Iowa’s Ten Best: Shot Blockers


Posted On: 07/5/18 7:36 PM

We needed something to do until the summer live periods start on July 13. So, we did what’s always a popular thing to do: made some lists. We’ve gleaned through our prospect rankings and — and looked beyond — to make up lists of the best guys in the state by category. Today, we’ll take a look at Iowa’s best shot-blockers, those tall and rangy guys who make opponents double-think shot selection whenever they’re near. 


Xavier Foster, 6’10 F (Oskaloosa) — 2020

The five-star high-major Division I prospect was a no-brainer to headline this list, we’ve seen him block shots in ways and from angles like never before. He’s extremely long and obviously very tall, and his massive wing-span helped him to a state-best (Class 3A) 3.6 blocks per game last season.


Dylan Jones, 6’7 F (Waukee) — 2019

This Waukee combo-forward just looks like he’d be a great shot-blocker, tall and lean with long arms, so it’s no shocker that he’s Class 4A’s leading returning shot-blocker after swatting away 2.2 per game last season as a junior.


Issa Samake, 6’7 F (Grand View Christian) — 2019

When you have a 7-foot-4 wing-span, there’s going to be things you can do on the court that very few others can, like dunk from just inside the free-throw line (which we saw him do at the Drake Team Camp), and swat shots galore. Samake played just the second half of the season last year after transferring in, but averaged a whopping 3.3 blocks per game in those 15 games.


Owen Coburn, 6’10 C (Spitit Lake) — 2019

Always one of the state’s better shot-blockers, Coburn has been consistently among the state’s leaders since his freshman season. Not unlike most other guys on this list, Coburn is tall and very lengthy. He averaged 2.2 blocks per game last season, 1.4 as a sophomore and 3.o per game as a freshman (at H-M-S)


John Schwarte, 6’8 C (Treynor) — 2020

We got a first-hand look at this shot-blocking machine last March at the state tourney, and it was abundantly clear then, that he’s one of Iowa’s best rim protectors. Schwarte is tall and long — shocker — and erased a Class 2A best 80 shots last season (3.0 per game)


Ryan Schmitt, 6’8 PF (Van Meter) — 2019

The big and long power forward has become one of the state’s most lethal big-men, and over the years has established himself as one of Iowa’s most dominant shot-blockers. As a junior at Van Meter he sent away 3.0 shots per game, as a sophomore he swatted 1.8 per game.


Caleb Grizzle, 6’6 F (Ankeny Christian Academy) — 2019

At the 1A level, any 6’6 guy with some bounce is liable to be a defensive menace, and Grizzle is just that. He can do a little bit of everything on the floor, but shot-blocking is certainly a strength. Last season, he blocked 3.0 shots per game. Look for him to up that this coming senior season.


Alex Wolter, 6’11 C (Keokuk) — 2019

Well, when you’re the tallest player in the state and you play in Class 3A, chances are you’re going to make this list. Wolter is approaching 7-feet tall, he’s strikingly big, as a result, he swatted away 2.4 shots per game last season for the Chiefs. He simply has to exist to make his presence felt on the floor.


Even Brauns, 6’8 PF (Iowa City West) — 2020

Tall, long and athletic, Brauns is a quintessential shot-blocking extraordinaire. He was at Iowa City Regina last season, and sent away 3.1 shots per game. Next season, he’ll be at Iowa City West, his numbers may or might not decline in the ultra-tough conference. But with Brauns and Patrick McCaffery looming in the paint, shooting anywhere inside the arc against the Trojans will be a scary thought.


Caleb Lomica, 6’5 C (North Polk) — 2019

A long-established shot-blocking menace, Lomica is a guy we identified as a human eraser since his freshman season. We first saw him with the Iowa Wolves at an AAU tourney three years ago, since then he’s posted shot-blocking averages of 4.0, 2.5 and  3.3 per game.


Honorable Mentions: Dakota Rold, Zack Lasek, Chase Courbat, Angelo Winkel, Cole Jensen, TJ Bollers, Jacob Vis, Cooper Nally, Austin Gartner, James Betz, Keaton Mitchell