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Posted On: 03/28/17 9:32 AM
Our grassroots preview series continues with Iowa Dynasty. Nate Meints directs this program based in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids metro area, and he helped us break down his 15, 16 and 17U teams. Below you’ll find rosters, the program’s schedule, Meints’ thoughts and a few thoughts on each group from myself.
Head coach: Mark Lowe
Meints says: “We are really excited about the possibilities with this group. The athleticism and length this team possesses will give us a lot of options on how we play defensively. Skill wise, each one of our guys can play on the perimeter and take advantage of mismatches in the post. Luke Appel, Hakeem Odunsi and Seybian Sims are guys who could see huge increase in their recruitment with a productive season. Dadrian, Paul and Jayson didn’t see a lot of action on a loaded Iowa City West team this past season, but we really like what we have seen in practice from those guys in particular. Marco and Evan are outstanding outside shooters, but I am even more excited about the leadership they will bring to our team. We will end up relying on those two to set the tone for the rest of our guys. A guy to watch is sophomore Beau Cornwell from West Branch, who is playing up a grade with us this year. He is a proven scorer at West Branch, but I think he has the potential to provide us lockdown defense in addition to the scoring he’s known for.”
Tony’s take: This group has been one of my favorites to watch since they were 15U kids, with a bunch of under-the-radar talent. Now they’ve added a couple of talented pieces and they should make quite a bit of noise this summer.
The new additions, Marco Balderas and Luke Appel, come over from the Iowa Wolves. Balderas is a really talented point guard who makes a major impact on both ends, despite his small stature. And he’s not afraid to mix it up on the glass with guys a foot (or more) taller than him. Appel is a big bodied kid with lots of skill, who can score inside and out. If he’s able to have a big summer, he should see some interest coming his way.
The rest of the roster is made up of (mostly) Iowa City West kids, some who saw a significant amount of playing time, and some who didn’t. Hakeem Odunsi, Seybian Sims and Evan Flitz all look like probably starters for the Trojans next season after playing a significant role this year off the bench. Odunsi is a really talented playmaker, with the size to do a lot of different things. You can play through him on the perimeter or on the block, and he’s a really skilled passer. Sims is a great athlete who runs the floor, protects the rim and finishes in the paint. As he continues to expand his game out to the perimeter, he’ll become a touch matchup. And Flitz is one of the best shooters in the state. He’s dynamic shooting it off the catch, moves well without the ball and has a really quick release. I’m excited to see what Dadrian Hoambrecker looks like. He was really impressive in individual drills during our Top 250 Expo in September, and sat out the year for West after moving from Burlington. He has a lot of natural ability, the question is whether they can get it all put together.
The final piece is Beau Cornwell, who is playing up. He’s a fantastic scorer with the ability to get scorching hot from the arc. He’ll be a nice player alongside some talented playmakers.
Head coach: Jake Van Oort
Meints says: “Although we lack the size you’d like to see, we have guys that handle the ball and can score in bunches. Most of this group has played together since 8th grade, so the comfortability with one another is already apparent. Our biggest strength will undoubtedly be the shooting this team possesses, as every player has the green light from the outside. Ry, Antonio and Nolan saw a lot of action for their varsity teams this past season. We are really expecting them to lead us throughout the summer. Dae Dae, Jacob and Brayden are heady players who understand when to look to score and when to set up a teammate. Zach and Wyatt will bring a toughness to our team that was lacking at times last season. A couple of guys to watch will be Jalen and Grant. Jalen is an uber athletic wing/post who is a tough matchup for anyone who has to guard him. I would expect him to play a big role on the West High varsity team next season. Grant is your prototypical Cedar Rapids Kennedy player…tough, aggressive defensively, smart and has the ability to knock down shots. We are excited to see how he gels with the rest of our guys.”
Tony’s take: I’ve been a fan of the pair of City High point guards on this team (Antonio Turner, Dae Dae Hickman) for quite a while. Their speed and ability to get to the rim helps open things up for everyone.
Jacob Klein (West) has taken a major step forward as a player. He’s supremely confident, has the ability to torch you from deep and once he knocks a few of them down, watch out.
The guy I’m most excited to get an extended look at here is Jalen Gaudet. Anytime I saw the West sophomore team play, he was putting up big numbers and scoring seemingly at will in the paint. As Nate said, he will likely play a big role with the Trojans’ varsity next year.
Head coaches: Mark Lowe, Nick Shelman
Meints says: “This team should be in store for a very successful summer. Similar to our 16U team, most of these guys have played together for a few years now which makes that feeling out period go a lot smoother. once again this group will be led by our guard play. Our coaches have raved about Joey’s work ethic and attitude in practice, he will undoubtedly be our table setter for the season. Tonka and Sam are extremely talented wings who have the ability to get into people defensively, and can also score at will offensively. Grant and Dawson are our glue…guys that do whatever is needed in order to win. Similar to Joey, Grant and Dawson both have motors that never stop, as well as a competitive nature that is unmatched on this team. We are expecting a lot out of first years guys Ben and Max. Both of these guys are smart players who will compliment the team perfectly. I am particularly excited to see how Isaac and Andre perform this summer. Andre is a player who commands the paint on both ends and will be an absolutely force for us. Isaac is a smart, lengthy wing who comes to us with a next-level skill set. We are excited to see how this team gels together.”
Tony’s take: Joey Goodman had a nice Dynasty Fall League showing in October, a cerebral point guard who values possessions and gets his team in the right places. Andre Brandon is the only other player from this group I’ve gotten a long look at, and like Goodman, he had a good Fall League. He’s a fairly skilled young big who runs the floor extremely well, has good hands and can finish at the rim. He’s still raw on both ends of the floor, but he makes an impact, and as he continues to put everything together, he could become a major player.