Posted On: 02/2/18 10:50 PM
Each year, a new crop of Iowa youngsters emerges as future stars. This season is no different. We’ve been closely monitoring the successes of some of the brightest young talents in the Hawkeye State. And though many more young gems will be unearthed over the next year, these eight freshman (two from each class), have an early start to what could be a dominant four seasons.
It’s one thing to be an impact freshman in 4A on a substandard team, it’s another to be a key freshman on one of the best big-school teams in the state. Des Moines North is loaded, and brought back four of its top six players from last season’s state tourney team, but still has found plenty of playing time for this tough, solidly built guard. The 5-foot-8 frosh is averaging 5.5 points and doing so at a 48 percent clip. Freshman guards, especially those at 4A schools tend to struggle shooting the ball in their initial varsity season, so the efficiency is especially impressive.
We saw Jadin Johnson for the first time this past summer as an incoming freshman at the CB Lincoln Team Camp; we’re not surprised to see him enjoying this degree of success as a freshman with the 9-8 Lynx. A 6-foot-2 guard, Johnson is the team’s third-leading scorer (7.2 PPG), and second leading rebounder (3.4 RPG). Safe to say that Johnson is the future of Councul Bluffs Lincoln Lynx basketball.
At the 3A ranks, there’s been very few players in general, let alone freshman, that have been more impressive than Sharar. The 6-foot guard is leading all freshman in scoring this season, regardless of class, pouring in 20.2 points per game. Sharar is not shy about launching it from deep; he’s hoisted up 129 3s so far this season Good news for the Cadets is he’s made 52 of those, good enough for a 40 percent clip. Those 52 made 3s are, not surprisingly, the best of any Iowa freshman.
Another guy at the 3A ranks who is certainly not shy about letting it fly from deep, Kutcher canned 10 3s in a single game earlier this season against Anamosa. He’s connecting on 44.8 percent of his 3s this season, and is a certified sniper for the Mustangs. Interestingly, Kutcher — an Iowa Barnstormers product — started the season not knowing if he was even going to play varsity. Once it was established he’d be playing up, Kutcher quickly earned himself a starting spot, and is now the leading scorer for his team.
The Panthers may not be enjoying a great season, they’re 8-10, but they sure do have a fantastic freshman wing. The 6-foot-3 youngster is averaging 10.1 points per game this season, and doing so at a relatively efficient 47 percent clip. He’s second on the team in 3s made and rebounds. Based upon his Twitter profile, he’s a huge Hawkeyes fan. Is he a future Hawkeye? We’re not saying that. But, just throwing it out there.
We had heard good things about the Indians’ 2021 talent, and he’s living up to the hype. The 5-foot-9 guard is following in the footsteps of Cameron Soenksen, and posting some real nice numbers in his first varsity season, to the tune of 7.3 points, 3.0 steals and 1.7 steals per game. There’s plenty of freshman putting up similar or better numbers at the small-school levels, but what makes Lawrence especially impressive, is that he’s doing it on a 14-5 team with plenty of talent.
It’s no surprise that Shearer has been good enough to make this list. He’s been exceptional at our Top 250 Expo the past two years. A savvy guard with sharpshooting ability and handles to boot, Shearer is definitely one of the more skilled guards in Iowa already. With Montezuma, he’s come out and enjoyed instant success, averaging a whopping 17.2 points per game this season. He’s doing so while connecting on 51 percent of his field goal tries. Shearer will play with the Iowa Barnstormers 15U this spring and summer.
When you can get up and thrown down 360 and windmill dunks as a freshman, then chances are you’re a high-level hoopster. That’s what Winkel is doing. He’s been dunking since seventh-grade, and those dunks have only grown more elaborate since. But, it’s not just the marvelous athleticism that is striking, he’s also able to shoot the ball with relative accuracy. Winkel is averaging 15.7 points on 65 percent shooting. He leads his team in blocks, averaging 2.1 per game, and 7.3 rebounds. Division I schools are already paying attention (North Dakota, UNI), and he could end up being one of a handful of D1 signees that will inevitably come out of Iowa’s 2021 class.