Iowa junior forward Patrick McCaffery is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the Hawkeyes program to address anxiety, he announced on Tuesday in a statement. McCaffery, the son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, is a 6-foot-9 forward who is third on the team in scoring this season and second in 3-point shooting percentage among players in full-time roles.
"I have been battling anxiety for a while, and recently it has peaked, which has inhibited my preparation and performance on the court," McCaffery said in a statement. "It's not fair to myself or teammates to be on the court when I am not myself. The anxiety has affected my sleep, appetite, and stamina, which has resulted in not having the energy level necessary to compete at my full capabilities."
McCaffery added that his absence "might be two games, it may be four games, it may be more," but he will only return when he is feeling like himself. He added the anxiety was not related to his past cancer battle.
"Patrick is one of the millions of people who battle through anxiety on a daily basis," said his father and coach, Fran McCaffery. "It has become more noticeable on and off the court over the past couple weeks. Patrick has the full support of his family, coaches, teammates, and administration as he fights through this."
McCaffery is having a career year for Iowa despite his recent struggles. He made 14 starts in Iowa's first 14 games, during which he has averaged a career-best in points (12.8) and rebounds (4.8). He is the third-leading scorer and rebounder for the Hawkeyes on the season.
"All of us admire his courage and willingness to be open about this struggle and we hope others know that they are not alone," added the elder McCaffery. "We will be with him every step of the way."
Iowa is 8-6 on the season but has struggled after a 5-0 start out of the gate with six losses in its last nine games. The Hawkeyes fell 83-79 on Sunday to Penn State to fall to 0-3 in Big Ten play, its worst start to league play since the 2018-19 season.