The scouts and coaches fawned over Peter Jok. He ranked among the top players in his class as he approached his high school years.
Then, the attention mostly disappeared. He sustained a knee injury that made him less attractive to college programs.
"I learned a lot during that time," the 6-foot-5, 200-pound wing said. "Everyone was all over me until I hurt my knee, then they went away."
One school stood by him despite his setback. Sunday, the Class of 2013 wing repaid Iowa with a verbal commitment.
"(The Hawkeye coaches) stayed loyal to me through the whole thing," Jok said. "They were there before the injury, during the injury and after the injury. They had my back and showed me that they were going to be there no matter what."
Jok officially visited Iowa City this weekend. He came to town leaning towards a Hawkeye pledge but the trip sealed the deal for him.
"I went there thinking I was going to commit, but they also convinced me that it was the place for me," Jok said. "I learned more than I knew before, in a good way."
Jok attended the team's shirts and skins intra-squad scrimmage Saturday morning in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. He hung out with the players throughout he weekend.
"On the court, they were going hard at each other but off the court they are like brothers," Jok said. "I really liked that. I fit in."
Jok plays for West Des Moines Valley, which is coached by Iowa's all-time assist leader, Jeff Horner. McCaffery attended an open gym at the school on Monday and invited the sharp-shooter to Iowa City for an official visit.
Drake also had offered Jok a scholarship, but the Bulldogs pulled the ride off the table on Wednesday when they couldn't secure a commitment from the in-state product.
Jok recently had been showing the old form that made him one of the nation's top recruits earlier in his career. College programs like Wisconsin and others were against showing interest in him. He and Horner thought about going through the high school campaign without a commitment to see if more offers would come his way.
"If (the Hawkeyes) wouldn't have offered me, I would have waited through the season (before committing) to see who all would have offered me," Jok said.
That could have paid off for Jok. For the first time in a long time, he feels physically capable.
"I feel like the knee is 100 percent," Jok said. "I just have to get stronger. Then I'll be back to where I was before (the injury)."
Jok is leaning towards majoring in business in college.
"I'm going to Iowa to be part of something special," he said. "I feel like they can make me reach my potential on and off of the court.