From the recruiting trail: The latest on top basketball targets for Iowa State, Iowa
As the calendar turns to May, college basketball recruiting now leaves its first offseason evaluation phase and enters a "quiet period" — which won't actually be very quiet.
Prospects will start to trim their choices. Schools will work to secure on-campus visits. Priorities will become clearer. Big boards will adjust. Some of the country's best players will make their college decisions.
Here's the latest on the top Iowa and Iowa State 2019 college basketball prospects, based on what we are hearing from recruiting contacts and other industry sources:
D.J. Carton, PG, Bettendorf: Iowa and Iowa State are squarely in this race, along with Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan. Marquette and Wisconsin are also in the picture, but the other five schools are the major players right now. Carton told me he's already spoken with Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan about setting up summer visits. He also said he wants to visit Iowa City and Ames this summer. His high school coach told me Marquette wants to set up a visit, too. Carton is trimming his list down these next couple weeks, and he could decide as early as late summer.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, PF, Center Grove (Indiana): Indiana has become the presumed favorite for Jackson-Davis, a four-star power forward Iowa's been after for a long time. Archie Miller and the Hoosiers have done great work in their state this year, and the commitment of 2018 blue-chip Romeo Langford could start a domino effect for the state's other premier players. Jackson-Davis' commitment might not be too far away.
No. 2 on our Iowa big board
Keion Brooks, SF, North Side (Indiana): Indiana is also thought to be emerging as a favorite for the five-star small forward Brooks, in no small part thanks to his strong relationship with Jackson-Davis; the two are teammates on Indy Heat. With Langford's commitment, Brooks now becomes Miller's biggest "must-have" in the state. The Hawkeyes secured in-home visits with Brooks and Jackson-Davis earlier this month. But, at this point, it sounds like they're underdogs.
No. 3 on our Iowa big board
E.J. Liddell, PF, Belleville West (Illinois): Iowa State still wants Liddell, the Mr. Basketball of Illinois. And it wants to remain involved in his recruitment. But the St. Louis-area product is going to be a five-star, top-25 forward before too long. He's tacked on offers from Louisville, Texas A&M, UConn and Georgetown this offseason. This recruitment for Iowa State boils down to a simple question: Will the Cyclones be able to hold on and stick in the picture as Liddell takes off? Iowa is still interested, and nearby schools Illinois and Missouri are entrenched here too.
No. 1 on our Iowa State big board; No. 8 on our Iowa big board
Mario McKinney, PG/SG, Vashon (Missouri): Missouri is Iowa State's biggest competition for McKinney, a four-star combo guard out of St. Louis. Iowa State had an in-home visit with him in April. But the Tigers appear to have prioritized McKinney over Carton, as they've faded away from the Bettendorf star's recruitment. McKinney is close with Liddell, whom he plays with on Brad Beal Elite. The two aren't necessarily a combo deal. But recruiting both only helps.
No. 2 on our Iowa State big board
Tyrell Terry, PG, DeLaSalle (Minnesota): This recruitment is just starting to heat up, but it's sounding like Minnesota and Iowa are two major players. The Gophers were a dream offer for Terry, a rising point guard out of Minneapolis. But he's also been vocal about how it mattered that Iowa was his first offer. Iowa State has kept its eye on Terry this month, but it hasn't extended an offer yet. Carton is Iowa's No. 1 point guard option. Terry is not far behind.
No. 5 on our Iowa big board
Kira Lewis, PG, Hazel Green (Alabama): Iowa State likes Lewis a lot. It secured an in-home visit with Lewis this month, and his stock is surging. But Alabama is all over the four-star point guard right now and is the presumed favorite. We'll see how Lewis' recruitment trends the rest of this offseason, and if the Cyclones think it's worth continued resources.
No. 4 on our Iowa State big board
Tyreke Locure, PG, Des Moines North: Iowa is in regular contact with the Locure camp and has interest in the talented in-state point guard. If the Hawkeyes miss on Carton and Terry, they'll likely make an offer. Or, if they offer before Carton or Terry commit, that'd suggest Iowa is out of those recruitments. But there are other high-majors and mid-majors looking at Locure, too. Wright State has expressed heavy interest lately. Green Bay watched him last weekend in Atlanta, as did Kansas State. Minnesota, Georgia Tech and South Florida watched him in Dallas. The 2019 class is not deep at point guard, so a prospect like Locure could haul in a few offers late in the process once top prospects are off the board.
No. 9 on our Iowa big board
Dekeyvan "KyKy" Tandy, PG, University Heights Academy (Kentucky): I haven't heard as much on the four-star Tandy. But the Cyclones have had an eye on him for a while — Steve Prohm first watched him when he was a sophomore. Iowa State had an in-home visit with Tandy this month, and he recently told 247Sports that Iowa State, Kansas State, Tennessee and Kansas State are recruiting him the hardest.
No. 7 on our Iowa State big board
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.