Chase Courbat has been considered one of Iowa's top 2021 prospects for the past couple seasons. Des Moines Register
PARKERSBURG, Ia. — It's hard to go under the radar as a 6-foot-8 forward with a strong basketball pedigree and a smooth 3-point stroke.
Yet that's what happens when back-to-back ACL tears keep you off the court for nearly two years.
Meet Jaylon Moses, a sophomore prospect out of Cedar Rapids Xavier. The son of former Hawkeye James Moses, Jaylon was one of this state's most highly regarded 2021 talents entering high school.
Then he tore his right ACL the summer before his freshman year.
Less than five months later, the same ACL tore again.
Meanwhile, Moses' Martin Bros AAU teammate, Cedar Falls forward Chase Courbat, has performed well at camps and has been considered one of Iowa's top 2021 products the past two years.
Now, both players have an important spring and summer ahead.
Moses has the chance to show coaches that, with a clean bill of health, he's still the same high-level prospect he was before his injuries. And Courbat has the chance to continue his rise up Midwest recruiting boards.
In 16 games this season, his first since the injuries, Moses averaged 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 36.4 percent from 3-point territory. During a Martin Bros practice last Saturday, Moses played like a stretch power forward, pairing a knockdown outside stroke with solid fundamentals inside. He didn't quite have the foot speed of a wing.
But it's thought that, if Moses is able to develop better foot speed and lateral quickness, he could play small forward at the next level. Martin Bros boys' program director Hank Huddleson said some schools think he could even play minutes at guard.
That's why Moses is so intriguing: He isn't Iowa's top 2021 prospect right now, but he could have the highest ceiling.
"It’s going to be up to him," Huddleson said. "With the time frame that he was out, I’ve got to think that’s the biggest maturation process there is. It wasn’t like he had already started playing high school. Going from eighth grade to varsity and (being) asked to be a big cog is a big jump for anybody."
Of all the state of Iowa's 2021 prospects, Jaylon Moses could have the highest ceiling. Des Moines Register
Huddleson said schools are eager to see how Moses bounces back from the time off. Iowa, Iowa State, Drake, Northern Iowa, Creighton and Portland are among the schools showing interest. Moses has also visited UCLA and Wisconsin.
Moses said he's at about 75 percent. Physically, he feels great, but he's still getting his confidence and comfort back to their pre-injury levels.
"I think once I get back on the court and get going through a couple games and I start to loosen up and get back to my old self," Moses said, "I think people will start to be watching more and I’ll become a little bit more known."
Courbat averaged 5.9 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 66 percent for a senior-heavy Tigers squad this year.
In camps and AAU settings, the 6-9 Courbat has been able to showcase his athleticism. His rim-running and lateral quickness especially stand out. He isn't a liability defending ball screens, which can be a problem for even some of the country's best post players.
Courbat prides himself on being able to guard all five positions in high school, and he projects as a guy who could switch and guard multiple positions on defense in college.
"I love the grit of defense," he said. "It’s the best part of the game, I think. Just being able to get down and guard people, it’s really fun."
On offense, Courbat does most of his damage down low. He does have building blocks for a strong mid-range and long-range game, though.
"(Colleges) see him as an athletic 5 that can defend a 5," Huddleson said, "but he shoots it well enough — or will, by the time he gets to college — that you can use him as a face-up or a pick-and-pop 4."
Courbat has visited Iowa, Wisconsin, Creighton and UNI, and he also has interest from Drake, Milwaukee and LSU. Huddleson said coaches want to see Courbat put up the same types of performances that he's had at regional camps.
After discussing his Martin Bros prospects, Huddleson recalled that when Courbat was in sixth grade, some folks didn't think he'd amount to much as a basketball player.
He paused for a while.
Then, he said: "A lot of people were wrong."
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.