday without a scholarship offer. The Hawkeyes extended him an opportunity that afternoon to go with reported options from Florida, Ohio State, UNLV, Memphis and Vanderbilt.
Fleming said his mother and coach Steve Smith at Oak Hill supported his decision. He also received a vote of confidence from Iowa City High Coach Don Showalter, who he's known for a long time through USA Basketball and camps he attended in Iowa as a youngster.
"I just have so much support from so many different people with big brains and they all think it's a great fit for me. It just makes the decision feel that much better," Fleming said. "I'm so relieved. It's a weight off my shoulders. I'm most happy because I know I made the right decision.
"I can't wait to get to Iowa, win a lot of games, help win some Big Ten championships and hopefully go deep in the tournament."
Fleming moved to Nashville before the ninth grade. He helped Ensworth High win the last three state championships after playing varsity as an eighth-grader in his native Jacksonville, FL.
While in the Sunshine State, Florida Coach Billy Donovan noticed Fleming and became the first mentor to recruit him. His parents were Gators. Many people thought he'd end up in Gainesville.
"I think (The Florida coaches) will be happy for me," Fleming said. "They might be a little shocked and maybe a little sad but we've built a relationship that I think they'll be happy I found a place I think I fit.
"There was a time I felt like Florida might be the place for me because I was from there but there have been a lot of other schools I looked at, too. There have been 20 or 30 schools, high majors, that have contacted me and talked about offering when they see me in July. It just didn't matter. I found my place in Iowa. It's the perfect decision."
Fleming is prepared to handle folks in his hometown wondering how he could say no to Vanderbilt.
"Everywhere I go people have something great to say about there," Fleming said. "I know it's a great school and program. I know Coach (Kevin) Stallings really well. We've talked a lot while he's been recruiting me. I'm happy for him that he got a commitment from a guy at my position (Camron Justice). They've got five commitments in the '14 and '15 classes, I think. They're looking great. I have nothing but love for them and the time they took to recruit me.
"I appreciate all the schools that considered me during this college process. I hope they will be happy knowing that I picked the perfect college for me."
Fleming said he will turn his attention to helping the Iowa coaches recruit the rest of his class and beyond. He is attached to players all over the country having played for multiple AAU programs and at other high-level camps and events.
"I'm really not completely sure how it's happened but of the players rated from 1-200 (in the '15 class), I probably know 80-85 percent of those kids. If you look in my phone, you can see all of these (numbers from) big names I have stored in there. I'm friends with them. They have Iowa on their list but wouldn't make that jump to go out and see it because they don't know much about it, kind of the like the way it was for me for a long time. I think most players want to go somewhere where there's great support from the coaches and fans and that's what you get at Iowa. We just have to get the word out," Fleming said.
Fleming wasn't comfortable throwing out names of players he's targeting until he has a chance to contact them.
"I'm not going to go overboard and be all up on them. I just want to make them aware of something great happening there and that they need to check it out," he said.
For more background on Fleming, please check out two pieces we did earlier this week: