Posted On: 11/19/18 11:42 AM
Northwest Iowa continues to be a hidden gem in the state when it comes to high school basketball. For example, Kirk Hinrich played on a Sioux City West state championship team back in 1999. He would go on to have a successful career in the NBA. Hinrich took home Iowa’s Mr. Basketball award that season with Sioux City North’s Daniel Tillo taking it home most recently in 2015. This side of the state boasts talent, and again have players that are among the best in the state. Here are 10 intriguing players to watch in Northwest Iowa this season:
(Players in alphabetical order)
Cade Bleeker, 6’3, F, 2019, Sioux Center
Bleeker averaged 15.3 points per game and shot 53.7 percent from the field during his junior season. The Dordt College recruit has a solid three-point shot that is complemented by his ability to attack the rim. Expect Bleeker to be one of the top players in the Siouxland Conference again.
Owen Coburn, 6’10, C, 2019, Spirit Lake
The South Dakota State commit led the Lakes Conference last season in both scoring (20.1 PPG) and rebounds (11.1 RPG). He also finished sixth in Class 3A with 50 blocks. Coburn is good around the basket, knows how to disrupt shots and has a good understanding of the game. While he has already had a good career at Spirit Lake by accounting for 881 total points, his goal will be to lead his team to the state tournament.
Sam DeMoss, 6’2, G, 2019, Sergeant Bluff-Luton
There isn’t anyone that works harder and grinds it out more than Sam DeMoss. Whenever you need him most, he’s out on the court hustling and making plays on both ends of the floor. The SB-L senior made strides from his sophomore to junior season, as he averaged 11.2 PPG and recorded 120 rebounds.
Cham Deng, 6’3, F, 2019, Storm Lake
Deng emerged as a leader for the Tornadoes during his junior season by averaging 14.4 PPG. He is a threat to opponents with his quickness in the lane, along with his ability to score points. Deng led his team with 165 rebounds and also recorded 55 assists. Look for Deng to pose an even bigger problem for opponents this season and be one of the top players to watch in Northwest Iowa.
Conner Groves, 5’11, G, 2019, Sergeant Bluff-Luton
Groves has shown over the past few years that not only does he possess strong athletic ability, but that he is a proven winner. Groves led the Warriors with 15 PPG and helped get the program back to its second straight state tournament last season. He is difficult for opponents to guard and is lethal from beyond the arc. Groves converted 66 three-pointers in his junior season.
Alex Irwin, 5’11, G, 2019, Le Mars
Le Mars loses 85 percent of its scoring from last season, meaning it will be Alex Irwin’s time to shine. The coach’s son has shown us that he is both tough and scrappy. To go along with those traits, he has a good outside shot and is strong defensively too. Irwin averaged 8.3 PPG and knocked down 42 three-pointers last season. Expect him to show much improvement in his senior year.
Cliff McCray, 6’2, G, 2019, Sioux City West
McCray, a Southwest Minnesota State commit, is one of the most athletic players in the Northwest Iowa area. He has quick hands and can drive to the basket. McCray averaged 14.5 PPG, while also leading the MRAC with 126 assists during his junior season. The senior is also good defensively, as he finished second last season in Class 4A with 72 steals.
Jack Peterson, 5’11, G, 2019, Sioux City East
The Morningside College commit played a key role in the Black Raiders’ success last season, as he averaged 9.2 PPG and recorded 65 assists. Peterson proved last season that he can play above the rim and and be an impact when his team needs big plays down the stretch of a game.
Aidan Vanderloo, 6’2, G, 2019, Sioux City East
Vanderloo is easily among the best three-point shooters in the state, as he averaged 52.5 percent from beyond the arc and 16.4 PPG last season. The senior is a proven leader on the court and has a high basketball IQ to go along with it. Vanderloo has made improvements in his lateral quickness, as well as his ability to drive to the basket.
Jacob Vis, 6’6, C, 2019, Western Christian
Vis, a Dordt College commit, is a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. The Western Christian senior led the team with 18.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 52 total blocks last season. Even though he’s already had a successful career that includes a state championship in 2017, Vis could be even more dangerous this year. He has been working on his ball handling and three-point shooting in the off-season.