Five-star 2020 power forward Xavier Foster showed off strength inside during the first day of April's live period in Kansas City. Des Moines Register
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — April's NCAA evaluation period has come and gone.
Now, most coaching staffs will meet this week, discuss who they watched, decide who they want to see or visit in the remaining recruiting period (which ends Thursday), adjust their big boards, perhaps extend some offers and think about how to attack May and June before the next evaluation period in July.
As we enter the next phase of spring recruiting, here's some of the latest buzz from what I heard and saw over the weekend with Iowa State, Iowa, Drake and Northern Iowa.
The Cyclones offered Chicago combo guard D.J. Steward late Sunday night. I had put the four-star, silky-smooth scorer on Iowa State's 2020 big board last week because it felt like an offer would come soon. Assistant coach Daniyal Robinson, Iowa State's Chicago guy, had been eyeing Steward for a while, and the nimble, 6-foot-3 guard just makes sense in Steve Prohm's offense. This is a good offer.
High-level targets Chris Moore and Matthew Murrell, both from the Memphis area, live about 10 minutes apart and are close. That can only help the Cyclones with both.
Murrell will be a top-tier SEC target, with Auburn, Alabama and Vanderbilt all offering him in the past week. Memphis will go after him hard. He told me he plans to visit Florida in June, too. But Iowa State has an in: Assistant coach William Small, Murrell's primary recruiter, is close friends with Faragi Phillips, Murrell's high school coach.
Iowa State is a school to watch for Kansas point guard Ty Berry. Iowa State, Iowa and Missouri had the most consistent presence at his games, from what I could tell.
You never know what will happen when a target switches schools. But there's hope among Iowa State's staff that four-star combo guard Jayden Stone moving from Alabama to Wichita's Sunrise Christian for his senior year could help their recruitment, not hurt it. Simply put: He's now closer to Ames.
Iowa State remains in contention for five-star combo guard Jalen Suggs. Based on my conversation with him, the football team intrigues him. One of his best friends, safety Craig McDonald, recently committed to Iowa State. Suggs is still considering playing both sports in college, and he said Cyclones coaches told him they'd let him play football, too. (Most high-majors seriously pursuing Suggs are saying the same thing.)
It sounds like these 2020 prospects have impressed the Cyclones and could move up their board: Bryce Thompson, four-star combo guard (Tulsa, Oklahoma); Jackson Sivills, unrated small forward (Paducah, Kentucky); Jamille Reynolds, three-star power forward (St. Petersburg, Florida); Detrick Reeves Jr., unrated combo guard and AAU teammates with Murrell (Marion, Arkansas); Johnny Davis, three-star combo guard (La Crosse, Wisconsin).
Iowa State is set to visit with four-star Minnesota power forward Ben Carlson on either May 1 or 2, he told me. The Cyclones were a consistent presence at his games in Dallas over the weekend.
Iowa State is also set to visit with five-star Oskaloosa power forward Xavier Foster on May 1, his father, DaJuan Foster, told me. The visit was originally scheduled for earlier in the week.
And with Foster, it's clear the blue-bloods are taking note. Whether that turns into something more remains to be seen. Duke assistant Nate James was on hand for both of the 7-footer's games Friday, and he and his dad told me North Carolina recently reached out too.
The Hawkeyes had an in-home visit with Suggs late last week, the five-star guard told me Sunday. It sounds like, if he decides to go high-major as opposed to blue-blood/Gonzaga, Iowa will be in contention. I don't think he played a game last weekend without an Iowa coach on the sideline.
Like they were in 2019, the Hawkeyes are in close with several elite targets in 2020. Beyond Suggs, I've reported that Iowa visited or will visit Foster, four-star New York small forward Andre Jackson and four-star Pennsylvania point guard Ethan Morton. And others have reported Iowa had/will have visits with four-star St. Louis point guard Caleb Love and four-star Minnesota power forward Dawson Garcia.
The Hawkeyes didn't wind up landing of their elite targets in 2019. Let's see what happens in 2020.
Like Iowa State, Iowa is also going to be a strong player for Berry.
The Hawkeyes extended a new offer Sunday to Zach Loveday, a four-star power forward Gallipolis, Ohio. We'll see if Iowa can nudge itself into the race, which includes other high-majors such as Louisville, Baylor, Stanford and Indiana.
Yahoo's Corey Evans tweeted that Fran McCaffery watched the Iowa Barnstormers 16U team Saturday in Dallas, and that Davenport Central shooting guard Emarion Ellis impressed. Ellis has generated some buzz. He's a bouncy, 6-3 guard with a slick handle. I had never heard of him, then watched him in one Barnstormers workout this spring, and that was enough to rank him No. 12 in a deep in-state 2021 class. His AAU coach told me he's already hearing from several low- to mid-majors about Ellis. It's all just preliminary stuff, obviously. But Ellis is doing what he needs to do to get noticed.
Darian DeVries is on Bowen Born duty. Drake's head coach was in Dallas this weekend for the Adidas Gauntlet, making sure to be a consistent presence at the Norwalk 2020 point guard's games. (Plus, DeVries can also watch his son, 2021 wing Tucker DeVries, who plays with Omaha Sports Academy on the Gauntlet.)
Drake has been particularly impressed by a trio of in-state 2021 prospects: Cedar Falls power forward Chase Courbat (No. 1 in the Register's in-state 2021 rankings), Dubuque Hempstead guard/wing Michael Duax (No. 5 in 2021) and Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln point guard Jadin Johnson (No. 6 in 2021). Assistant coach Matt Woodley watched the three, who all play for the Martin Bros 16U team, a couple times while he was in Kansas City.
Here are some other names to keep an eye on if you're a Drake fan: A trio of Illinois Wolves prospects — 2020 wing twin brothers Bennett and Jordan Kwiecincki and 2021 point guard Conor Enright; Omaha 2020 power forward Max Murrell; and Nebraska 2021 three-star point guard Chucky Hepburn.
Assistant coach Kyle Green was in Kansas City on Sunday, and I saw him courtside for 2020 target Johnny Davis out of Wisconsin. Davis is a 6-4 guard who is becoming a high-major prospect, with offers from Minnesota, Wisconsin and West Virginia. But the Panthers will try to have a hand in this fight.
A couple of major 2020 targets are strongly considering the Panthers. It sounds like UNI and Toledo are potential frontrunners right now for Gabe and Mason Madsen, twin 6-5 wings out of Wisconsin. Ben Jacobson has been on the pair for a long time. They would be quite the get.
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_.