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Posted On: 06/20/18 11:11 AM
April and July may be dominated by AAU tourneys, but June is for the high school camps. We’ve seen plenty of Iowa high school teams play already this June, and still have lots more to take in before getting back into the swing of AAU ball. Last weekend at Drake there was a wide-range of teams, big and small, that took the court. Below, we’ll give a quick outlook on some we saw.
Grand View Christian
Things are very interesting right now for the back-to-back 1A state champs. Last season, they added a Division I prospect from West Africa (Mali), Issa Samake, midway through the season. Samake was critical to helping the team win a consecutive state title. The Thunder were losing a couple key pieces, including all-state point guard Grant DeMeulenaere, but had a ton returning — they were going to be favored to win state again. But then something happened, three guys that were to be key contributors, Mach Nyaw, Sam Glenn and James Glenn all transferred out. We were left to wonder: without those guys, would the Thunder still be the favorites in Class 1A? Then we found out they had added another Mali-born D1 prospect, Harouna Sissoko, and yes, they are again the favorites to win a title. That’s two Division I prospects — Samake and Sissoko — and likely two of the state’s top 15-ranked 2019 prospects on the same small-school squad; in addition to returning starter starter Arturo Montes and Bryce Crabb.
There’s a handful of 1A schools that will contend with Grand View Christian for a 1A title, and the Bears of Bishop Garrigan are certainly one of them. They’ll have as much, if not more size than any other 1A team in the state; TJ Schnurr goes 6’5, Cade Winkel is 6’4 and rising sophomore Angelo Winkel is 6’7. Tristan Ferguson is a guy who made a minimal impact last season with the 19-5 Bears, but he looks like he’ll be a major contributor this season — he goes 6’4. All five starters and literally every player on the roster come back from last season’s highly successful squad. There will be lofty expectations in Algona next winter.
The Cadets had the tough task of facing Grand View Christian first thing at the Drake Team Camp last Friday, and that’s the game we were able to take in. It was a dunk-fest for the Thunder, and a 20 point loss for IF-A. But there are definitely some things to be excited for. Karson Sharar, although it wasn’t his best showing against GVC, is a guy that will be ranked among the top 10 prospects in his class when the 2021 rankings are released this fall. He averaged 21 points per game last season as a freshman for an eight-win Cadets squad. Then there’s rising junior Logan Aldinger. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last season, and was lighting it up from deep at Drake, hitting five first half 3s in our viewing of him. Down low, 6’6 big-man Tim Long will be a capable center for the Cadets. Look for them to greatly improve upon those eight wins from a season ago.
Another small-school squad that could contend for a state title next season, although it looks there’s a chance it might be at the 2A level rather tan 1A like in year’s past. Whether 1A or 2A, as long as the Lynx still have Jake Hilmer at the helm, they’ll be racking up dubs. Jake, though, was unable to play at the Drake camp, he suffered an ankle injury playing baseball the bight before. As it was, his little brother, rising freshman Austin Hilmer, had a chance to shine. He was dime’ing, scoring and swiping steals all afternoon and is certainly cut from the same cloth as his older brother. That’s a very good thing for North Linn. In addition to the Hilmer brothers, there’s lengthy 6-foot-3 post Josh Smith, who absolutely torched Tipton to the tune of 29 points. Throw in guys like David Seber and Trevor Boje, both key contributors to last season’s 1A runner-up squad, and the Lynx have themselves a legitimate state title contender.
Jack Keough has been waiting in the wings for some time now at Dowling, and it looks like this season he’ll be taking the reins for a Maroons squad that could be sneaky good. Keough is a burly and skilled 6-foot guard who was slicing and dicing the comp in our viewing of him. A standout with the football team, he’s more than big enough to absorb contact at the rim, and will win more battles than not in the strength department next winter. The Maroons also boast a good amount of size down low, we saw two guys that went 6’6 or more manning the post during a blowout of Waukee’s JV, and that doesn’t include 6’7 post Ryan Riggs, a rising sophomore who is among the best 2021s in Iowa. Riggs wasn’t at the camp. Jack Lyman will provide some nice punch in the backcourt alongside Keough. Expect the Maroons — despite losing five senior starters — to be better-than-expected next season.