Way Too Early Top 10: Class 4A
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With July’s evaluation period now behind us and plenty of time to kill between now and late November, it’s time to take a look at who we believe will be some of the teams to keep an eye on in…
With July’s evaluation period now behind us and plenty of time to kill between now and late November, it’s time to take a look at who we believe will be some of the teams to keep an eye on in each classification this winter.
How well do these rankings predict what may happen over the course of the coming season? Well, of the 32 state tournament qualifying teams last year, we had 22 ranked in the top 10 in their respective classes, and another six written about in the “others to monitor” sections. Teams that won state titles were ranked 3rd (Grand View Christian), 3rd (Central Lyon), 5th (Bondurant-Farrar), and 4th (Valley), and of the eight teams that participated in championship games, none were ranked lower than 5th to start the year. We were most successful in Class 1A, with each of the top six teams making it to the state tournament, as well as #8 Dunkerton and “Others to Watch” New London, meaning all eight state tournament teams were identified by us as top teams heading into last season.. Further, over the last six years, teams ranked #1 to open the year have reached the state semifinals at a 71% clip, and played for a state championship at a 57% rate. So, while this isn’t the definitive list of how teams are going to perform this year, it’s certainly a good thing to find yourselves near the top of these initial rankings.
Below you’ll find our top 10 for Class 4A, along with some other teams that could make some noise, as well as a brief summary of why each team is in their respective spot. Enjoy.
1.) Valley (State champions, 21-5 last year, 78.4% of scoring returning)
The Tigers delivered a warning shot to the rest of the state on their state championship run last season, putting together a dominant week on the strength of an elite sophomore class. Sophomores accounted for 67 of the 75 points in the state championship, 22 of the 26 rebounds, and 15 of the 18 assists. Good luck to the rest of the state for the next two years (and potentially beyond), because Valley is going to be the type of dominant team that we probably haven’t seen in 4A since Iowa City West put together their 3-peat in the mid-2010s. Five of the top six scorers return, including each of the top four, led by the dynamic perimeter trio of. (13.1 points, 3.5 assists), (12.6), and (10.1), as well as big man (9.9, 7.3 rebounds) and off-ball guard (6.4, 39.1 3P%). Stinson is the cerebral, powerful, high IQ lead guard who does a little bit of everything for the Tigers. The son of former Iowa State standout Curtis Stinson, he’s a 6-4 guard with tremendous size, length, and physicality, and he has established himself as one of the best on-ball defenders in the state. Robinson, who is also a highly coveted receiver prospect, was electric in the championship win over Waukee Northwest, finishing with 28 points on 9-12 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. An elite athlete who plays above the rim at 5-10, he can create his own shot, create for his teammates, play excellent defense, and contribute on the glass. He had a really good summer with D1 Minnesota and figures to take another leap this season. Deng, a 6-4/6-5 wing, is athletic and long, a solid defender who gets into passing lanes and can score from all three levels. Jirak, a 6-9 big man, is garnering interest from some high-major programs because of his combination of size, rim protection, mobility, and footwork, and he could play a larger role in the offense this season. And Cason is a perfect fit alongside all of these other talented weapons – a sharpshooting guard who doesn’t need to have the ball in his hands to be successful. (2.3), another big man in the paint, played sparingly as a sophomore but is another weapon in that loaded 2025 class. If just those six players were coming back, the Tigers would be #1 with a bullet. Then they added Des Moines North transfer to the roster as well. McGregory, arguably the top football prospect in Iowa’s 2026 class, averaged 14.9 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.1 steals a game as a freshman at North and will give the Tigers more size, length, and athleticism on the wing. He won’t score as much as he did with the Polar Bears, but he’ll fit in with what Valley looks to do on both ends of the floor and he helps raise the ceiling of this group even more. This group has a chance to be the next nationally ranked team to come out of Iowa, and they may still be a year away from their best basketball, a terrifying thought.
2.) Pleasant Valley (State semifinalist, 20-6, 79.2% of scoring returning)
The Spartans were considered significant underdogs in the state quarterfinals against undefeated Kennedy, but they were certainly the better team that afternoon, knocking off the Cougars and then falling to eventual champion Valley in a tight semifinal contest, 58-51. A huge chunk of that roster returns, with only leading scorer Connor Borbeck lost among the major contributors. A balanced group of returnees is led by a quintet of seniors –(9.4, 38.9 3P%), (8.4, 5.4 rebounds), (8.3), , (8.3, 6.5 assists), and (3.4), with juniors (6.5) and (3.9) also returning after seeing plenty of time last season. That gives them seven key returnees to one of the most balanced, disciplined, and physical teams in the state. They should also get some production out of a pair of juniors who were standouts on the Spartans’ sophomore team last season – and – which will make this group legitimately nine deep with skilled, defensive-minded players. PV is an absolute bear to play against because they’re going to slow the game down, use their length and physicality to control the glass, share the ball (only Borbeck averaged in double figures last season), and they aren’t going to beat themselves. This team is nearly impossible to come back against when they get a lead, and they’ll have plenty of leads to protect again this year. If any team could frustrate Valley and make them play a knockdown, drag-out fight, it’s this group.
3.) Kennedy (State qualifier, 22-1, 56.6% of scoring returning)
The Cougars were absolutely dominant last season, with only two games decided by single digits and an average margin of victory of nearly 30 points a game before being upset by Pleasant Valley in the quarterfinals. They lose two fantastic players in guards Kenzie Reed and Colby Dolphin, but it is a testament to the foundation that Jon McKowen has built that the Cougars are still ranked within the top 3 despite those major losses. Dolphin and Reed combined to average 25.8 points and 9.7 assists a game last season, and the tandem won a ton of games for Kennedy in the last three years. Alas, they have graduated and moved on to play college ball, so let’s talk about the returnees, shall we? Senior forward(12.3, 7.0 rebounds) is a mobile big man who can score inside and out at an extremely efficient clip, shooting 67% from the floor last season. At 6-7, he has length, agility, and great footwork and touch around the bucket, as well as a smooth stroke out to the arc. He figures to be a focal point of the attack on both ends of the floor. (9.4, 6.3 rebounds, 2.9 steals) is a dynamic two-way player on the wing. He’s a fantastic athlete with good size (6-3) and length, and he moves his feet extremely well as an on-ball defender. He’s also a standout receiver on the gridiron, and many of the traits that make him dynamic in that role make him extremely valuable on the hardwood. (6.2, 41.1 3P%), the son of head coach Jon, was a key role player for this group off the bench last year as a sophomore and will step into the lead guard role this season. He’s a tough, skilled guard who can get to the bucket, defend at a high level, and knock down shots both off the dribble and the catch. (5.5) had ups-and-downs in his first year as a Cougar following his transfer from Linn-Mar, but is a long and skilled scoring wing, while (3.4) provides some size and physicality in the paint. Jace Scott (2.8) and Griffin Gerdes (2.7), a pair of senior guards, figure to play a significant role as well. If it was just this group returning, they would be formidable. But the Cougs added several key transfers to the mix as well, most notably , Xavier’s star point guard. Bean averaged 14.5 points and 3.9 assists for the Saints as a junior and will give Kennedy experience, toughness, shot making, and additional ball-handling and defense alongside McKowen and Courtney in the backcourt. They have also added and from Cedar Rapids Jefferson, a pair of explosive athletes on the wing who should play roles off the bench. Blakey averaged 6.9 points and 3.0 rebounds while Gatewood put up 5.7 points a game for the J-Hawks last season. This should be another pretty dominant regular season for the Cougars. Can they put that upset loss behind them and make some serious noise in March?
4.) Iowa City West (12-11, 86.4% of scoring returning)
The Trojans lost nine games by single digits last season, including five by a single possession, so they were close to putting together a really good year, but a young team just couldn’t finish games. We expect that to flip a bit this season with an additional year of experience and a lot of talent coming back. The top five scorers return, including a trio of double-figure scorers, giving them a number of skilled scoring threats for Steve Bergman to work with. Junior wing(16.0, 3.9 blocks) is a nationally ranked prospect in the 2025 class, a 6-8 scorer and shot blocker who can bury shots from deep, score inside, create for his teammates, and block shots left and right. Senior point guard (10.5, 40.5 3P%) and wing (10.5, 51.2 FG%) are the other big scorers returning. Koch is a really good shooter who can play with or without the ball in his hands, while Earl has battled injuries throughout the last few years, but when he’s healthy, he’s one of the most talented wing scorers in the state with his blend of athleticism, length, and skill. (9.3) had some up-and-down moments last season in his first year at West following a transfer from City, but he gives the Trojans some speed and shotmaking in the backcourt, and sophomore (8.3, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists) was very productive as a freshman and will take another step forward. He’s an athletic combo forward who rebounds at a high level and can get his teammates involved. This team was close to being pretty darn good last season, and with the top five coming back, and hopefully some health luck with Earl, this group could push Kennedy as the team to beat in the MVC, which will make them a contender.
5.) Centennial (State qualifier, 16-8, 59.8% of scoring returning)
Senior point guard(16.8, 4.9 assists) established himself as one of the best guards in the state last season and returns to lead the Jaguars, who knocked off Iowa City West and Cedar Falls to reach the state tournament before falling to Waukee Northwest for the third time last year. Winkel is an electric scorer with outstanding footwork and a great feel for the game, and he has worked to improve his jumper, which will only make him more deadly as an all-around offensive weapon. He’s without a doubt the focal point of this team on both ends of the floor, and as he goes, they will go. But he’s not alone. Fellow senior guard (9.1, 37.1 3P%) is the team’s top 3-point shooting threat and will pair with Winkel to give the Jags a pair of reliable playmakers in the backcourt. Chase Schutty (5.0, 6.8 rebounds) is a physical presence in the paint who rebounds well on both ends of the floor, and Connor Welch (2.5) saw a fair amount of playing time last season. Centennial was really good on the defensive end last year, and that should continue. With a strong defense and a dominant guard, they’ll be tough to beat.
6.) North Scott (17-6, 67.9% of scoring returning)
The Lancers put together an impressive 17-win season in their first year under Dave McLaughlin, with four of their six losses coming by single digits. They bring back the top four scorers from that group, including a trio of double-figure scorers in seniors(14.5, 8.0 rebounds), (12.4), and (11.9). Phillips is a dynamic two-way player, a long and athletic wing who can impact the game on both ends of the floor with his size and athleticism. He had a strong summer with the Barnstormers and will look to take the next step in his development this season. Gerardy is a tough, physical lead guard who really gets after it defensively and is a high-level facilitator, while Reid is a knockdown shooter with good size and great length. Junior guard Payton Watkins (8.6, 40.9 3P%) provides some additional perimeter scoring punch and shooting, and senior Colin Albrecht (2.5) saw significant time last season and will provide some additional experience and another body off the bench. This group will be bolstered by the addition of a pair of transfers from Davenport Central – and . Readus averaged nearly 19 points a game and is an athletic, quick guard who can create his own shot and break down a defense to facilitate for his teammates, while Gott is a big, bouncy 6-8 big man who can protect the rim (2.6 blocks a game) and score efficiently around the bucket. With a ton of experience back from a successful team, and two key additions via transfer, the Lancers will contend with PV, Bettendorf, and 3A Assumption atop a rejuvenated MAC.
7.) Norwalk (State qualifier, 20-4, 57.9% of scoring returning)
Led by recent Northern Iowa commit(18.6, 4.9 assists), the Warriors qualified for the 4A state tournament for the first time last season and gave Valley a really good effort in the quarterfinals before the Tigers’ athleticism eventually took over. Norwalk’s play in the postseason alleviated some concerns over how well the Little Hawkeye Conference, a predominantly 3A league, would prepare them for 4A postseason play. The answer was clear, the LHC is one of the best leagues in the state, regardless of class. Born is a fantastic piece to build around, a versatile and efficient three-level scorer who posted 51-40-84 shooting splits and was fantastic as a playmaker. They lose two starters and major pieces in Braeden Carlson and Jack Brown, who combined to average over 23 points a game, but bring back (9.8), (4.0), and Grady Sigrist (2.2), each who saw significant playing time last season and will fill in roles around Born. Look for Timothy Koerselman, a 6-2 wing who can stretch the floor, to enter the rotation this season, and three freshmen could potentially enter the rotation in Audric Pelzer, Logan Atherton, and Tillman Papcun. If they don’t play a role this year, they are names to know moving forward. With Born headlining and some good weapons around him who complement his game, Norwalk will be a factor again this season.
8.) Johnston (11-12, 55.0% of scoring returning)
The Dragons will be playing for an elite defensive coach following the hire of Courtney Henderson, who routinely had Hoover playing some of the toughest defense in the state. With a bevy of skilled and lengthy athletes at his disposal, Henderson should be salivating at what this team should be able to do on that end of the floor, and it will make the Dragons an extremely interesting team to monitor this season. Junior wing(11.3, 5.6 rebounds) led the team in scoring and rebounding last season. He’s a long, athletic wing who can score from all three levels and defend multiple positions. Taylen Proctor (9.2) and (7.5) are also really athletic pieces on the perimeter who get after it on the defensive end and put constant pressure on opposing teams with their ability to get to the rim. We’re unsure if (3.3, 3.8 rebounds) will be out for basketball this winter, but if the Minnesota football commit does play, he gives them some size, physicality, and athleticism in the paint. Look for increased production out of junior forward (1.7) as well. Loney is big, listed at 6-9 last season, and is a mobile forward who is raw but talented. In addition to those returnees, there is a chance for freshman Darren Grandon to play a role for this group off the bench. The Dragons are also getting two huge additions to the roster in the form of transfers from and , coming to Johnston from Des Moines Lincoln and Marshalltown, respectively. Cavil is one of the top scoring guards in the state, a dynamic three-level scoring threat who put up 21.1 points and 6.3 assists a game as a junior for the Railsplitters. He has the ball on a string and can create plays at a high clip. Huston is another bouncy, athletic combo forward who can score around the rim and is a terror in transition, which should fit in perfectly with this group that will be among the most athletic teams in the state. He put up 14.4 points and 8.3 rebounds a game as a junior for the Bobcats. If it was just the returnees for Johnston, this group would have still been a group to keep an eye on with the addition of Henderson on the sidelines. With Cavil and Huston joining, they could be dangerous.
9.) Cedar Falls (16-6, 60.6% of scoring returning)
The Tigers lost leading scorer Dallas Bear to graduation, but bring back the next three and have a sophomore coming up who is making a lot of noise already. The key returnees are junior point guard(13.1, 42.4 3P%) and seniors (12.6, 2.6 blocks), (5.7), and (3.1), while the aforementioned sophomore is (1.3), who saw limited varsity action last season, but had a tremendous summer with the Barnstormers and has picked up offers from Bryant and Nebraska in recent weeks. Galvin is an elite shooter both off the dribble and the catch, and is a player who is capable of having explosive scoring games for the Tigers. He’s a quick guard who creates space with his ball-handling and footwork, and with his quick release, he gets his shot off whenever he wants. Courbat is a bouncy forward who can dominate games as a defender with his ability to protect the rim or switch onto smaller players. He has really improved his offensive game in the last year as well, turning himself into a legitimate weapon on that end of the floor. Peters and Heth are quality role players, with Peters providing size in the paint and Heth providing some shooting and secondary ball-handling and playmaking. Gerdes is the player expected to take a major leap for this group, and if he does, this #9 ranking may be about a half-dozen spots too low. A skilled 6-8 combo forward who can score inside and out, he has a good feel for the game and is a tremendously gifted prospect who can do a bit of everything. There has been no shortage of talent on this roster for the last decade, qualifying for six state tournaments in the last nine years, and this group will have a chance to make it seven out of 10.
10.) Bettendorf (15-7, 62.7% of scoring returning)
The Bulldogs were pretty good after the holiday break last season, going into the hiatus with a 4-3 record, then going 11-4 after the break, a stretch that included an impressive win over Pleasant Valley. As they usually are, they were strong on the defensive end, allowing 52.1 points a game, good for 9th in the class in scoring defense. They’re led by star wing(19.9, 10.3 rebounds), a dynamic three-level scorer and playmaker who is currently ranked as the top player in the senior class. He had a good summer with the Barnstormers and continues to improve as a two-way player. Fellow senior big man (9.2, 6.8 rebounds) is a physical force in the paint and the anchor of this team defensively. He’s strong, physical, and moves his feet well. He’s also really good on the glass on both ends of the floor. The other key returnee for this group is junior Ben Kerkoff (4.3), a 6-4 wing with length who can really shoot it. Look for forward to play a role for this group, giving them some additional size in the paint as well as some ability to step out and stretch the floor. And are we sensing a theme here? The ‘Dogs will add a pair of players to the rotation via transfer – from Davenport North and from Davenport West. Coney averaged nearly 18 points a game for the Wildcats last season and will give the Bulldogs an additional scorer on the wing and some athleticism on the defensive end. Shadrick saw inconsistent minutes at West last season but is a skilled wing who can really pass it and put the ball on the floor to get to the bucket. The top of the MAC should be really strong this season for the first time in several years, and Bettendorf will factor into the league race.
Ten more to watch
Ames (17-8, 56.2% of scoring returning)
Ames games last season weren’t always pretty, but the Little Cyclones did what they usually do – play excellent defense, score just enough, and win a ton of games. They ranked second in the class in scoring defense, allowing just 45.4 points a game, and reached the state tournament again after dominant substate wins over Ankeny and Linn-Mar. They lose their most important defensive weapon, Lucas Lueth, to graduation, and also lose forward Frank Keller, but four of the top six from last year’s team return, so they should be pretty good again. Senior guard(14.4, 39.5 3P%) is the headliner of the group, a knockdown shooter with good size and length on the perimeter. (9.8, 2.4 assists) is a tough, quick guard who plays excellent on-ball defense and gets his teammates involved, and (3.6) was a solid contributor as a freshman and should step into a bigger role as a sophomore. Look for sophomore center to step into a rim protecting role for the Cyclones, providing a lot of size and length in the paint. Vance Downs is one of the best coaches in the state, and he’s going to have this group playing excellent defense and scrapping together just enough offense to win a ton of games again.
Ankeny (9-15, 71.5% of scoring returning)
Last season was up-and-down for the Hawks, posting quality wins over teams like Ames, Waukee, and Dallas Center-Grimes, but the gauntlet that was the CIML got the best of them more often than not, and they stumbled to a 9-15 record. That experience should benefit them this season, with their top two scorers returning, and four of their top six back. They’re led by the senior backcourt of(15.0, 42.0 3P%) and (14.3, 6.3 rebounds), a pair that complements each other well. Johnson is a quick guard who relies on his speed, ball-handling, and footwork to create space to get his shot off, while Aguirre is a power wing who uses his strength to get to his spots and to the bucket. (5.5, 4.5 rebounds) and (4.0, 4.5 rebounds) were both solid role players last season and will step into bigger roles, and expect to see sophomore wing play a significant role this season. He was really good when we saw the Hawks play at Winterset in June, a three-level scorer who can really shoot it and play without the ball in his hands. With Johnson and the Aguirre brothers providing the scoring punch, this group should be improved.
Council Bluffs Lincoln (15-7, 56.4% of scoring returning)
Coach Jason Isaacson has built a pretty strong program in Council Bluffs, averaging 15.7 wins a year over the last nine seasons. They’ve become a strong contender alongside Sioux City East in the MRC and should give the Black Raiders some trouble again this season. The Lynx are led by senior wing(13.8), a versatile scorer with good size at 6-3. He’s able to get to the rim, using his strength to finish through contact, and he’s a good enough shooter that it needs to be respected. While Arnold is certainly a very important piece, it will be a pair of juniors, (10.1, 9.1 rebounds) and (8.6), who will determine just how successful this team will be. Bracker is a legitimate stretch-forward who dominates the glass on both ends of the floor and knocked down 39% of his 3-point attempts last season, while Higgins is an athletic, slashing wing who can score from all three levels. If they’re able to take their games up another notch, this could be the team to beat in western Iowa. Look for sophomore point guard (0.8, 1.6 assists) to become a key contributor this season as well, giving them a ball-handler and playmaker in the backcourt.
Dallas Center-Grimes (14-10, 74.0% of scoring returning)
The Mustangs acquitted themselves well in their initial foray into Class 4A, reaching the substate championship and giving Waukee a good game, falling a game short of the state tournament. Leading scorer Hudson Ehlert graduated, but a pair of double-figure scorers return and five of the top six overall are back. Guard(11.6, 44.7 3P%) and forward (11.6, 8.2 rebounds) are the top returnees, while fellow seniors (6.6) and (6.0), and junior (7.1) are the other key returnees. Howard is an elite shooter, a high-level off-ball option who moves really well without the ball in his hands and has a quick release off the catch, while Cahill is a versatile and athletic rim-runner who protects the paint, controls the glass, and finishes above the rim with authority. Green is a better shooter than his percentages showed last season (31.0 3P%), and Jones is a strong two-way player on the wing who led the team in assists and is a good team defender. Perrin (3.3 assists) will have the ball in his hands a lot after posting a 3.08 assist-to-turnover ratio as a sophomore. This group gained a lot of valuable experience last season and will be a real threat to break through and reach the state tournament this season for the first time in 4A.
Liberty (8-14, 50.2% of scoring returning)
The Lightning lose the best player in the school’s young history, Da’Shon Fisher, to graduation, as well as another double-figure scorer in Luke Ramsey, but they bring back a trio of players coming off of excellent summers who will lead this group. Iowa Mavs , and all three appear to be ready to take another step this winter. Hughes is one of the best shooters in the state, an off-ball guard with a lightning-quick release and unlimited range. Kampman is a fantastic rim protector and rim-runner who is rapidly improving on both ends of the floor, and Webb is a long, lanky 6-7 wing who shot it really well all summer. He’ll provide some versatility on both ends of the floor. Throw in junior guard (4.5), and other returnees with experience like Jailyn Buchanan (3.9), (2.9), and Cael Schramm (2.7), and coach Ryan Kelly has some pieces to work with.(11.5, 41.3 3P%) and (7.1, 2.2 blocks) were both great for the Barnstormers, and (3.5) had a sensational summer with the
Linn-Mar (10-14, 66.9% of scoring returning)
A young Linn-Mar team experienced the typical ups-and-downs of a young team last season, posting good wins over Bettendorf, Iowa City West, and Indianola (substate semifinal), but they largely struggled to contend against the better teams on the schedule, with only five of their 14 losses coming by single digits. But buoyed by a strong junior class, the Lions should be much more competitive this season. Martin Brothers , showing more physicality and a meanness that will make him a dominant all-around scorer. (8.3, 38.6 3P%) is a knockdown shooter who moves really well without the ball in his hands, and guard (3.9) figures to play a much larger role this season. He’s a quick point guard who sees the floor really well, gets his teammates involved, and can shoot it from deep. Alongside those three juniors, seniors (5.1) and Matthew Darbouze (1.8) will provide some senior leadership. Havlik is a solid all-around guard who can play with or without the ball, while Darbouze is an athletic 6-4 forward who can rebound on both ends and score around the bucket. While they’re probably still a year away from their peak, this group should be much more competitive this season in the MVC and if they get a good draw, they could be a threat to make the trip to Des Moines.(19.5, 7.3 rebounds, 1.9 blocks) is one of the best two-way players in the state. He’s a 6-8 stretch-4 who can really shoot it (41.6 3P%), protect the rim, and score around the bucket. He was fantastic this summer with
Roosevelt (14-10, 26.7% of scoring returning)
If you just look at what Roosevelt has coming back, this may jump out as an interesting choice to include here. But when you factor in all of the incoming transfers, this has the makings of one of the most interesting teams in the class to see how it all comes together. Among returnees, the notables are seniors(5.3) and Brayden Page (3.1) and juniors (5.1) and (3.3). Collins is a hyper-athletic wing with good length, while Page, Taylor, and Davison are all capable ball-handlers and playmakers who can create looks for themselves and their teammates. Incoming freshman Charlie King could also make an impact early on as a versatile combo forward who can score inside and out. But the real interesting part of this group will be the six transfers coming from other Des Moines schools: , , and from Des Moines East; and from Lincoln; and from Hoover. Wright led East in scoring (14.0) and rebounding (9.7) last season, while Campbell (11.4) and Patton (7.3) are a pair of athletic guards who can create for themselves and others. Bell (8.4, 7.1 rebounds) is another athletic rebounder and rim protector, while Gai is another slasher who can get to the bucket. Harvey-Bell is a raw, but athletic and mobile big who rebounds and protects the paint. There are a lot of similar players on this roster, and it will be interesting to see how all the pieces fit together.
Sioux City East (21-3, 30.3% of scoring returning)
The Black Raiders lost a ton of production off of last year’s team, but we know that Ras Vanderloo is always going to have a successful group in Sioux City. This program has averaged 19.7 wins during the QuikStats/Bound era (dating back 17 years), with no losing seasons during that stretch, so why would we expect that run to end now? Leading scorer(14.5) returns to lead the charge. A recent Morningside commit, Grant is an athletic combo guard who can play with or without the ball in his hands, and he looks like he’s primed to have a big senior year. AJ Flemister (3.7, 41.2 3P%) is the only other returnee who saw much playing time last season. He’s a sharpshooting off-ball guard who can really shoot it, and he should provide some floor spacing for East. The reason that East will be dangerous, though, lies in a quartet of relatively unknown commodities – junior Manasse Kasongo, sophomores and , and freshman Fami Yusuf. Kasongo is a bouncy 6-7 forward who can protect the rim and finish above it, while the Yusuf brothers are all long, athletic wings who can do a little bit of everything on the floor. They are all fairly raw, but loaded with athleticism and talent, and if they start to put it together, East will be loaded with perimeter talent.
Waukee (State semifinalist, 23-3, 26.5% of scoring returning)
The Warriors were the #1 team in the state for a significant chunk of the season last year behind the strength of Omaha Biliew and a number of skilled seniors who have now moved on to college. The top three, and four of the top five, scorers graduated, but while the Warriors will lack experience, there is still plenty of talent in this school. Kingdom Hoops and should be ready to step into a bigger role, and sophomore big man is one of the most talented sophomores in the state and should step into a huge role as well as a rim protector and interior scorer and rebounder. This group may take some lumps early on, but there is still a good amount of size, athleticism, and talent here, and they’ll be a threat by the end of the season.(8.6, 4.0 assists) is the lone returning starter. He’s a skilled wing at 6-3 who can score from all three levels, but he was most impressive last year in his improvement as a playmaker. He should have the ball in his hands a ton this winter. (3.3), (2.7), and (2.4) also return on the perimeter. They were role players who saw inconsistent playing time last season, but they are all athletic wings who can impact the game on the defensive end, get to the rim, and knock down shots. Senior combo forward (2.0) is another player who saw inconsistent time, but has talent and great size. He had a strong summer with
Waukee Northwest (State runner-up, 23-3, 28.5% of scoring returning)
The Wolves were an elite offensive team last season, led by Pryce Sandfort and Cade Kelderman, who are now at Iowa (Sandfort) and Iowa State (Kelderman, walk-on). They may not be quite as explosive this season, but they bring back a pair of fantastic shooters in Martin Brothers and are extremely talented. They will experience ups-and-downs playing their first major varsity minutes, but, like Waukee, this group still has enough talent to make some noise.(11.1, 47.9 3P%) and (5.1, 48.2 3P%). They got wide-open looks playing alongside the aforementioned stars last season, but they should continue to shoot it at a high clip. Tigges was exceptional at the state tournament in March and will step into a primary role this season. (2.3) is a long, lanky wing with some upside, and seniors Sandro Bilic (1.1) and (1.0) should step into bigger roles this season as well. The key potential difference-makers from this group will be a pair of skilled sophomores – forward and wing . Both had great summers with