Posted On: 02/2/17 10:23 AM
Connor McCaffery (Iowa City West) – 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists (Stats thru 1/30)
The Iowa commit is the leading scorer for the state’s best team, averaging 19.1 points a game for the Trojans, with shooting splits of 52-40-88. Asked to step into a bit of a different role this season, becoming more of a scorer than facilitator, McCaffery has shined with efficiency. He’s on the verge of becoming just the fifth 4A player ever to record 400 career assists, and as long as he is able to help lead West back to the state tournament for the seventh straight season, he should be considered the favorite to take home Mr. Basketball. The voters have generally shown a preference for Iowa commits, and as the only one in the state eligible for the award, that should also give him an upper hand.
Devontae Lane (Iowa City West) – 15.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.5 steals
Lane could end up stealing a few votes from his teammate with his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor. He’s been playing some fantastic basketball since the holiday break, coming alive to help spark the Trojans winning streak. An efficient offensive player who thrives playing downhill and getting to the rim, he’s also one of the state’s best perimeter defenders. He’s playing with the ball more in his hands this year, leading to a substantial uptick in Lane’s assist numbers.
A four-year varsity mainstay for one of 3A’s most successful programs, Phyfe has put together an outstanding career that will lead him to Northern Iowa next fall. He’s one of the state’s most efficient offensive players, using his tremendous combination of size and skill to score seemingly at will. One of the few around the state averaging a double-double, he’s got a chance to get some votes in this race.
The state’s No. 2 rebounder, Wilson has been putting up a monstrous double-double average of 18 and 14, while shooting over 60% from the floor and blocking three shots a game for one of 4A’s best teams. He’s gaining some momentum as he’s put up big numbers in some important games of late, and playing in Iowa’s largest city doesn’t hurt. He’s been a big piece for the Huskies for years, and his big numbers and elite rebounding could garner some attention.
A 1A/2A player has only won Mr. Basketball once since 1994 (Brooks McKowen, 2003), but Smoldt may be the best chance the small schools have had at a winner in a long time. A scoring machine, he just recently passed the 2,000 career point mark, and is once again putting up monster numbers for the Rebels. He’s led Gladbrook-Reinbeck to an undefeated season as a sophomore, another state tournament as a junior and is in line to lead them there again as a senior. He’s had some marvelous showings in Des Moines, which will only help.
Garrett Franken (Atlantic) – 24.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists
Without another truly viable candidate out west, the North Dakota commit could get some consideration from the voters on that side of the state. A versatile combo forward, Franken does a bit of everything on the floor. At 6-7, he handles the ball a ton, can distribute and can clearly score. Averaging nearly a double-double, signed to play Division I basketball and without much competition in his area, Franken could gain some momentum if he leads the Trojans to the state tournament and performs well in the two games before voting would take place.
The top player for one of 3A’s best teams over the past few years, Van Wyk has put up big numbers of years, has played in front of a lot of writers at the state tournament and performed well, and has the numbers and efficiency to get some attention when people start looking at the stats. An aggressive combo forward, he’s been one of 3A’s best and most efficient for the past couple of seasons and could get some attention coming his way.
Others who could be considered: Sam Allen (Grinnell), Drew Maschoff (Ankeny), Bailey Basala (North Scott), Jal Bijiek (Des Moines North), Collin Hill (South Hamilton), Tajen Ross (ADM, Adel), Cade McKnight (Grinnell), Jay Small (Hinton), Austin Ash (Mount Vernon), Matt Dentlinger (Carroll Kuemper), Levi Jungling (Pella Christian)