IOWA CITY, Iowa – The ink is barely dry on our latest Iowa High School. That’s not going to keep us from looking forward to the next one. Plenty of 2024 class members and beyond shined this winter. It gave…
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The ink is barely dry on our latest Iowa High School. That’s not going to keep us from looking forward to the next one.
Plenty of 2024 class members and beyond shined this winter. It gave basketball fans in the state excitement for what’s ahead.
Here’s a look at some guys who stood out to me:
Jack McCaffery Jack McCaffery 6'8" | SF Iowa City West | 2025 State IA , ’25, Iowa City West
I saw McCaffery (6-8) in person a lot this season thanks in large part to the proximity of his high school to my house. Also, he was fun to watch. He made noticeable strides from his freshman to sophomore seasons. He’s turned into a consistent three-level scorer with a broad skill set. He handled the ball quite a bit more this year than last and looked more comfortable defending multiple positions. He averaged 16.0 points and 7.4 rebounds with an eye-popping 3.9 blocks. He’ll need to counter the physicality he faced but that should come with natural development. He’s on an excellent trajectory.
Holden Arnaman Holden Arnaman 6'3" | PG West Branch | 2024 State IA , ’24, West Branch
Like McCaffery, I’ve watched Arnaman through the years and always come away impressed. He took a nice step forward for his junior season, averaging 21.8 points and 5.7 dimes with a 1.94 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s a solidly built 6-2 combo-guard with a high-level handle who shot 42.0 percent from behind the three-point arc. I thought he brought his broad array of skills together well this season, understanding when to take it and when to give it up. He also improved as a defender.
Joe Bean Joe Bean 6'3" | PG Xavier | 2024 State IA , ’24, Xavier
I was glad I got see Bean in person at Iowa City West this season. I had received good feedback going in, and he did not disappoint. The versatility and ability to affect the game in multiple ways stood out to me. At 6-3, he boasts impressive size for a guard, which led to him ranking second on the Saints with 5.1 rebounds a game. That average also was aided by excellent court awareness and instincts. He scored 14.5 points, which also rated second on his squad. Oh, and he led it with 3.9 assists a contest.
Samuel Mbingazo, ’26, Iowa City High
The 6-9 newcomer from the Congo is more potential than production right now. That ceiling is pretty high, however. He averaged 7.5 points and 6.7 rebounds largely on natural ability. It’s easy to dream on what might be there when the skills are refined. That said, he already shows a good understanding of the game and feel for what he needs to be doing. He’s athletic and coordinated. His long arms can cover a lot of ground in the paint.
Cade Courbat Cade Courbat 6'8" | PF Cedar Falls | 2024 State #120 Nation IA , ’24, Cedar Falls
I saw Courbat (6-8) match up with Mbingazo this season. The Cedar Falls junior drew fouls on the youngster and outplayed him on that night. The left-handed Tiger averaged 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 1.9 assists in ’22-23. He should move into a bigger role next season with the talented Dallas Bear Dallas Bear 6'8" | SF Cedar Falls | 2023 State #276 Nation IA graduating. He’s ready to deliver with his skill set and length.
Jake Benzing Jake Benzing 6'2" | SG Solon | 2024 State IA , ’24, Solon
Solon advanced to a regional final in large part to the progress Benzing (6-3) made from his sophomore to junior seasons. He averaged 17.7 points and 5.7 rebounds this winter after tallying 9.7 and 3.1 as a 10th-grader. He scores from all three levels, shooting 46.1 percent from behind the three-point arc and 84.6 from the foul line. Benzing is a good athlete with length.
Micah Schlaak Micah Schlaak 6'6" | PF Kennedy | 2024 State IA , ’24, Kennedy
A talented senior class overshadowed Schlaak (6-6) at times this season, but the junior played a major role in the Cougars entering the state tournament unbeaten. He led them in rebounding (7.0 RPG) and ranked second in scoring (12.3 PPG). He attacked the offensive glass and extended plenty of possessions. He’s effective scoring in the paint and hit 9 of 14 three-point shots.