Hawkeye hoops recruit Joe Wieskamp proves he belongs among nation's elite

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Joe Wieskamp, one of the state’s best basketball prospects in years, isn’t known to take much rest. But by Sunday afternoon, he was ready for a break.

“It’s been two weeks going pretty hard,” Wieskamp said. “I think I’ll take a couple days off.”

Muscatine's Joe Wieskamp shoots over West High's Connor McCaffery during their game at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday. Both are committed to play at Iowa in college.

The 6-foot-6 Iowa commitment in the Class of 2018 was speaking from the Detroit airport, nearly at the end of an international journey that stretched from Italy to New York City to Charlottesville, Va., where he had just delivered an impressive performance at the NBPA Top 100 camp.

Wieskamp was named one of 10 all-stars in the invite-only camp — which included a who’s who of Class of 2018 and 2019 players, plus a handful of international prospects — after averaging 12.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 24.9 minutes a game.

The future Hawkeye shot 61.3 percent (46-for-75) in nine games, converting in a variety of ways — dunks (about eight, he said), pull-up jumpers, driving layups and 3-pointers (he went 9-for-23 from deep).

And, remember, the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year in Iowa isn’t going against Mississippi Athletic Conference competition — which is no slight against Class 4-A basketball here.

“I’d say it’s probably the best camp I’ve ever been to,” Wieskamp said.

Wieskamp’s team, coached by NBA guard Rajon Rondo, won the championship with an undefeated record. Wieskamp scored 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting with five rebounds in 30 minutes in the final game.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster, knowing I can compete at the highest level,” Wieskamp, 17, said. “Doing what I’m doing at the high school level’s great, but … being able to go against the best guys in the country and being able to succeed is definitely motivation for me, knowing that I’m doing the right things.”

There were other Iowa prospects in this camp, too, including four-star Class of 2018 point guard A.J. Green of Cedar Falls and four-star Class of 2019 forward Patrick McCaffery.

Green, who is uncommitted, averaged 7.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 30.5 minutes in his eight games.

McCaffery, the middle son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery and a presumed future Hawkeye, averaged 5.9 points and 1.9 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor (17-for-34) for the week.

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Wieskamp came away from the experience with life lessons, too.

He was especially moved by a speaker named Reggie Shaw, who spent time in jail after killing two people because he was texting while driving.

“It definitely makes you think,” Wieskamp said. “I’ll never text and drive again.”

Before this summer, Wieskamp was already considered a top-50 national recruit in his class by several outlets. His profile certainly hasn’t taken a hit.

He’s in the middle of a whirlwind basketball tour. Before the camp in Virginia, he took part in the Adidas EuroCamp in Italy. Only the top 10 high school players on the Adidas circuit (his Iowa Barnstormers AAU team is affiliated with Adidas) are invited.

“There was pretty much a scout from every NBA team watching us,” Wieskamp said. “It was pretty high-level ball.”

After about 10 days at home, Wieskamp’s summer tour continues with basketball in California, South Carolina, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Houston — and that’s just moving his calendar into early August.

Iowa's coaches, who want him to play the 2 or 3 guard in college, couldn't ask for better college preparation. One of the lessons Wieskamp has grasped during his all-star tour is when to be unselfish (which is more his style) and when to take over.

"I’ve tried to learn to be as efficient as I can," he said, "because you’re not going to get as many looks as you’re used to. You’ve just got to knock down the ones that you get.”

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