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Posted On: 07/30/15 3:00 PM
Iowa high school basketball’s most highly recruited player is officially off the board, as 2016 Spirit Lake power forward Ryan Kriener committed to Coach Fran McCaffery and the Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday afternoon.
Fresh off winning an AAU National Championship in Louisville on Monday with his Martin Brothers team, Kriener was offered by McCaffery on Tuesday night, took a day or so to think it over, and then pulled the trigger.
“I took some time to think about everything, and I knew that that was where I wanted to be,” Kriener said.
It had been speculated for a while that Kriener was perhaps holding out for an Iowa offer, a fact that he confirmed.
“Iowa is my dream school. I pretty much knew as soon as they offered that it was the place for me, but I took some time to think everything over,” he said.
A strong grassroots season running with Martin Brothers, including some dominant performances against big men who were more highly regarded than himself nationally, helped Kriener gain the momentum that led to bigger offers, after entering his 17U season with a dozen or so offers from mid-to-low majors.
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Kriener ended up picking the Hawkeyes over at least 20 other offers, including Minnesota that also came in on Tuesday, Missouri and Wichita State, which came over the weekend, and a host of mid-major offers.
Kriener says that McCaffery and staff see him possibly playing a few different spots when he ends up in Iowa City.
“They see me as a big four, and I can sometimes go down and play a smaller five. They think I’m strong enough to bang down in the paint with the fives when they want to go a little smaller, and they think I can be a matchup nightmare with everything I can do at the four,” Kriener said. “They like how I can post up, shoot it, pass it, I run the floor, play good help defense, good man defense.”
Moving into his senior season, Kriener can now focus on a few things that McCaffery wants to see him continue to improve on.
“They want me to just keep doing what I do on the court – being dominant in the areas I can dominate in. And then keep getting stronger, keep improving athletically, just stuff like that,” he said.
Kriener, who averaged 19.8 points (on 71% shooting) and 8.5 rebounds a year ago, can now turn his attention to helping guide his Spirit Lake team, which figures to be one of the best in Class 3A, to the state tournament alongside North Dakota commit, point guard Billy Brown.
Kriener joins Dubuque Wahlert forward Cordell Pemsl as the first two commits in Iowa’s 2016 class.