Posted On: 06/6/18 3:00 PM
Iowa’s class of 2021 is starting to make make its mark on the state’s high school hoops scene, and Waukee wing Payton Sandfort is one of the headliners of that group.
With some good size, 6-foot-5, and tremendous skill, Sandfort has a chance to be one of the state’s elite players in the not-too-distant future. Mostly because of his ability to shoot the ball paired with his great size. But also because he knows what he needs to work on, and is working every day to improve.
“I think that I’m a good shooter and a good finisher at the rim, I can pass the ball well, and have improved my rebounding,” said Sandfort. “I’m okay off the dribble, and can improve my ball handling, and I’m working to improve that aspect of my game every day.”
As a freshman with Waukee, one of the state’s most deep and talented programs, Sandfort played up with the sophomores, and even dressed with the varsity towards the end of the season during state tourney time.
“I played sophomore ball as a freshman at Waukee, and began starting six games into the season. I got stronger and better as the year went on,” said Sandfort. “I got called up to varsity late in the year and it was a great experience down at the state tournament.”
That Wells Fargo Arena (at the state tourney) experience gave the rising sophomore a glimpse at what he might expect over the next three seasons with Waukee.
“I got to see first hand what it takes to win and get there, and I also hit a 3, which was fun,” said Sandfort. “I wish I could have played more varsity, but we were loaded. Still, it was really really fun.”
With his sophomore season on the horizon, even on a still-loaded Waukee squad, expect Sandfort to see some big minutes next season.
“I’m not exactly sure what my role will be, but I think knocking down shots, being a strong all around player, and helping Waukee to try and win its first school state title ever,” he said.
Ahead of his sophomore season, though, he’ll have the summer with Kingdom Hoops Elite 15U — one of the state’s best AAU teams — to improve his game.
“I think we’ve had a great spring with Kingdom Hoops. We are small and I wasn’t sure how we’d handle it, but I think for our size we’ve competed well and played with everyone, and won some big games,” said Sandfort.
“I have awesome teammates and coaches, and we’ve challenged each other to get better.”
The bulk of his recruitment is still something that’s down the road for Sandfort, but it’s already started to show a bit. He and his Kingdom Hoops teammate, Johnston’s Reid Grant, recently were on Indiana’s campus for an unofficial visit.
“Reid and I were spotted playing well at a tourney in Indiana. We got invited to Crossroads Elite Camp, along with an Indiana unofficial visit,” said Sandfort.
Although 15U is young for most guys’ recruitment to start taking shape, with a talent like Sandfort, he could see some attention come in this July. But he’s more-so focused on improving, so he can help his teams get Ws.
“My goal is to get ready and play well with Waukee and win some team camps this June,” said Sandfort. “I want to keep getting stronger, taller, and get better at my weaknesses. I’ll then go back to Kingdom Hoops and try to help the team win tournaments in Lawrence (Kansas) and Milwaukee.”
Payton Sandfort has been identified by Prep Hoops as a top prospect in his class. To see the full Class of 2021Watch List, click here.