Posted On: 08/28/17 8:00 AM
With July’s evaluation period now behind us, and plenty of time to kill between now and late November, it’s time to take a look at who we believe will be some of the teams to keep an eye on in each classification this winter. And, since everyone likes rankings, why not roll out a de facto pre-season top 10 for each class, with our “Way Too Early” top 10 lists.
How well do these rankings predict what may happen over the course of the coming season? Well, the top ranked teams in each class in these “Way Too Early” rankings ended up playing for the state title in their class come March, with two of them winning it all (Cedar Rapids Xavier, Iowa City West). That may mean nothing this season, of course, but it’s something to note.
Below you’ll find our top 10 for Class 4A, along with some other teams that could make some noise, as well as a brief summary of why each team is in their respective spot. Enjoy.
1.) Iowa City West (State champions, 23-3 last year, 40.2% of scoring back)
The state’s preeminent program, the Trojans lose two of the best players in the school’s history with the graduations of Connor McCaffery and Devontae Lane. In all, they lose four of their five starters from last season. But no team in the state reloads with talent like this one, and this year is no exception, so nobody in the state is going to feel sorry for them. They’re led by junior wing Patrick McCaffery (13.8), who is a consensus top-50 player nationally in the 2019 class, and in many places is among the top 25-30. At 6-9 and with a huge wingspan, his all-around ability is catching up to his impressive athleticism and frame, and he’s a huge matchup problem for anyone in the state with the ability to score inside or out. Look for him to have a huge junior season as he leads a talented team with aspirations of defending their state title. He’ll (likely) be joined in the starting lineup by Seybian Sims (6.2), Evan Flitz (4.1) and Hakeem Odunsi (4.7), with the fifth spot still up for grabs among a number of talented guards. That trio saw plenty of playing time off the bench (and Sims started some games last season), and they provide plenty of talent and versatility. Sims is an athletic 6-7 forward who runs the floor extremely well, competes on the glass and can protect the rim. Between him and McCaffery, teams are going to find it extremely tough to score around the basket. Flitz is one of the state’s best shooters, knocking down 50% of his 3-point attempts last year, and he’s a smart defender who will routinely draw a tough matchup and do a good job there. Odunsi is a skilled, playmaking wing who will likely have the ball in his hands quite a bit, as at 6-5 and with his ball handling and vision, provides a matchup issue. Look for guys like Jake Anderson (1.6), Dante Eldridge, Paul McGee and Jalen Gaudet to play key roles for this team as well. This is a program that has missed the state tournament just once since 2009 (not at all since 2011), has played for the state title in five of the last six years, and won four state titles in that time. They’ve got a great coach on the sidelines, and lots of talent on the floor. It may take them a while to put it all together, and don’t be shocked to see a few losses on their resume which includes a loaded non-conference slate, but this is a team that is capable of bringing another state title to the west side of Iowa City.
2.) Sioux City East (State semifinalist, 23-3 last year, 73.4% of scoring back)
You’d be hard pressed to find a better duo than what the Black Raiders have coming back with Van Rees (20.8) and Aidan Vanderloo (16.8). They’ll combine to be arguably the top tandem in the state, regardless of class, with their ability to play inside out. Rees shot 57% from the floor last year and pulled down 11.8 rebounds a night to boot. An undersized power forward, he’ll out-battle anyone on the glass and outwork anyone in the paint. Vanderloo, on the other hand, is one of the state’s elite shooters, having knocked down 55.3% of his attempts from behind the arc last season. East is traditionally one of the best programs in the state, and they’ll have plenty of talent to accompany that tandem. Sam Hildahl (5.2) returns to help Rees out in the paint, Cole Taylor (3.9) and Jack Peterson (3.2) provide some shooting, and we’re looking for Jaleque Dunson (2.2) to take a major step forward in his sophomore season, providing some big scoring (and defense) on the wing. He’s a highly athletic and gifted player who is ready to become a big-time player. East is always good for 17-20 wins, and with the Rees-Vanderloo tandem, and the talent coming back, count on them being back in Des Moines and a real threat to make it to Championship Friday.
3.) Dubuque Senior (19-4 last year, 67.5% of scoring back)
After spending years and years in the basement of the MVC, the Senior Rams have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts during this decade, enjoying more success on the hardwood than the school has ever seen. With four of the top five scorers returning from last year’s team, this group will continue moving the program forward and building on that success. They’ll be led by one of the best duos in the state in power forward Noah Carter (18.5) and quick combo guard Carter Stevens (14.0). Stevens missed a good chunk of time last season with a foot injury, but he looked fully recovered when we saw Senior over the summer and he has the all-around offensive game that will make him a pain in the butt to defend. Carter, like many players mentioned in this article, enjoyed a strong summer with the Barnstormers, displaying more athleticism than we’ve seen from him in the past. A gifted scorer who just has a knack for putting the ball in the bucket, the added explosiveness is a nice bonus. He’s able to score at will around the rim, scoring at angles that look impossible with his great touch, and he’s also one of the best pure shooters in the state. At 6-6, that shooting ability makes him nearly impossible to defend. The rest of the returnees know their roles and play them well. Sam Link (8.5) and Nick Timmerman (6.5) are both capable shooters from the arc, and Timmerman is one of the toughest, most physical defenders you’ll find on the wing. Look for junior wing Marshaun Carroll to provide some additional scoring pop, likely off the bench. There is loads of talent in the Senior system right now, and if there is a year for them to win a state title, this may be it. The Carter/Stevens attack is going to be deadly.
4.) Cedar Falls (16-8 last year, 80.5% of scoring back)
A young team that was highly competitive last year returns largely in tact, as seven of the top eight scorers from last year’s top 10 team are back for the Tigers. They’ll of course be headlined by star guard AJ Green (21.5), who recently committed to Northern Iowa. A highly-regarded prospect nationally, he’s an electric scorer who is as good a bet as anyone in the state to go off to 40+ on any given night. Combining tight handles with a silky jumper, he’s capable of scoring from anywhere on the floor and is also a capable facilitator. He’ll be joined in the starting lineup by Ben Gerdes (10.5), Logan Wolf (6.9), Jackson Frericks (6.2) and likely one of Jack Campbell (3.3), Sam Gary (1.5) or Reese Gardner (1.2). Gerdes is a tough, physical, undersized forward who will likely lead the team in rebounding and score efficiently. Wolf had a very strong summer with the Barnstormers and will step into Isaiah Johnson’s role as the team’s top perimeter defender. He’s a smart defensive player capable of defending any of the guard or wing spots, and he’s become a much more confident offensive player. Look for him to have a breakout junior year. Frericks provides some size and length, and he can also play a stretch role. They need him to get a little tougher on the interior, and with another year of physical maturation, maybe this is the year we see some more toughness out of him. With lots of experience returning, and one of the most dangerous players in not only the state, but the Midwest, leading the way, we’re looking for the Tigers to not only return to the state tournament after a one-year absence, but they should be a major threat to be cutting down the nets.
5.) West Des Moines Valley (State runner up, 21-5 last year, 30.9% of scoring back)
If there is one program in the state that can rival Iowa City West when it comes to reloading, it’s the Valley Tigers. It’s not a coincidence that they’ve met each other for the 4A title in three of the last four years despite some major turnover. The Tigers lose the top five scorers from last year’s runner up group, but don’t expect much drop off here. They have a Division I prospect big man in Blake Brinkmeyer (4.5), a highly athletic and skilled 6-9 forward who will step into the place of the departed Charley Crowley and Quinton Curry. He’ll be joined by some solid returnees on the perimeter with Carter Frey (5.2), Luke Sueppel (5.4) and Noah Samples (1.7), as well as Mike Brown (3.3), who will help Brinkmeyer out on the interior. But perhaps the name you need to know the most is Trayvon Williams, an uber talented junior wing who is ready to set the CIML on fire. He had a huge summer, showcasing plus athleticism and some takeover ability on both ends of the floor. We’re looking for him to carry a highly talented Valley team back into the title picture.
6.) Waukee (18-4 last year, 44.1% of scoring back)
The Warriors lost three regular season games by a combined 11 points last season before a somewhat inexplicable 11-point loss to Ankeny in the postseason. They used a strong defense (No. 6 in 4A, 48.9 points a game) to help buoy last year’s team, and they’ll be strong on that end again. The bad news for this team is that only one of the top four scorers from last year’s team returns. The good news is that six of the top nine are back, and plenty of talent is in that returning group. They’ll be led by a Division I wing prospect in Nathan Johnson (12.6), who is one of the best athletes in the state. At 6-7, he’s a gifted combo forward who can stretch the floor, finish above the rim and lock down multiple spots on the defensive end. We’re looking for some huge junior years from Dylan Jones (6.0) and Noah Hart (3.5), an inside-out duo that has highly talented and is coming off of great summers with the Barnstormers. The 6-7 Jones is one of the state’s most intriguing talents, with the ability to score inside and out, and he blocked 39 shots last season. With some improved defensive awareness and experience, he should be a force on both ends of the floor. Hart is a another high-level two-way player who will make a major impact on either end. There are few trios in the state that I personally like better than Johnson, Jones and Hart. I have huge expectations for that group. Nathan Nelson (5.0), Jaxx Rittman (1.6), Drew Irvine (2.6) and Tyson Kelderman should play key roles on this year’s group as well. Look for the Warriors to spend a majority of the season inside the top 5.
7.) Pleasant Valley (11-12 last year, 74.9% of scoring back)
The top three scorers return for a Spartans team that ranked No. 3 in scoring defense last season, allowing just 46.1 points a game. Like Des Moines Hoover, part of those defensive numbers are attributed to the methodical offensive pace, but Pleasant Valley teams are routinely armed with immense length and discipline. This year will be no exception. They’ll be led by Brian Dayman (13.7), a skilled combo forward who does a majority of his damage around the rim, but can step out and hit an occasional 3. He’s relentless on the glass on both ends of the floor and will outwork anyone who is trying to defend him. The backcourt is led by a pair of juniors, Carter Duwa (9.1) and Hunter Snyder (9.3). Snyder has great length at the two guard, while Duwa is the team’s primary ball handler. Both had strong sophomore seasons that they’ll be looking to build on. That trio will probably be the best in the MAC, providing some versatility and strong play on both ends of the floor. They’ll be bolstered by junior forward Caleb Carius (3.3), who seems primed to take a major step forward, as well as the addition of what was the core of a strong sophomore team last season. You know what you’re getting into when you play PV – they’ll be disciplined, physical and incredibly tough defensively. This is the team to beat in the MAC, and a quality bet to make a trip to Des Moines.
8.) Dubuque Hempstead (State qualifier, 18-6 last year, 52.0% of scoring back)
After making the state tournament for the first time in the school’s history last year, the Mustangs will be looking to build on that experience this winter. They bring back two of their top three scorers from last year’s group with Lucas Duax (12.7) and Keith Johnson (12.6). Duax is primed for an explosion. An athletic point guard, he’s able to score at all three levels and has the size and length to make a major impact on both ends of the floor. With older brother Connor now out of the picture, it’s Lucas’ team, and he’s going to have a sensational senior season. Johnson, an athletic combo forward, will be Duax’s primary sidekick and has all sorts of defensive abilities. He can defend multiple positions, rebounds at a high level and has the ability to stretch the floor on the offensive end. Curtis Martin III (6.3) is a spark plug off the bench, and while he may now be in the starting lineup, he’s going to provide tons of energy and talent on both ends of the floor. Look for Max Duax to provide plenty of quality minutes as well for this talented team that will be looking to build on last year’s program building success. They’ll likely have to go through Senior to get back to state, but that is definitely not out of the question.
9.) Linn-Mar (10-13 last year, 65.2% of scoring back)
An incredibly young team last season, the Lions lost seven games by fewer than 10 points. With six of their top nine scorers returning, look for their close-game results to improve this winter. They’re led by junior wing Trey Hutcheson (15.8), who is on his way to becoming one of the most difficult players in the state to defend. At 6-5, he’s able to score inside with great footwork and touch, can stretch out to the arc (43.6 3P%), and has really improved his ball handling ability. He’s a tremendous all-around player who has really taken his game up a notch and is going to have a huge season. Nolan Ruff (6.4), Jacob Robertson (5.3) and Cole Martin (3.2) provide some additional scoring punch and ball handling on the perimeter, while Nate Annis (5.6) and Jack Gertsen (2.8) give the Lions some size and capable interior scoring and defense. A traditionally strong program that returns a lot of talent, they’ll have one of 4A’s best players and will be a threat to make it back to the state tournament for the first time since 2012.
10.) Des Moines Hoover (17-5 last year, 41.8% of scoring back)
Routinely the top defensive team in 4A, last year was no exception for the Huskies, who allowed a 4A best 37 points a game last season. Now, part of that can be attributed to the deliberate style they play on the offensive end, but this is also always a group that is going to get up into the opponents with relentless on-ball pressure and technically sound team defense. It’s part of the reason that this program is almost always in the top 10 in 4A, and an annual threat to make it to the state tournament. They lose their top two scorers from last season, who combined to score more than 58% of their points last season. The good news is that those are the only two players they’re losing, so plenty of experience is back. With big man Doug Wilson graduating, look for the Huskies to go back to a more guard oriented offense, likely headlined by Devonte Thedford (7.9). An athletic, slashing guard, Thedford has good size and has the ability to get to the rim or drain jumpers from the arc. We’re also expecting to see junior guard Kenny Quinn (5.7) to increase his scoring output substantially. Known around the state for his prowess as an on-ball defender, he became a much more capable scoring threat during a strong summer with the Iowa Barnstormers and that should carry into this winter. Thedford and Quinn are the only two players who scored more than 51 points last season. Another name to monitor here will be Nick Johnson, a skilled combo forward who missed last season with an injury, but he could step into Wilson’s role and provide some rim protection. This team is always going to be great defensively and they won’t make too many mistakes on the offensive end, so they’re going to win plenty of games and find new contributors along the way.
Ten more teams to watch
Muscatine (15-7 last year, 78.1% of scoring back)
The state’s best player, and Mr. Basketball frontrunner, Joe Wieskamp (30.4) returns for the Muskies, and that alone is enough to get them mentioned here. Last season, the Iowa commit became the first 4A player to lead the state in scoring since Marcus Paige, and he did so with remarkable efficiency (56-41-82 shooting splits), while leading the team in every category. He took them to the substate final, where they were blown out by eventual champion Iowa City West, but him being on this team makes them a threat every time they step on the floor. In all, three of the top four from last season return, with Garrett Mueller (8.8) and Jackson Foulk (4.6) set to flank Wieskamp. Mueller shot nearly 44% from behind the arc, giving the Muskies another solid wing scoring option, while Foulk is a solid ball handler and defender. They’ll certainly need to find some ways to take some of the pressure off of Wieskamp, but with him in tow (and a legitimate threat to drop 50 on any given night), they’ll win plenty of games and be a threat come substate time.
West Des Moines Dowling (16-6 last year, 48.8% of scoring back)
One of the state’s best defensive teams a year ago, the Maroons allowed just 47.8 points a game last season (5th in 4A). That starts on the perimeter, where they have one of the premier on-ball defenders in Sam Ingoli (14.2), a big, athletic combo guard who can defend multiple spots on the perimeter effectively and helps to set the tone for Dowling. He was also their leading scorer last season, shooting 57.7% from the floor. A physical 6-4 point guard, he’s capable of getting to the rim pretty much whenever he wants, and knows his limitations and plays to them, which is why he’s so effective with his shooting percentages. Ingoli led the Maroons in rebounding and assists as well, so as he goes this year, they will go. The only other big contributor from last year that returns is big man John Waggoner (8.1), one of the most coveted football prospects in the country. He’s a big body in the paint who provides lots of toughness. They’ll need him to step up as an effective second scoring option for Dowling to live up to their potential. We called for 6-7 combo forward Joe Evans (1.8) to be a major factor last season, and that didn’t happen. But we’re calling for it again. He’s a skilled, long forward who can make an impact on either end of the floor, and they’ll need someone to step up, so why not him?
Ames (15-7 last year, 47.2% of scoring back)
Routinely one of the top defensive teams in the state, the Little Cyclones were up to their old ways again last year, ranking No. 2 in scoring defense in 4A, allowing just 41.1 points a night. Part of that can be attributed to a fairly methodical offensive pace, but make no mistake, this is an elite defensive team, year-in, year-out, and they should be again this year. Leading scorer Joe Evans (16.5) returns, and while a majority of his damage is down inside the arc, he’s shown he’s capable of stepping out and stretching the defense as well, knocking down 22 3s last year at a 43.1% clip. They’ll be looking for increased production out of skilled junior Japannah Kellogg (6.9), who tied with Evans for the team lead in rebounding last year and led the team in blocks. He’s a long, athletic combo forward who is just starting to scratch the surface of his abilities, and should be a major player for the Cyclones this year. They’ll need to find some more scoring from other role playing returnees, but the Evans/Kellogg combination, and the history of strong defensive teams warrants putting Ames on the “teams to watch” list. They’re almost always a lock for 13-16 wins, and this year should be no exception.
Davenport North (7-15 last year, 78.1% of scoring back)
After getting off to a fairly strong 4-2 start a year ago, the Wildcats stumbled big-time after the holiday break, going just 3-12 after the new year started. With some promising talent returning, and the addition of another highly talented wing, they should get that mark above .500 this season and become a team that people don’t want to see in February. They’ll be led by the guard trio of VJ Wilmington (14.1), Max Taylor (11.1, 42.1 3P%) and Rock Island transfer Lacey Watson. Watson is a highly talented scoring guard with loads of athletic ability who ran into some issues at Rock Island and is now in Davenport. If he’s able to stay on the floor, he provides another big-time scoring threat to put alongside an already strong duo of guards. Keenan Hollingshed (8.9, 45.7 3P%) was also a solid contributor last year and returns. The interior is anchored by 6-11 center Jared Beck (5.8, 72 blocks), who isn’t much of a scoring threat, but has the ability to protect the rim and runs the floor well. As a team, they shot 51.1% from the floor, but only scored 56.4 points a game, so with the talent they’ve got coming back, don’t be surprised if they get out and run a little more than they did last year. And they’ll need to improve at the charity stripe (just 61.8 FT% last year) if they want to pull out some close wins and have a chance to make some serious noise. Still, there is enough talent coming back and coming in that the Wildcats are at least an intriguing team to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
North Scott (16-7 last year, 45.3% of scoring back)
The 2015 state champions have enjoyed a strong run of success over the past five or six years, and this year’s group will continue that streak. The Lancers will be led by recent Minnesota State commit Corvon Seales (13.6), a long, athletic wing who has really started to put everything together. He had as strong a summer as anyone in the state and he’ll be asked to be the primary scorer for this group. In total, four of the top six scorers from last year’s team return, but this was a team that had three double figure scorers (two of which have graduated), and a bunch of role players. Some of those role players will need to step into complimentary scoring roles alongside Seales. Gary Morgan (6.7) has the most experience and is a good shooter (43.3 3P%). He could see his numbers spike. Reece Sommers (3.7) and Cortaviaus Seales (2.8) are the other returnees who saw significant playing time last season, and Seales looks like a safe bet to make a major impact this year after showcasing lots of improvement over the summer. We’re also looking for sophomore wing Ty Anderson to make his name known around the MAC with his versatility, rebounding and toughness. The Lancers have a strong program, a great coach and one of the state’s best two-way players leading the way, so they’ll win plenty of games and be a threat to make a postseason run in whichever substate they land in.
Newton (State qualifier, 19-6 last year, 34.6% of scoring back)
Last season was a historic one for the Cardinals, as they made their first state tournament trip since 1992. And they brought seemingly the entire town to their first round game, where they nearly upset eventual champion Iowa City West. If they want to make another trip, they’ll need to find a lot of replacements, as over 65% of their scoring output from last year is gone. The good news is that Garrett Sturtz (19.8) is back, and he’s one of the best two-way players in the state. After leading the Cardinals in every category but scoring last year (finished 0.7 points a game behind Connor Gholson), Sturtz is back and ready to lead a new-look Newton squad. He’s one of the most gifted offensive players in the state, combining top-notch footwork and ball handling with a silky smooth jumper to score in a variety of ways. He just has a knack for putting the ball in the bucket, and for getting to the free throw line, where he’s one of the most reliable shooters around. His length allowed him to come away with 48 steals and 27 blocks last season, to boot. He’ll need to get some help from some new faces; guys like Grayson Graham (1.8), Quintrail Coley (1.0) and Kyle Long (0.5) will be asked to step into some much larger roles this season. If they’re able to provide some help for Sturtz, the Cardinals will once again be a team that nobody wants to see because of his individual ability to take over games on both ends.
Bettendorf (State qualifier, 18-6 last year, 15.4% of scoring back)
The Bulldogs lose a massive (and massively successful) senior class with ten players from last year’s group graduating. In fact, only one returnee from last season’s state qualifying team scored more than 14 points a year ago. The good news for Bettendorf is that that one returnee is a huge one, leading scorer DJ Carton (10.5), who had as good of a summer as any player in the country. He saw his recruitment explode after a dynamic summer with Quad City Elite, drawing in Power Five offers from all over the country. An explosive, playmaking point guard, he’s really worked on his jumper, which will pair with his elite ball handling and ability to get to the rim. With next to no experience back for the ‘Dogs, he’ll be asked to play a huge scoring and facilitating role, something that he looks primed to handle. He’ll have some unexpected help, as Devyn Wakefield, formerly of East Moline United Township (IL) has reportedly transferred to Bettendorf for his senior season. Wakefield will provide some additional scoring punch on the wing, but make no mistake, this is Carton’s team. They’ll need to get lots of production from last year’s sophomore team, and that should happen. The Bulldogs have a strong program, and they’ll reload. This group will be a factor in the MAC race, and like Muscatine, they have a player that no team will want to see in their substate.
Des Moines North (State qualifier, 18-6 last year, 56.2% of scoring back)
Like many teams on this list, the Polar Bears lose a big chunk of production from last season. And like many teams on this list, they find themselves still being relevant because they return a difference making talent. In North’s case, that talent is junior point guard Tyreke Locure (25.6), one of the most prolific talents in the state. A slender point guard with elite ball handling skills, he’s a fearless player who attacks the rim relentlessly, has elite vision and makes a major impact on the defensive end. Sure, sometimes the shot selection is questionable, and sure, sometimes he takes some chances on defense. But that’s also part of North’s style of play, and it led them to being the highest scoring team in 4A last year, averaging north of 74 points a game. Locure was the second leading scorer in the class, while also finishing second in assists (167) and tied for fourth in steals (69). He has immense talent, and he’ll carry this group to wins. The cupboard isn’t completely bare, either, as two of the top three scorers from last year return, and four of the top seven are back. Lino Malual (9.1) is a long, athletic wing who looks primed to break out; Jaihon McCaleb (5.6) is an elite shooter who knocked down 48.1% of his attempts from the arc; and Gatdoar Bijiek (3.0) is another long, athletic wing who is just starting to scratch the surface. This group won’t have the rim protection they had when Jal Bijiek was still here, but they’ll score in bunches and play an entertaining, up-and-down style that will be difficult for teams to defend. They’ve got a solid shot at making it back to state, and bringing another huge crowd there with them.
Ankeny Centennial (12-11 last year, 57.0% of scoring back)
Seven of the top nine scorers return to a Jaguars team that lost eight games by single digits last season, including three by a single possession. With plenty of experience back, they should be better in those tight games. They’ll be led by super talented point guard Hunter Strait (16.9), a gifted playmaking guard who took his scoring to the next level last season following his transfer from Cedar Rapids Washington. With last year’s leading scorer Connor Kasperbauer gone, Strait will be asked to score even more, something he’s certainly capable of. He’s a tremendous ball handler who uses those tight handles to create space for himself or get to the rim. They’ll need to find a reliable second scoring option, as Kasperbauer and Strait were the only two players to average more than 6.2 points a game last season. Zach Kluver (4.8), Jackson Brannan (4.1), Ben Breeding (3.5), Brandon Van Meter (4.1), Carter Bachman (3.1) and Tyler Rogers (2.1) all return, and the best bet to become that second threat in our eyes would be Bachman. He’s a solid low post scorer with a big, physical frame that he uses to get good position, and he has lots of experience playing with Strait with Team Iowa. Look for this group to approach the 15-16 win mark this season and be a threat to make it to state given the right substate draw.
Cedar Rapids Prairie (14-8 last year, 47.9% of scoring back)
Last season was the best in years at Prairie, as they won 14 games and had arguably two bigger wins on their resume than any other team in the state with their wins over Iowa City West and Dubuque Senior. They were paced by one of the state’s most potent 3-point attacks, making 9.6 3s a night. They’ll need to replace a big portion of that with the graduation of Jake Eilers (76 3s) and Max Smith-Drahos, who led the team in scoring last year. However, four of the top six scorers from last year’s group return, giving them plenty of firepower to move forward with. Griff Clark (15.7) is one of the toughest guards in the class. A shifty, tough and fearless point guard, he’s equally adept at scoring or facilitating, and he was one of the best free throw shooters in the state last year (91.6%). He gets to the line frequently, and he’s nearly automatic when he gets there. He’ll be flanked by the Murray twins, juniors Keegan (9.0) and Kris (5.0), who are coming off of solid sophomore seasons and great grassroots summers. They’ll be asked to carry a heavy scoring load, and they’re both capable of doing so. Both boys are long, athletic and great shooters who have worked hard to expand their all-around games. Look for huge years from the twins. Levi Usher (2.7) is the only other returnee who saw significant time last year, and he’ll be asked to be a solid role player, contributing on the glass and scoring the occasional bucket. There are certainly some areas that will need to be filled, but the three-headed monster of Clark, Murray and Murray is going to keep scoring a lot of points on the south side of Cedar Rapids, and winning quite a few games.