Posted On: 10/3/18 8:30 AM
The 5th annual Iowa Top 250 Expo took place last weekend at Kingdom Courts in Des Moines, and a number of high-level prospects from around the state gathered to showcase their skills. Below we take a look at six players from the 2019 and 2020 classes who really boosted their stock with their play on Saturday.
The 6-6 power forward put up huge numbers for the Wildcats last season (18 points, nine rebounds a game), but you’re never really quite sure how those numbers are going to translate when the 1A kids play against bigger competition. They translated quite well on Saturday, as Hicks as one of the best players on the court throughout the afternoon. An athletic forward, he was relentless on the glass, and constantly active on both ends of the floor. He showcased a jumper that looked pretty fluid out to about 15 feet, and some solid footwork and a few go-to post moves on the block. He runs the floor well, rebounds at a high level, is a strong post defender, and isn’t afraid to try and dunk on someone. He has the look of a scholarship level player.
The 6-3 junior was one of the event’s best offensive players throughout the afternoon, showcasing a smooth jumper and versatile offensive skill set, along with a high IQ. After exploding this summer with Iowa Intensity, posting multiple 40+ point games, he looks primed for a massive scoring year with the Tigers this season. He routinely knocked down 3s, and aggressively attacked the rim following the defender’s aggressive closeout. He has a pure jumper that looks much better than the 22.1% he shot from behind the arc as a sophomore for Grinnell. He’s a big, physical wing who can catch fire in a hurry, and contribute across the board. Few players were more impressive than Hull on Saturday, particularly in the scoring department.
The 6-3 senior may have helped himself more than anyone on Saturday, showing that this 1A wing can play against the big boys, and play at a high level. He’s a long wing who competes hard on every possession, and was among the best rebounders in the gym on both ends of the floor. He’s a quality 3-point shooter with good form and a smooth, repeatable release. He showed the ability to shoot both off the dribble and the catch. He has worked on improving his ball handling, and while it still has a ways to go, he’s able to beat his defender off the dribble and get to the rim. He’s willing to post up smaller defenders, and he has some versatility on the defensive end. A quality all-around offensive threat, it was his energy level that set him apart from most others throughout the afternoon.
Sensing a theme here? Lots of small school kids came to Des Moines on Saturday and showed out against high-level competition. Johnson is another who was fantastic all afternoon. A 6-2 lead guard, he’s a great athlete who competes every possession. He provided a glimpse of his athleticism on one particular play in which he outleaped everyone on the floor for a rebound, then hit a streaking teammate in stride with a 60 foot outlet pass for a layup. He played effectively both with and without the ball in his hands, showing good awareness and making some nice dive cuts to the rim against a sleepy defender for layups. While his jumper isn’t the best part of his game, he’s a capable shooter from the arc, shooting 37% from deep last year. On the defensive end he moves well laterally, keeping ball handlers in front of him. His athleticism set him apart from most in the gym, and his skill set is quality as well. He has the look of a scholarship level player, probably at the NAIA level.
Coming off a strong summer with the Iowa Barnstormers, Reid is one of the players I was most looking forward to getting an eye on on Saturday, and he didn’t disappoint. A 6-6 wing, Reid handles the ball extremely well, and is a smooth, fluid athlete. He has great length, and the ability to defend multiple spots on the floor, but it’s his offensive skill set that really showed up on Saturday. With his size, he has the ability to get his shot off whenever he wants, and he’s a strong shooter off the dribble. He shot 35% from behind the arc last year as a sophomore, expect to see that number jump up this season. He’s willing to post up smaller defenders, passes it well, rebounds and keeps improving on both ends of the floor. With his frame and skill set, there’s a lot to like about Reid.
A 6-6 wing, Andrews has always been in the top few percentile around the state athletically. His skill set is starting to catch up to his frame and athletic ability. His jumper is much improved, looking more fluid and repeatable throughout the motion. His handle has also improved, as he’s now a threat to get by his man in the halfcourt setting. In previous viewings, he did a majority of his scoring either in transition or off the offensive glass. He’s now a much more versatile scorer who can get his own shot within an offense. His length and athleticism play well on the defensive end, where he can defend multiple spots. If he keeps on this trajectory, he could work his way into becoming a quality Division II prospect. There is a lot to like here.