Posted On: 08/2/18 2:37 PM

It’s August, that means live action on the hardwood slows down, but our coverage of Iowa high schools hoops remains active. The grassroots season recently wrapped up, and we’re going to spend the month re-capping what went down by talking to some of the most successful team’s coaches, and getting their take on players that suited up for them all spring and summer.

We’re kicking off our “Coach’s Take” series with Tanner Carlson, the Iowa Barnstormers’ 17U coach. These guys created a ton of buzz in July, and finished the three-weekend live period stretch with a sterling record of 16-2. And made the title game in all three events they were at, including a championship at the Summer Classic in Minneapolis. 


Iowa Barnstormers 17U Silver coach Tanner Carlson



Antonio Turner, 5’9 PG (Iowa City High)

“Antonio is a smaller guard, but that kid is phenomenal in transition, and he’s an absolute workhorse. He’s a kid that this spring, me and him actually had a conversation about how he could crack our lineup a little bit more, and it was an honest conversation. And, Antonio, in June, you could just tell he went to the gym and he got better. And in July, we had a hard time keeping him off the floor. He can shoot it, if he has any space at all. And a pull-up 3, where that might not be good shot for a lot of kids, if someone’s playing off of him, it’s one of his better shots. He finished super well around the rim. He’s a great kid and I really, really enjoyed working with Antonio this year, and he’s gotten some much better through the spring and summer, it was a ton of fun to be around him.”


VJ Wilmington, 6’2 G (Davenport North)

“He’s a big-bodied guard, he’s got a college-ready body right now, which he does use to his advantage when he goes downhill. He can finish really well and has a really good pull-up jump-shot. He’s a scoring guard who’s transitioned into playing point the past couple of years. He is going to Hillcrest Prep next year, which is a good thing for him to continue and develop those point guard skills. He did have some Division II interest this year, some schools that wanted to have him go back to 2018, but others that are going to continue to recruit him in 2019. His interest right now has mostly been at the Division II level; he’s a kid that could blow up at prep school and be a Division I guard. He’s a really hard worker, and after almost every tournament this year he text me and asked ‘what do I need to work on this week.’ I think he’s going to have a really good career somewhere.”


Keegan Murray, 6’7 SG (Cedar Rapids Prairie)

“You know the thing Keegan can really do, he can shoot the ball. And everybody knows that. He’s 6’7 now, with a 6’10 1/2 wingspan. He can really shoot, and everybody knows that. But the thing that people don’t know about Keegan, or at least don’t give him credit for, is he can pull-up too. He’s got a great pull-up game, and if he gets an inch from anybody, he can pull up on top of them because of his length. Right now, he’s got two offers from Division II schools, he’s got a few other D2s that have been reaching out., and he’s heard from some low to mid-major Division I schools as well. I think his potential is up there with anybody that we played against; you just don’t see a 6’7 guard with that length who shoots it like Keegan does and doesn’t have a Division I offer. He’s someone, who I could see the D1s hanging around, or a new one getting on the mix here soon. He’s a phenomenal kid too. He’s one of those kids, when I was talking in the huddle, his two eyes were always locked on. He’s very coachable, and he’s only going to get better. The potential is thorugh the roof.” 


Kris Murray, 6’6 SG (Cedar Rapids Prairie)

“Here’s what I’ll tell ya, Kris is a great shooter, but Kris is more athletic than what anyone gives him credit for. I don’t like to compare them (Kris and identical twin brother Keegan), because it’s so hard, I feel like if they were in the top 100, one would be 50 and the other 51. But Kris is a little bit more athletic and he’s a better scorer around the rim, whereas Keegan’s range; I’ve been coaching AAU for 10 seasons now, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone shoot it as well as Keegan. They’re both phenomenal shooters, but they’re different in a way as well. Kris, I think people sleep on his athleticism a little bit. In July, he had some games where he would attack the rim, and a guy would come over and Kris would just go up and dunk on him. He did show some more athleticism in the summer than I think people saw from him in the past. He’s about 6’6 and has a 6’10 1/2 wing-span too, and I think they’re both still growing, which is crazy. And he was also one of those kids, he’s learning, he’s listening, just an easy kid to root for.”