These Iowa 2018 basketball prospects could become Division-I recruits

Matthew Bain
The Des Moines Register

Iowa's top three 2018 basketball prospects are already committed entering their senior years. Muscatine's Joe Wieskamp is off to Iowa. Cedar Falls' A.J. Green picked Northern Iowa. And Valley's Blake Brinkmeyer will play for Indiana State.

This is a deep class, though, with multiple Division I recruits. There are plenty of uncommitted seniors who could find themselves in a D-I program with a big year, too.

So, ahead of next week's NCAA early signing period, let's take a look at that latter group.

Waukee junior forward Nathan Johnson (25) shoots the jumper as the Ankeny Hawks battle the Waukee Warriors in a Class 4A Substate Boys Basketball Semi-Final game in the Waukee gymnasium.  Ankeny won 75 to 64 to advance to the next round and will play North High.

Nathan Johnson, Waukee, SF/SG

Height/weight: 6-foot-7/195 pounds

2016-17 stats: 12.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 51.4 percent shooting, 39.7 percent 3-pointers

Recruiting landscape: Air Force offered two summers ago, but it filled all its 2018 spots. We'll see if any Falcons transfer or if any of their 2018 guys decommit. Other Division Is, such as UTEP, Long Beach State, Texas State and Florida Gulf Coast, have expressed interest. Johnson's future simply depends on if a D-I offers, and if it's the right fit. Any Division II school would be thrilled to get him.

Scouting report: Probably the state of Iowa's most well-rounded uncommitted 2018 prospect, Johnson has low-major-to-mid-major D-I skills and athleticism. He plays all over for Waukee. He posts up. He makes plays for his teammates. He sits in the corners for catch-and-shoot 3s. Then, on defense, he can switch 1-5 against high school competition. He's too quick for bigs, and he's too big and long for opposing guards.

Dowling Catholic’s Sam Ingoli (4) drives past Mason City's Dylan Miller in Friday’s second quarter in West Des Moines. Ingoli had 17 points to lead the Maroons to a 64-51 victory.

Sam Ingoli, Dowling Catholic, PG

Height/weight: 6-5/205

2016/17 stats: 14.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 57.7 percent shooting, 44.1 percent 3-pointers

Recruiting landscape: Ingoli has a North Dakota offer, and Drake has seen him. Nebraska-Omaha has also shown interest. Iowa State, Kansas State and Princeton all expressed interest in the past. But Ingoli might wind up pursuing football at the D-I level, whether that's at Iowa or Iowa State.

Scouting report: Ingoli's got next-level athleticism on both the basketball court and gridiron. He led Dowling in scoring, assists and rebounds last year. His assists might be the most impressive, though. He doesn't panic when bodies swarm to him inside; he keeps eyes everywhere and often drops off the types of passes you only see in the college game. The threat of his explosive first step freezes defenders on the perimeter, so he often creates open 3s for himself.

Garrett Sturtz of Newton drives the hoop during the 4A quarter finals against Iowa City West Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

Garrett Sturtz, Newton, G

Height/weight: 6-3/160

2016-17 stats: 19.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 49.1 percent shooting, 37.5 percent 3-pointers

Recruiting landscape: D-Is Drake and Albany are paying attention and waiting to see how Sturtz's senior season goes. D-IIs Northwest Missouri State and Minnesota State-Mankato are watching, too.

Scouting report: Long, quick and deceptively athletic, Sturtz is one of the most fun players to watch in the state. The biggest knock against him is his weight and strength, which would both improve in a college program. Entering this season, he's in that fringe area between D-I and D-II. But his ability to score will keep the Drakes and Albanys of the world paying attention. 

Ankeny Centennial junior Hunter Strait drives the ball in around Ankeny High senior Blaine Hawkins on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, at Ankeny High School in Ankeny.

Hunter Strait, Ankeny Centennial, PG

Height/weight: 6-2/175

2016-17 stats: 16.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 46.9 percent shooting, 39.6 percent 3-pointers

Recruiting landscape: Army, American, Princeton, Dartmouth and Western Illinois had all shown interest before they received other point guard commitments. Right now, Strait is looking at D-II offers from Minnesota State-Mankato, Wayne State, St. Cloud State and Maryville.

Scouting report: Strait is a plus ball-handler and passer, and he's very good at utilizing on-ball screens at the top of the key. But his biggest selling point is his jump shot. He's got college 3-point range and one of the prettiest, quickest releases you'll see at the high school level. 

Carlisle junior Tommy Donovan tries to defend against Norwalk junior Luke Vaske. Norwalk beat Carlisle 73-62 in a non-conference game in Carlisle on Jan. 17.

Luke Vaske, Norwalk, PG

Height/weight: 6 feet/160

2016-17 stats: 20.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 46 percent shooting, 41.6 percent 3-pointers

Recruiting landscape: Vaske's recruiting is a bit all over the place, but not in a bad way. He's visited Northeastern in Boston. Cornell coaches have told them they're interested and that they need to see his senior year before deciding anything. D-II Sioux Falls has expressed interest, and Iowa State has talked to him for a while about becoming a preferred walk-on.

Scouting report: Vaske is a bulldog with a next-level long-range shot. His size will always be a question, but he's proven the ability to be an elite scorer at the high school level. It's not uncommon for a low-major like Northeastern to take a flyer on a prospect like that.

West High's Seybian Sims pulls in a rebound during the Trojans' game at City High on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017.

Seybian Sims, Iowa City West, PF/SF

Height/weight: 6-7/195

2016-17 stats:  6.2 points, four rebounds, 68.9 percent shooting, 2-for-5 on 3-pointers

Recruiting landscape: D-Is Western Illinois and Nebraska-Omaha are looking at Sims, as are D-II St. Cloud State and a host of other Division III Iowa Conference schools.

Scouting report: Sims had a big offseason. He held his own with college talent in Iowa's Prime Time League. And he surrounded that tournament with some big AAU performances with Iowa Dynasty, plus some work with the Iowa Barnstormers. He showed off sound footwork inside and a knack for the offensive rebound as a junior with West. His wiry frame will work inside for D-IIIs and some D-II programs. But unless he bulks up a good bit, he's a better D-I fit as a small forward. That would require improvements to his outside jump shot. He certainly has the form, but needs repetition. He'll have that opportunity this year.

West High's Hakeem Odunsi shoots a 3-pointer during the Trojans' game against Pleasant Valley on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.

Hakeem Odunsi, Iowa City West, SF/PF

Height/weight: 6-6/210

2016-17 stats: 4.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 45.8 percent shooting, 7-for-17 on 3-pointers

Recruiting landscape: Chicago State is the lone D-I program in the picture right now.

Scouting report: A perimeter player with tree-trunk legs, Odunsi looks the part of a college prospect. He's got point-forward skills and will handle the ball plenty for West this year. He can finish through contact with the best of them and switch 1-4 effectively on defense. His defensive versatility will likely be his recruiting calling card, as he's a bit undersized for a D-I power forward. A consistent outside shot will go a long way to proving he can be a D-I small forward. He'll get his share of opportunities this season.

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 and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.