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Posted On: 03/6/18 9:42 PM
Matt Mims, Cedar Rapids Xavier (2018)
Mims has been a major player for Xavier in three straight tournament appearances now, but in his seventh career State Tournament game, he was at his best. He scored a tournament-high 32 points on 10-19 shooting to go with four rebounds, three assists and two steals as the Saints held off a feisty Marion team in their quarterfinal win. The future South Dakota State Jackrabbit displayed his much improved perimeter stroke by going 5-8 from behind the arc in the win.
Luke Vaske, Norwalk (2018)
Yes, Norwalk blew a big lead, but the senior point guard was really good for the Warriors, in particular in the first half as they were building that sizable lead. The 6-1 guard finished with 17 points, six rebounds and four assists, but 10 of those points, four of those rebounds and all four assists came in a first half that he dominated. He displayed an outstanding first step and ability to finish around the rim either through or around contact. He’s a good perimeter shooter who showcased NBA range with pretty form, and he’s one of the best passers in the state. He had a particularly nice feed when he rifled a one-handed pass across the court to an open Blake Johnson for a 3. He has a walk-on offer from Northeastern, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a few more Division I programs come calling as they miss their primary targets. He’s really good.
Ryan Blum, Glenwood (2021)
Glenwood had a historic comeback against Norwalk, coming back from a 20-point deficit en route to their semifinal win, and this 6-3 freshman was a big reason why. He scored a team-high 17 points on 6-10 shooting (3-7 3P), pulled down six rebounds and blocked a pair of shots. He provided a ton of energy on both ends of the floor off the bench, and his ability to score inside and out, as well as contribute on the glass, was crucial to the Rams. He’ll be ranked pretty high when we throw together rankings for the 2021 class sometime over the spring.
Jack Seward, Waverly-Shell Rock (2018)
The 5-11 senior guard didn’t post any eye-popping stats, but he did lead the Go-Hawks in scoring with 17 points in their upset quarterfinal win over Mount Pleasant. He was 6-9 from the floor and 2-4 from behind the arc. Eight of those 17 points came during a third quarter that saw W-SR really take control of the game, carrying them to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. While nothing shows in the boxscore on the defensive end (i.e. no steals or blocks), he was really strong on that end of the floor against a Mount Pleasant backcourt that has been among the best in the state all year.
Xavier Foster, Oskaloosa (2020)
The 6-11 sophomore is widely regarded as a top 25-30 prospect in his class nationally, and he showed everyone why in Oskaloosa’s quarterfinal win. An athletic freak with a fantastic length, he battled through early foul trouble to finish with 18 points on 7-10 shooting, to go with four rebounds, three blocks and two assists. The most impressive part of his afternoon was that he went 4-5 from behind the arc, displaying a beautiful shooting stroke. It shouldn’t be legal for a 6-11 young man to move as gracefully as he does, but he’s a fantastic athlete who glides up and down the floor and makes up ground in a hurry. He has a ridiculously bright future, and will be coveted by every college program in the country.
Evan Flitz, Iowa City West (2018)
When the Trojans needed someone to step up and score in the first half, it was this future collegiate quarterback who stepped up and answered the call, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the first 16 minutes, including a trio of big 3-pointers. He took his turn defending Wieskamp, like seemingly everyone on the Trojans did, and he was fairly effective doing that as well. He’s a lights out perimeter shooter who will also contribute in just about every other statistical category.
Joe Wieskamp, Muscatine (2018)
What else can we say about Joe Wieskamp? We’ve been covering him for four years now, and whenever you think he can’t outdo himself, he does. Against overwhelming odds, facing the top team in Class 4A and constant double and triple teams by one of the few teams in the state with the athletes to somewhat adequately defend him, he scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, despite his jumper not falling all night. Normally a good 3-point shooter, he was 0-4 from the arc, and once it was clear the jumper wasn’t going to work, he put his head down on every possession and got to the rim to score. He wasn’t going to be stopped, and West couldn’t do anything to stop him. His remarkable career ends on a sour note, but he finishes sixth on the all-time scoring list, regardless of class, and he finally got a chance on the big stage to show the rest of the state just how good he is. Mission accomplished.
Patrick McCaffery, Iowa City West (2019)
As has been his tendency in most games this season, McCaffery let the first half unfold before taking over in the final 16 minutes, instead getting his teammates involved early and leaving his scoring for later on. He had just four points in the first half, but contributed five rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal, His second half was dominant, as he went 4-5 from the floor and 4-6 from the line in the final 16 minutes of the game en route to a team-high 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He’s still a project, largely because of his thin frame, but he’s an effective finisher around the rim, can step out to the arc and knock down shots, and he’s tough. He’s not going to back down from anyone, and he saved his best minutes of the night for when West really needed it, going on a 5-0 personal run after Muscatine had drawn within a point in the fourth quarter.
Nathan Johnson, Waukee (2018)
The Waukee senior forward was in relentless attacking mode on Tuesday night, routinely getting to the bucket and finishing with authority in the Warriors win over Johnston. A 6-7 forward, he’s an explosive athlete who had one of the plays of the tournament when he drove baseline, took off from outside the paint and threw down a powerful dunk through contact, then converted the ensuing free throw. He finished with a team-high 18 points for the Warriors.
Dylan Jones, Waukee (2019)
The 6-7 junior big man was great on the glass for the Warriors, posting the highest rebound total we’ve seen so far this week, pulling down 13 rebounds in the Waukee win. He completed his double-double with 11 points on 5-7 shooting, finishing effectively around the rim either off of offensive rebounds or dump off passes from his teammates. He’s a skilled scorer around the rim who can also stretch out to the arc, but with this team, he doesn’t need to do that. He just needs to clean up the paint, and he excels there. He finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds, an assist and a block while playing all 32 minutes.
Noah Hart, Waukee (2019)
The other piece of Waukee’s standout junior tandem, Hart was fantastic in the second half, routinely probing the Johnston defense and getting to the rim for buckets or dimes to his teammates. He finished with 15 points, six assists and two steals, with 12 of those points and three assists coming in a second half in which he was in complete control.
Boston Grimes, Johnston (2018)
Grimes’ career ends with a fantastic night in which he led the Dragons in scoring and filled the stat sheet. Grimes finished with 28 points on 9-15 shooting, went 8-8 from the line, pulled down six rebounds, had five assists and two steals in the Dragons’ narrow loss.