The next Joe Wieskamp? Iowa target Tyler Nickel drawing comparisons to NBA-bound Hawkeye

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. — To be as good a prospect as Tyler Nickel, a four-star wing out of Virginia, you've got to have more than talent. And Nickel definitely does.

The 6-foot-8, 210-pound small forward who's got the size and skill to be a mismatch nightmare is a student of the game, too. Nickel watches players at the next level. He studies their film online and breaks down their game, seeing what he can absorb and apply to his skill set.

One of those players he studies? Joe Wieskamp, Iowa's NBA-bound wing.

The Hawkeyes have been recruiting Nickel as a top priority for nearly a year now, and he told Hawk Central that Fran McCaffery and assistant coach Sherman Dillard have compared him to Wieskamp, among other former Hawkeye small forwards. Others outside Iowa's program have made the comparison, too.

Tyler Nickel is one of Iowa's top 2022 recruiting targets.

Nickel likes the comparison. And he agrees. He thinks he could thrive in Iowa's system the same way Wieskamp did in Iowa City, most recently averaging 14.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 46.2% last season. His style-of-play fit at Iowa is a central reason Nickel is considering the Hawkeyes alongside North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia Tech, Butler, LSU and West Virginia.

"I've been watching Joe Wieskamp breakdowns on film. He's just effective and efficient with what he does. I watch that a lot," Nickel told Hawk Central after his AAU team, Team Loaded Virginia, won its first game Saturday at the adidas 3SSB Boys' Championship. "They just say I fit what they do to a T. They say that I could go there and play how I play and thrive."

Iowa offered Nickel last June, when he was first emerging as a national-level talent. Now, Nickel is seen as one of the country's most intriguing wing prospects, thanks to his pairing of size and skill. The 247Sports Composite ranks him No. 79 in the 2022 class right now, but it's thought he'll rise in the rankings after the AAU season. Even though he's got a long list of high-major suitors, he's still generating interest. Duke, for example, has been monitoring him this month.

But the Hawkeyes are squarely in the mix. As the Register reported over the weekend, Nickel has set a Sept. 17-19 official visit to Iowa. He also has a September official visit to Virginia Tech on his schedule.

Tyler Nickel of Team Loaded has scheduled a Sept. 17-19 official visit to Iowa

"They've been showing me constant love for the entire time since they offered," Nickel said of Iowa. "(Iowa's early offer) definitely shows loyalty because they've been consistent for that long. But at the same time, it's not really about the amount of time. It's more about the quality of the time and how seriously they prioritize you."

Nickel didn't take any official visits in the summer, so he will very likely take more officials beyond Iowa and Virginia Tech this fall.

"Obviously I want to go into a competitive environment to fight for a national championship," Nickel said. "But, at the same time, I want to go somewhere that will be able to develop me to be the best pro possible and hopefully best NBA player possible. Wherever that is."

The Hawkeyes hope that's Iowa City.

Matthew Bain is the deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register. He still covers some recruiting, too. Contact him at mbain@dmreg.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.