Posted On: 02/12/18 5:00 AM
Last summer, Solon wing AJ Coons made some big strides while playing with the Iowa Barnstormers’ 15U unit, and those improvements have been evident this winter.
The 6-foot-5 guard/forward hybrid — a top-10 prospect in Iowa’s 2020 class — has improved in nearly every aspect of this game since season.
“I feel like I do a good job of creating for other people. My game is not just me scoring, but I can make other people around me better. I can make good passes, good decisions,” said Coons.
“Scoring is one of my strong suits, and shooting never used to be but I’ve put a lot of time in with that and it’s been getting a, lot better.”
Coons added: “I need to improve my rebounding, when I talked to Coach (Jeff) Horner from North Dakota, and different coaches, they all said they want to see me rebound better. So, I’ve been trying to be more conscious of that.”
Last season, Coons was good as a freshman, going for 7.9 points per game. He’s been great this year as a sophomore, going for 18.3 points per game on 48 percent shooting, including 49 percent from deep.
“As a freshman, I kind of came off the bench. I put in a lot of time this past summer just trying to be a better player, and I made a lot of improvements over the summer,” said Coons.
“And this year, I have a lot more freedom to play, and that’s given me some added confidence this year.”
AJ Coons is ranked by Prep Hoops as a top 10 prospect in his class. To see the full ranking of Iowa’s 2020 class, click here.
Solon will play Keokuk next Monday night to start its postseason, and the goal is a 3A state title. As soon as his sophomore season is complete, Coons will embark on what will be a very important 16U campaign with the Barnstormers.
“Playing with the Barnstormers, I get to play with some of the best players in the state and in the Midwest. Last year, playing with guys like Joe (Wieskamp) and AJ (Green), and then this year playing with guys like Patrick, that really helps a lot,” said Coons.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot and, I’m a lot more confident in my skill-set. So, I’m hoping to play better than I ever have this summer.”
Though he’s still quite young, Coons has seen some recruitment start to come his way. He went on a visit to watch Bradley play Drake last Saturday; that was an invitation from Bradley. And he’s also worked out for North Dakota.
“Obviously my goal as a kid was always to be a Division I athlete and get a full ride to go somewhere. So, I hope I can make that come true,” said Coons. “I’m not too picky on where that’s from, I just hope to get the opportunity.”