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Posted On: 11/30/18 1:00 PM
The season is here! Games across the state started on Monday, with most teams beginning their seasons Tuesday. And we’re here to bring you some quantitative lists, counting down the best returners in a given statistical category. The series concludes with us bringing you the best returning shot-blockers, from 4A to 1A.
10 Angelo Winkel, Bishop Garrigan — 2.125
What’s most impressive about this listing, is Winkel made this group of elite-level shot-blockers during his freshman season. He’s now two games into his sophomore season and already has 13 blocks, so expect to see him more near the top of this list by season’s end.
9 Parker Kliegl, Earlham — 2.130
He’s 6-foot-6, and at the 1A level especially, that’s giant. That sheer size alone makes him one of the more formidable bigs in small-school hoops. He’ll be at the forefront for an Earlham team that has high hopes this season.
8 Hunter Ray, Montezuma — 2.2
Last December 12th against HLV he swatted 10 shots, that was tied for the most swats in a single game by any player in the state last season. Montezuma has state tourney aspirations, their success will hinge on how dominant Ray can be in the paint.
7 Val Andrusyushyn, Riverside, Oakland — 2.4
A shot-blocking specialist, Andrusyushyn is about the only guy on any of these shot-blocking list to average the same amount of blocks as he did points last season. He averaged 2.7 points, compared to his 2.4 blocks. He also led his team with 6.9 boards per game.
6 Nik Coble, WACO — 2.6
Coble was a beast last season, and as a sophomore for the Lions he averaged a double-double in points (10.6) and rebounds (12.4). Throw in the high shot-blocking numbers and Coble established himself as one of the state’s best small-school big-men.
5 Austin Gartner, Fremont Mills — 2.8
Another shot-blocking specialist, Gartner averaged a pedestrian 5.5 points per game last season, but the junior was a shot-blocking machine. He’s a defensive end and tight end for the Knights’ football team, and that tough, gritty gridiron mentality is how he approaches games on the hardwood.
4 Cooper Nally, Bedford — 3.0
We got a chance to see this lengthy combo-forward last spring at a Prep Hoops tourney in Minneapolis, and we very-much liked what we saw. A lean and long 6-foot-4, Nally isn’t as tall as most guys on this list, but he knows how to time shots and swats with savvy.
3 Issa Samake, Grand View Christian — 3.26
A freakish athlete with even more freakishly long arms, the only surprise here is that Samake isn’t higher on the list. The Mali-born forward was offered by Drake this summer and shortly after, he committed. We won’t be surprised is he blocks five shots per game this season for a Thunder squad looking for a third-straight state title.
2 Dakota Rold, Exira-EHK — 3.31
He’s been one of our favorite big-men since we saw him dominate a grassroots game with Tryon Gym a couple summers back. That offseason success has translated to regular season dominance. He’ll again dominate the paint this winter for a Spartans team that has state tourney aspirations.
1 Caleb Grizzle, Ankeny Christian Academy — 3.4
It’s been a heck of a career already for the 6-foot-6 combo-forward, and he should cap it with a special senior season this winter. Blocking shots at a high clip is just one in a number of things that Grizzle does very well. Look for him to average 20 points, 10 rebounds and maybe four shots per game this season for another very good Eagles squad.