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After Norwalk's state quarterfinal win Tuesday, Bowen Born discussed the latest in his recruiting picture. Matthew Bain, Sports writer

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It was a full house Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena for Norwalk's Class 3A quarterfinal.

Full, as in Warriors fans showed out in grand fashion for their team. And full, as in Bowen Born's top suitors sent multiple coaches to watch the lefty point guard.

Drake's Darian DeVries and Matt Woodley, and Northern Iowa's Ben Jacobson and Kyle Green were on hand to see Born. Nebraska-Omaha, which has long been interested in Born but hasn't offered, was also there.

The state's mid-major coaching quartet saw their top in-state 2020 target unleash for 40 points on 16-for-24 shooting, along with five rebounds and four assists in Norwalk's win. I'm not sure what they were thinking as Born picked apart Ballard's defense.

I know what I thought: How in the world does this kid have only two offers?

Born entered state averaging 27.2 points, 3.8 assists and two steals per game. He was shooting 49 percent and 37.1 percent from long range. After playing mostly off the ball as a sophomore, he has come into his own as a floor general this season, and his handle is among the slickest in the state.

Drake and UNI deserve a lot of credit for identifying Born early on and offering. Both staffs have built strong relationships and trust with the family. That matters.

After Norwalk's win, Born told me he plans to extend his recruitment through his AAU season with the Iowa Barnstormers this spring and summer, and then make a decision sometime before his senior year.

I would be surprised if the Bulldogs and Panthers don't get some competition.

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In addition to Drake, UNI and Omaha, Born said he has been talking to Toledo a lot lately, and that North Dakota and South Dakota are entering the picture. Creighton has also been involved since fall. That's the bulk of his low- to mid-major landscape.

But he's developing a high-major landscape, too.

After on-and-off contact this past summer, Born said he's starting to hear a little more from Iowa. Norwalk head coach Chris Larson said Minnesota and Nebraska are also maintaining interest. Born is on Iowa State's radar, too.

"Bigger schools are starting to trickle in," Larson said. "I think he’ll have a big spring."

We'll see if anything develops with the Iowa interest, which is particularly interesting, considering the Hawkeyes' recent history with under-the-radar, in-state point guards.

Well ... one in particular.

Jordan Bohannon didn't receive his Iowa offer until right before his senior year.

Like Born, Bohannon was seen mostly as a mid-major point guard. There's not much difference in the two Iowans' high school production.

Jordan Bohannon

  • Senior: 25.8 points per game (42.8 percent on 3s), 2.5 assists per game
  • Junior: 17.8 ppg (42.3), 4.2 apg
  • Sophomore: 17.6 ppg (37.4), 3.3 apg
  • Freshman: 8 ppg (39.1), 1.3 apg

Bowen Born (entering state tournament)

  • Junior: 27.2 ppg (37.1), 3.8 apg
  • Sophomore: 18.4 ppg (42), 2.1 apg
  • Freshman: 13 ppg (39.1), 2.7 apg

Linn-Mar's QuikStats roster from Bohannon's senior year lists him at 6-1, which is also his listed height on Iowa's roster.

Born is 5-11. In his two games this year against Oskaloosa, which features 6-10 Cole Henry and 7-foot blue-chip Xavier Foster, Born scored 49 points on a combined 15-for-42 shooting.

Arguments against Born's high-major potential usually center on his size — not just his height, but his overall bulk and strength. I've talked with coaches, both mid-major and high-major, who'd have more interest if he was bigger.

But at some point, you've just got to ask yourself: Can the kid play? Could what I see on the court help my team over the next four years? Drake and UNI have answered those questions in the affirmative.

You can be sure several mid-major and high-major coaches will be asking themselves those same questions this spring and summer.

We'll see how they answer.

I'll end this section with this quote from Larson, which pretty well captures the sentiment of folks hoping a high-major enters the mix for Born:

"I think a lot of people have been focusing on what he’s not, instead of what he is. And I think a lot of people are starting to be enlightened on what he is."

News flash: Xavier Foster can hoop

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Marion's student section wasn't exactly creative with the insults it directed toward Foster during Oskaloosa's 51-49 win in Tuesday's 3A quarterfinal.

At one point, a student shouted, "You're ugly, Xavier!"

Then, there was a pause.

That student, who presumably lives in Marion and presumably roots for the local Hawkeyes, probably realized he wants the five-star Foster to commit to Iowa.

Because that same student then shouted: "Go Hawks! Go Iowa!"

Foster wound up with 13 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks in Oskaloosa's win. Folks who have watched him play for the past couple years saw what they're used to.

On offense, Foster showcased his solid 3-point stroke, quickly knocking down three long balls in the first quarter. That kind of range is rare from a 7-footer, and it's one of the many reasons Iowa and Iowa State are working so hard to land him.

While Foster didn't pound it in the paint as much as you might like, he did dominate inside on defense. You could almost hear the tires screech as Marion players skidded to a halt under the basket, not even trying to score around Foster. And the few times those shots were attempted, Foster often swatted them away.

Foster's AAU coach at Pure Prep Academy, BG Regins, told me Arkansas was expected to be in town to watch Foster on Tuesday. Other schools that haven't yet offered will continue to scout Foster and gauge whether they want to enter the mix during AAU ball. Plenty of folks in Iowa and around the country will pay close attention to his recruitment this spring and summer.

For his part, Foster is paying little attention to recruiting right now. He's all-in on winning a state title.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at mbain@dmreg.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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