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Posted On: 11/21/17 12:00 PM
As they get deeper into their sophomore seasons, it should become more and more clear how the class of 2020 rankings might shake out. As it stands now, the evolution of this young class is still in the early stages. Xavier Foster, — with his five high-major Division I offers — has a stranglehold on the top spot, for now. Beyond that, expect a lot of shakeup between now and 2020.
Below, we’ll highlight the current top-10; what makes them special, who’s recruiting them, and the outlook for their sophomore seasons.
UPDATED 2020 RANKINGS
1 Xavier Foster, 6’9 F (Oskaloosa)
Without a doubt the top player in the 2020 class, Foster has the look of a high-level basketball player, and the skill-set is coming along nicely, too. He’s got the longest arms we’ve seen since starting Prep Hoops Iowa in 2014, by far. And that allows for him to make some showstopping blocks. At 6’9, with that length and a developing perimeter game, it’s no wonder why Iowa, Iowa State, Creighton, Texas A&M and Illinois have all offered before his sophomore season.
2 Even Brauns, 6’9 PF (Iowa City Regina)
This Regina power forward jumps from No. 4 to No. 2 after a big-time summer with the Iowa Barnstormers’ 15U unit. He’s still a bit raw, but has already made considerable improvements with his skill-set. What separates him from the pack, is his length and leaping ability. Brauns is a guy that will provide some electric jams the next three season s for the Regals, and schools like Northern Iowa and Iowa have already taken notice. He could pick up a slew of scholarship offers next spring with the ‘Stormers.
3 Bowen Born, 5’9 PG (Norwalk)
As skilled of a player as their is in Iowa, Born — the son of former Iowa State guard Michael Born — is a kid that will dazzle you with his tight handle and shooting ability. We’ve been calling him “Lil’ Steph” (in regards to Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry) for more than a year now, and that’s about as high of raise as we can divvy out. He was sensational last season as a freshman while starting with 4A Norwalk, and will post big-time numbers alongside 2018 standout Luke Vaske this season.
4 Zack Lasek, 6’7 PF (Highland, Riverside)
Lasek is a big and strong power forward, and it just so happens he’s got some serious hops to, that’s not a very common combination. The big and athletic post has been working this past year to develop his mid-range game, and it’s coming along nicely. He was our Freshman of the Year last season after torching opponents to the tune of 15.3 points (60 percent shooting) and 7.1 rebounds per game.
5 Will Berg, 6’8 F (Valley): We had been hearing lots of great things about the Valley forward, and we finally got a chance to see for ourselves at the Prep Hoops Top 250 Expo in September. He played up with the older guys because Valley had a dance later that night. And Berg was not only impressive, but he was one of the more dominant big-men in the older prospects division. He’s tall and rangy, great around the rim, and has an ability to step out and can a 3-ball. And he rebounds exceptionally well for a guy with his slight frame. He’ll have to wait his turn at Valley, but eventually he’ll be a star with the Tigers.
6 Braxton Bayless, 6′ PG (Valley)
Another young Valley Tiger that’s primed for success, Bayless, like No. 3 Bowen Born, is the son of a former Iowa State Cyclones guard (Ron Bayless), and the basketball gene was certainly passed down. Bayless also performed at our Top 250 Expo with the older guys (like Berg, he had a dance later that night), and after taking some time to get warmed up, showcased why he’s considered one of the strongest guards in Iowa. He reminds a lot of Des Moines North junior point guard Tyreke Locure, and has that uncanny ability to do things on the court will have Division I coaches clamoring before too long.
7 AJ Coons, 6’5 SF (Solon)
Not just a top-10 guy, but a “biggest riser,” too. Coons showed a lot of potential when we first saw him in the spring with the Iowa Barnstormers; he has great size and an ability to score from anywhere on the floor. When we saw him in the summer, it was clear he had put in the work to become substantially better. With his size and ability to guard multiple positions, he’ll be a hot commodity before too long. Look for Coons to post monster numbers at 3A Solon this winter.
8 Micah Johnson, 6’6 SF (Ankeny Centennial)
Another guy who benefited greatly from a monster showing at our Top 250 Expo in September, Johnson made the leap from No. 47 all the way up to the top-10. Johnson was the MVP of the younger division (2020/2021) at the event, and it was a fairly obvious decision to make. He’s tall enough to guard multiple positions, and moves very well for being 6’6. He was canning 3s just as adeptly as he was blocking shots at the rim, and should provide some star-power for a Centennial team that will be stacked this season.
9 Alex McAleer, 6’6 SF (DeWitt Central)
This big and versatile forward is equal parts wing and post, and certainly has the ability and coordination to turn himself into a Division I-type wing. He was manning the post plenty this summer with the Iowa Barnstormers and at our Top 250 Expo, and was downright dominant at times while doing so. His long arms allow him to rebound exceptionally well, and he’s learning how to put the ball on the deck and get to the hoop. McAleer averaged 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season as a freshman and will bloom into a star this season as a sophomore.
10 Easton Darling, 6′ PG (Winterset)
Another Martin Brothers product to crack the top-10 (Lasek is the other), Darling is as quick and bouncy as almost any guard in the state, regardless of class. Even at 6-foot, he’ll get up and dunk, and that’s an ability that very few players his size can do. He’ll also handle the ball well, find his teammates, and can get red-hot from deep. Winterset hasn’t been known much for their basketball prowess, but is on the verge of being one of 3A’s best squads; Darling is a big reason why. Division I and Division II programs will want to pay close attention to him this winter.