Iowa hoops recruit Wieskamp: I'm prepared for the added pressure

Chris Cuellar
Muscatine freshman Joe Wieskamp, right, has committed to the Iowa basketball program.

Joe Wieskamp just finished his freshman year at Muscatine, but he's already plotted his next freshman stop in Iowa City.

The 6-foot-5-inch wing verbally committed to join the Hawkeyes, wrapping up his brief recruitment by accepting the extremely early in-state offer on Tuesday.

"I decided before I went up that I wanted to do it," Wieskamp said. "This allows me to focus on becoming a better player and better person. And I can grow up with the Hawkeyes."

Projected as a shooting guard or small forward by coach Fran McCaffery's staff, Wieskamp was the top-scoring freshman in the state last winter.

He led the Muskies by averaging 18.6 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in Class 4-A.

"The only advice I ever gave him was that when it comes down to it, you need to have a really good gut feeling on where you're going to go," said Muscatine coach Brandon Welsch. "A lot of the things at Iowa met that gut-check.

"It's tough for a kid of any age to decide where you're going to go to college, and there will be a lot of publicity surrounding him for the next three years, but he's handled that well."

The Class of 2018 prospect also picked up offers this spring from Iowa State and Northern Iowa.

A standout with the Iowa Barnstormers AAU program, Wieskamp felt prepared to declare his college allegiance three years before high school graduation.

"Growing up a Hawkeye fan and always dreaming of playing for the Hawks, proximity to home was a big thing for me," Wieskamp said. "I want my family to be able to come up and watch."

The Muskies finished 7-15 last season in the state's largest class, with Wieskamp shooting 47.1 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 78.8 percent from the free throw line.

Mississippi Athletic Conference play may not be the perfect showcase for his smooth skill set, but it should make him more well-rounded.

"Joe's a unique situation for us, but we just try to support him the best we can," Welsch said.

"In college he's probably a 2 or 3, but for us he's got to develop that guard spot but also play in the post for us. There's a good chance we'll be playing with Joe and four guys under 6-foot."

Mason City's Jeff Horner notably committed to the Hawkeyes in April of his freshman year before going on to an all-Big Ten career. Horner remains Iowa's leader in career points for a 4-A player, finishing with 2,194.

Wieskamp scored 409 in his rookie season.

"There's pressure with anything, so you've just got to play and have fun with it," Wieskamp said. "I expect some pressure and know it will come, but I'm prepared for it."

Wieskamp still isn't the youngest commit to Iowa's future roster. McCaffery's son Patrick just finished his eighth-grade year and confirmed to an ESPN audience last November that he was going to play for his father.

The announcement does further enhance the Hawkeyes' in-state presence. Iowa has already received verbal commitments from Dubuque Wahlert's Cordell Pemsl and McCaffery's other son at Iowa City West, Connor.

"I like all the guys that are there now, plus Connor, Patrick and Cordell," Wieskamp said. "They're all great guys, and I look forward to playing with them."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story displayed an incorrect photo of Joe Wieskamp.