Caitlin Clark is the indisputable queen of Iowa basketball. The former Dowling Catholic High School record-breaker and West Des Moines, Iowa, native became a household name last season when she led the Hawkeyes to an appearance in the 2023 NCAA Women's National Championship game.
Unfortunately for Clark, Iowa was outgunned by the ferocious LSU Tigers, led by Angel "You Can't See Me" Reese. But that wasn't for Clark's own shooting efforts - there's no way Iowa would have even made it to that point were it not for her Big Ten points record-shattering standout junior season.
Her freshman and sophomore seasons weren't half-bad, either.
But in her junior year, Clark cemented her fame, winning the AP Player of the Year, the Honda Sports Award, the John R. Wooden Award, the Naismith College Player of the Year, and the Dawn Staley Award, and many more, all on her way to being named unanimous first-team All-American.
So, yeah - to say she's the queen might be an understatement.
Clark is so engrained in Iowa athletics that even her boyfriend bleeds black and gold. He's the son of Iowa men's basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, and he's working his way up from the bottom in the NBA.
Caitlin Clark's Boyfriend, Connor McCaffery, Works in the NBA
If you're anything like me, you thought Connor McCaffery he was a football player. But this McCaffery is in the NBA, not the NFL. Furthermore, he's on the sidelines these days, following in his father's footsteps.
But back in college... Well, things were a different story.
The former Iowa No. 30 played guard for Iowa under his father Fran. A Hawkeye since 2017, Connor had the honor of playing alongside his brother Patrick McCaffery since 2019 - before, during, and after his brother's battles with cancer. During his career, Connor had the second best assist-to-turnover ratio in NCAA history. He also tied the Iowa Hawkeyes record for most wins played in at 111, tying Jordan Bohannon. He went to the NCAA Tournament four times in a row, never making it past the second round. When Iowa lost to Auburn in the first round of the NCAA tournament earlier this year, that was the end of Connor's student-athlete career.
He was off to bigger and better horizons.
The coach's kid is following in his father's footsteps. McCaffery told Sports Illustrated watching film alongside his father is where he first fell in love with basketball - a coach from the very start. In May of this year, McCaffery made his first move into a new career by joining the coaching staff of the Indiana Pacers as a team assistant. Things can only go up from here.
These days, McCaffery stays focused on work, though he likes to tweet as much as the next sports fan. The Iowa native is a Philadelphia Phillies fan and was a big fan of their run in the NLCS. Ever the doting boyfriend, McCaffery is quick to repost any highlights of his superstar girlfriend Clark, still balling out for Iowa.
Caitlin Clark: Basketball Queen or Stone-Cold Assassin?
She's probably not an assassin, but she sure shoots like one.
Clark has been winning awards for her on-the-court skills since high school. That long list of awards up above? That's literally not even half of it. The list goes on and on.
And it extends beyond her collegiate career. The point guard has her position locked with the US Women's National Basketball team, bringing home the gold at the 2017 Gold FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship in Argentina in addition to the 2019 and 2021 FIBA World Cups in Thailand and Hungary. See? She's an international assassin, too.
But when she's back at home, she's undisputed royalty. It's unclear how Clark and McCaffery met, but it probably just happened - they do run in similar circles, after all. And with Clark clocking in at 6 feet tall and McCaffery scraping the sky at 6-foot-6, well, some might say it was just meant to be.
The future is bright for both stars. As McCaffery works his way up the coaching ranks of the NBA, Clark is projected to go No. 1 overall in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Clark will certainly be there, but she's not done at Iowa yet. She still has a mission to complete, a legacy to cement, like she said after losing the national championship game.
"I want my legacy to be the impact that I have on young kids and the people in the state of Iowa. I hope I brought them a lot of joy this season. I hope this team brought them a lot of joy...
"I was just that young girl, so all you have to do is dream, and you can be in moments like this."
Caitlin Clark is truly a queen for the people. And as long as she's in Iowa, she'll always be basketball royalty.
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