Five-star 2020 power forward Xavier Foster showed off strength inside during the first day of April's live period in Kansas City. Matthew Bain, email@example.com
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Okun Fieldhouse was mostly quiet Friday at 5:30 p.m., roughly 30 minutes until the RecruitLook Hoops Session II Kansas City Showcase.
Oskaloosa five-star power forward Xavier Foster, one of the event's main attractions, and his Pure Prep Academy teammates were already there, getting up some shots.
Then, in walked Fran McCaffery.
Iowa's head coach was early. In fact, he was the first college coach in the building. He also returned later that night for Foster's second game. He was the only head coach there for both games.
Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm was also courtside at Foster's second game. That time, it was his turn to be way early to watch his top target. I got to the gym with 10 minutes left until tip-off and Prohm was already there, chatting up other coaches.
So, Iowa State and Iowa's head men spent their first day of this year's first evaluation period in Kansas City. With only two evaluation periods now, time is a delicate resource. It's significant both coaches made sure they were in Foster's city on Day 1.
Duke assistant coach Nate James was also there for both games, as was USC assistant Chris Capko. Michigan assistant coach Luke Yaklich was present for the first game.
In between watching Foster, McCaffery headed over to the Under Armour Association event to see five-star combo guard Jalen Suggs playing with Grassroots Sizzle. That team also features 2021 post Chet Holmgren and 2022 guard/wing Prince Aligbe, who both hold Iowa offers.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino were also there, as were coaches from Michigan State, Arizona State, Marquette, Kansas, Florida, Cal and Xavier, among others.
I'm not sure where Prohm was before Foster's second game, but I am told he was in Kansas City all day. That likely means he was at Under Armour, which fields a handful of Cyclone 2020 targets in Suggs, three-star point guard Ty Berry and four-star shooting guard Matthew Murrell.
New blue blood in the picture for Foster
North Carolina has reached out to Foster, he and his father told the Register.
An assistant coach contacted the 7-footer on Twitter and asked what his team's schedule was this weekend in Kansas City.
That means Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and now UNC have shown interest in Foster. Kansas offered last July, although the program hasn't been as involved as his other offers.
The blue-blood that was involved on Friday was Duke. As mentioned earlier, a Blue Devils assistant coach was courtside for both of Foster's games. If an assistant coach spends two-thirds of the first evaluation period's first day on one player, there's got to be some legitimate interest there.
Foster dominated the first game, an overtime win against the Southwest Illinois Jets. There weren't full game stats available, but I counted at least 10 blocks — most of which came in front of the college coaches. Foster also was more assertive than I've seen him down low, grabbing offensive rebounds, finishing through contact, and using strong dribble moves to set up dunks. It was quite a performance.
In the second game, Foster showed off more of his shooting skills. He drained a corner 3-pointer and a few pretty mid-range jumpers, all while owning the glass and protecting the rim at a high level.
A talented Minnesota trio
I've seen Suggs a couple of times before and he never fails to impress. You don't need me lauding the talent of a kid who's a consensus five-star, top-10 prospect.
But I will say that his defense stood out the most on Friday. His quick hands interrupted an opponent's crossover multiple times. He dove on the floor for loose balls. He routinely stayed in front of agile guards because he's so quick laterally.
Holmgren can just about reach from Kansas City, Missouri, to Kansas City, Kansas. The kid's length is insane and he's got a promising skill set to pair with it. He is skinny. Right now, his elbows could impale a player. But he works hard around the basket and plays stronger than he looks. He'll be scary when he adds some bulk. Minnesota, Purdue and Georgia are among his other offers.
The most impressive prospect I saw all day, though, was Aligbe.
If I didn’t know who the Minneapolis product was and someone told me he's a college freshman, I’d believe it. He’s physically that well-built and mature. Plus, he has promising skills and athleticism in a 6-6 frame. It's early, but I wouldn't rule out him playing any spot on the perimeter in college. He has “Next Big Thing” material.
Florida, Maryland, Illinois and Minnesota are among Aligbe's other offers.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.