Posted On: 11/1/18 5:00 PM

The Teams

 

Des Moines East (0-22)

Frankly, the Scarlets were very bad last season. They were one of just two teams in Class 4A to not win a game (Burlington was the other, it was 0-21). This season, there’s likely not a lot that will change in terms of the win/loss column. There is reason to be excited about last season’s leading scorer, Wil Burt, who was one of the best scoring freshman in the state. The question: Can he help lead East to some wins this season? 

 

Des Moines Hoover (19-2)

One in a short list of elite programs in the state, Hoover is always among the best teams in Iowa — and it doesn’t seem to matter who they graduated the year before. This year’s team will feature a set of four standout guards, that’s Manny Austin, Adam Jackson, Hosea Treadwell and Kenny Quinn; and although they’ll be smaller than most anyone they play, they will certainly not lose very many games. 

 

Des Moines Lincoln (5-18)

An intriguing group of guys will take the floor for the Railsplitters this winter. They’ve put in the time this offseason to cultivate a solid squad, and are looking to start building a winning culture on Des Moines’ Southside starting now. Josiah Conkrite will be one of the more dynamic players in the conference. Felix Gallagher will bring the energy and leadership. Nate Feller and Ben Knoebel have the experience. And Maiwut Jok could be electrifying. 

 

Des Moines North (20-4)

Tyreke Locure will put up video game numbers, and he’s set to break some big-time records in the process. But the Polar Bears are much more than just him. Gatdoar Bijiek is a 6’5 wing who can light it up from deep. Lino Malual is certainly one of the more dynamic athletes in Iowa, and probably the Midwest. Malik Allen is one of Iowa’s best sophomores. The Polar Bears have their eye not only on conference supremacy, but a state title. 

 

Des Moines Roosevelt (10-12)

The Roughriders have been middling the last couple of years, winning 21 and losing 23 games over that span. Is this the year they can get back over the hump? Well, star big-man Cade Moritz graduated and although there are plenty of guys returning, it remains to be seen who can replace his prowess. Burke Pitz is a highly skilled shooter, and Marcus Edwards can flat-out get it done from the guard spot. Junior point guard Antoinio Alzheimer might have a breakout season, and Jamie Spinks will lead the team defensively. 

 

Ottumwa (6-16)

Leading scorer from a season ago Andrew Curran is gone, he transferred to Waukee for his season season. That leaves Sam Yeaway as the team’s leading returning scorer. Lathan Hamm returns as well after playing a considerable role on last season’s team. There’s a lot of questions that will need to be answered with the Bulldogs this season. 

 

Projected Order of Finish

1 Des Moines North

2 Des Moines Hoover

3 Des Moines Lincoln

4 Des Moines Roosevelt

5 Ottumwa

6 Des Moines East

 

Analysis

Make no mistake about it: Hoover versus North is going to be — as it has been for years now — some highly entertaining, must-watch, dramatic hoops. They’ll play twice this season, both games will be tremendous. We give the nod to North in the conference title race, because they have the best player, and Locure is hungrier than ever to win. Lincoln and Roosevelt will be formidable opponents this season. But Hoover and North both have eyes set on a state title. 

 

Preseason Player of the Year

Tyreke Locure, Des Moines North — 2019

Despite some other worthy candidates, this was really a no-brainer. We dare to say that Locure — a South Alabama commit — has already firmly established himself as an Iowa high school hoops legend. He’ll continue to add to that legacy this season while knocking off more and more Iowa high school hoops records. 

 

Biggest Sleeper

Maiwut Jok, Des Moines Lincoln  — 2020

 You wouldn’t be able to check the stats to see this big and long center could be a dynamo for the Rails this season, he averaged 1.4 points and 1.4 rebounds a season ago. But after seeing him in action this summer with Lincoln, it was clear that the 6’8 big-man has rim-wrecking ability and mega shot-blocking potential. He makes Lincoln just that much more intriguing this season. 

 

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