Conference Preview: CIML Central

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Iowa

Posted On: 10/31/18 6:04 PM

The Teams

Ames (9-13)

Two bonafide Division I prospects reside on the Little Cyclones’ roster, that’s senior Japannah Kellogg (who’s committed to Green Bay) and freshman Tamin Lipsey (Iowa State offer). Mix that in with guys like Cooper Downs, Casey Mumm and Will Krapfl and you can bet that Ames will be a tough out this season. 

 

Ankeny (8-15)

There’a a lot to be excited about for the Hawks this winter. Braxton Bayless, a Valley transfer who’s a top-10 prospect in 2020, is now going to make his debut with the varsity. He’ll be joining one of 2019’s best guards, Dillon Carlson, and fellow 2020 standout Jaxon Smith in the backcourt. Jaron Crews is a real nice sophomore guard that could have a breakout season. Watch out for the Hawks. 

 

Centennial (14-9)

Hunter Strait was one of Iowa’s best point guards last season, and the Jags will have to try and replace him. Plenty of size, though, will make the Jags one of the more intriguing teams in the conference. Micah Johnson and Preston Kelling are two of 2020’s best prospects. Lathan Brandt is a bouncy, big guard/forward, and 6’7 junior Cody McCullough could have a breakout junior season. 

 

Dowling (17-6)

For some time now, Dowling has been a program that tends to reload, rather than rebuild. So, despite losing a slew of senior talent from last season’s team including All-CIML point guard Sam Ingoli, we think this year’s Maroons squad has the right guys coming up that can help fill the void. Senior point guard Jack Keough will be the biggest sleeper and we think a first-team all-conference guy. 

 

Johnston (20-4)

Last season was one of the Dragons’ best ever, and they look like a program that may not lose a beat over the next several years. The big-man down low, Peyton Williams, will be dominant this season. Guys like sophomore Reid Grant and juniors Nathan Newcomb and Johnny Leth will be big-time playmakers, too. 

 

Urbandale (8-14)

After an eight-win season last winter, the J-Hawks will rely heavily this season on big forward Will Pattison. Alex Economos is the next leading scorer from last season’s team, which was very much senior-laden. We’re not really sure what we’re going to get out of the J-Hawks this year, but Pattison should put up some very decent numbers.  

 

Projected Order of Finish

1 Ankeny

2 Johnston

3 Centennial

4 Ames

5 Dowling

6 Urbandale

 

Analysis

This division if the CIML is about as unpredictable and even of a conference race as we can remember heading into a season. We gave Ankeny the ever so slight nod because they have the best backcourt. Jaxon Smith and Braxton Bayless will terrorize opponents this season on both sides of the ball. Dillon Carlson might be the conference’s leading scorer. Johnston, though, has the best big man with Peyton Williams and some nice young talent. Centennial’s size will be tough. Ames has two D1 prospects and Dowling reloads every year. This will be a fun one to keep an eye on. 

 

Preseason Player of the Year

Dillon Carlson, Ankeny — 2019

He gets the slight nod here over Japannah Kellogg and Peyton Williams. Carlson is a bonafide scorer who can light it up from deep and handle both guard spots adeptly. The coach’s son has a savvy about him and the skill plus hoops IQ that will allow him to dominate this season for the Hawks. 

 

Biggest Sleeper

Jack Keough, Dowling — 2019

We listed the 6-foot point guard as a preseason first-team all-conference guy, so he’s not necessarily a sleeper to us. That’s because we saw him dominate on the high school team camp circuit this summer, and farther back, with Iowa Elite when he played grassroots ball. Keough will have the keys to the Maroons’ offense this season, and after averaging 3.1 points per game last year, he could be among the leading scorers in the conference this winter. 

 

Players To Watch

Jappanah Kellogg, Ames — 2019

Tamin Lipsey, Ames — 2021

Braxton Bayless, Ankeny — 2020

Jordan Kumm, Ankeny — 2019

Dillon Carlson, Ankeny 2019

Jaxon Smith, Ankeny — 2020

Micah Johnson, Centennial — 2020

Preston Kelling, Centenial — 2020

Lathan Brandt, Centennial — 2019

Cody McCullough, Centennial — 2020

Jack Keough, Dowling — 2019

Ryan Riggs, Dowling — 2021

Jack Lyman, Dowling — 2019

Peyton Williams, Johnston — 2020

Reid Grant, Johnston — 2021

Johnny Leth, Johnston — 2020

Alex Economos, Urbandale — 2019

Will Pattison, Urbandale — 2019