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Posted On: 03/31/18 8:00 PM
This is first class of players that Prep Hoops Iowa has seen over the course of their high school careers; meaning the 2018 group is one that we’ve observed more than any other. After several tweaks and adjustments, the final prospect rankings have been released — you can view them here. This is the final installment of a part series highlighting the best 25 players in the class.
5 Matthew Mims (Xavier)
After leading his team to three straight state tourney appearances, and winning two of them, and after posting some seriously stellar numbers this past season, Mims makes a big jump into the top 5. That means he gets his name and head-shot on the homepage, niiice. But we digress. Mims has it all, the athleticism, quickness, skill and IQ to make him a high-level hoopster, and he’ll head to South Dakota State next season where he could work himself into some playing time before too long. Mims finished his career at Cedar Rapids Xavier as a two-time champion and a three-time state tourney qualifier; the starting point guard on all three teams. He’s a Saints legend.
4 Blake Brinkmeyer (Valley)
So you look at Brinkmeyer’s numbers and wonder why he’s in the top-5. But there’s many variables to consider. One, is that Valley traditionally has been one of the more well-balanced teams in the state, that and they’re a slower-paced offense, so, the numbers certainly do not tell the whole story here. The other facts are this; Brinkmeyer is 6’8 with a much longer wing-span, who excels on the offensive glass and can alter games while manning the paint defensively. He did average 7.5 points (on 60 FG%) and a team-best 6.8 rebounds for the state-qualifying Tigers this season, and also led the team in blocks. He’s a dunk-machine, and with his combo of athleticism and length, we see why Larry Bird’s alma-mater Indiana State offered him. He’ll play for the Sycamores in the Missouri Valley next fall.
3 Garrett Sturtz (Newton)
Nobody since we started this Prep Hoops Iowa endeavor in 2014 has made a more dramatic jump in the rankings over the course of a year than Sturtz has. It’s not that we didn’t know he was good, we just underestimated how good he could actually be. Well, he showed us, and everyone else, how good he was this past winter, when he averaged a whopping 34.7 points per game for the Newton Cardinals. He did so while shooting 49 percent from the floor and while being hounded each night out. He also attempted an incredible 259 free-throws and made 227 of them. Sturtz led the team in assists, blocks, steals and rebounds. He had been dominant the past two offseasons with Iowa Intensity before being asked to play with the Barnstormers’ ultra-talented 17U team last summer. There’s nothing more he needed to prove. He’s the third-best player in the class. Drake paid attention, and his plan is to walk-on there. That was Niko Medved’s (now at Colorado State) staff that nabbed him, though. So, we’ll see what happens with that.
2 AJ Green (Cedar Falls)
The first time we encountered AJ Green he was a skinny, 5’7 incoming freshman at our first-ever Prep Hoops Iowa Combine in the fall of 2014. There was a kid, during the 3-point drill, who had canned about 10 in a row. Intrigued, we approached him and asked his name, “AJ Green” he timidly replied. He was put on the list right then, written about, and we never stopped writing about him. His outburst against Iowa City West as a sophomore at the state tourney is legendary. And his heat-check 33-footer in the quarterfinals of the most recent state tourney is his one shining moment. Then there’s the fact that he 50-40-90’d this season, all while being hounded each night out, and ultimately led Cedar Falls to its first-ever state basketball title. He’s a special, special player, who is in line to have a special, special career at Northern Iowa.
1 Joe Wieskamp (Muscatine)
We’ve seen our fair-share of excellent high school players over the course of four seasons, none of them have been as good as Wieskmap. There’s no question that he’s an all-time great Iowa high school hooper, and he’ll take some high expectations into his Iowa Hawkweyes career next season. After-all, he did average 33.5 points on 56 percent shooting, made 207 of his 245 free-throw attempts, canned 60 3s, and averaged a 4A best 13.4 rebounds per game this season — gooood grief. Wieskamp is 6’6, lengthy, athletic, has great lift, skilled and handles it well. It would have been interesting to see what offers he would have landed had he not committed to the U of I so early; Duke, Kansas, North Carolina…? As it is, he’ll be a Hawkeye, and there’s a chance that he starts for them next season. And there’s also a chance he plays in the NBA one day, too. We’ve been saying it for awhile now, get excited Hawkeyes fans