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Norwalk 2020 point guard Bowen Born showed off every facet of his game during the AAU event Battle at the Lakes. Matthew Bain, mbain@dmreg.com

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PLYMOUTH, Minn. — After getting past half court, Bowen Born crossed a defender over once, then twice, almost toying with him. He then dribbled left and dropped a bounce-pass dime between two defenders to his teammate for an emphatic baseline dunk.

It was just one impressive play during a weekend full of them for the Norwalk 2020 point guard at PrepHoops' Battle at the Lakes.

Coming off a dominant junior year, Born has continued his excellent play during the spring AAU season, reeling in new offers from South Dakota, Indiana State and Toledo. He performed particularly well during April's live recruiting period in Dallas, when he led the Iowa Barnstormers to a 3-1 record on the loaded Adidas Gauntlet.

It's clear Born has established himself as a high-level target for Midwest mid-majors — none more so than Drake and Northern Iowa.

What's not yet clear is whether Born will entice high-major schools to offer him. 

While the big-conference schools have yet to come around, Born is not letting it affect his play.

"Obviously, it’s not like I’m upset that these schools aren’t offering," Born told the Register with a smile. "At the end of the day, it’s just about playing basketball. Do I think I’m a high-major player? Yeah. Do I think I can play with high-major schools? Yeah. That’s just my self-confidence. I feel like I can go anywhere and make an impact on any team in the country."

Iowa and Creighton are the two high-major programs most involved with Born at the moment, although Boston College kept an eye on him in Dallas.

Creighton visited Born at school on May 2, and he visited campus twice this year.

"They’re just kind of staying in touch, just seeing where things go," Born said. "Obviously I like them a lot. I’ve been up there a few times for visits, being able to play with those guys. I like the campus, I like the players and the coaching staff."

Iowa began contacting Born more toward the end of his stellar junior season, in which he averaged 27.8 points and 3.8 assists per game while draining 79 3-pointers. Born said his main contact is assistant coach Kirk Speraw.

The Hawkeyes' interest is intriguing because of their recent history with another mid-major/high-major fringe prospect from Iowa: Linn-Mar product Jordan Bohannon.

Remember: Iowa didn't offer Bohannon until August before his senior year.

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"I know coach (Fran) McCaffery and coach Speraw talk to my high school coach quite a bit just about film and stuff, and then I talk to Coach Speraw every now and then," Born said. "Usually just catching up on how the weekend goes, how I’m playing."

Regarding Born's recruiting stock: Nobody who knows basketball doubts his skill. His handle is among the quickest you'll see in any gym. He is an excellent shooter with a quick stroke. 

The question is, and will be, his size. He is listed at 5-foot-11, and he's slim.

Born said he can see how schools might view his size as a downside. But that just gives him a chip on his shoulder, he said, to excel at the things he can control: his leadership, effort and will to win.

In terms of his timeline, Born wants to play out the spring and summer and make a decision in the late summer or fall. He hopes to start taking visits in June, and he's already in talks with Toledo for an official visit that month.

Other visits in the works: Drake, UNI, Indiana State, South Dakota and Creighton.

Even if a high-major doesn't jump in, Born could — and likely will — wind up with more options. Brown, Princeton and Penn have shown strong interest lately. Lehigh, Bowling Green and South Dakota State have also reached out. 

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"What I’ve told Bowen is, 'Man, at the end of the day, go where your priorities are, where you’re wanted and where you’ll have a great four-year career,'" said Born's AAU coach, Jamie Pettigrew. "If that’s high-major, so be it. If not, who cares? Go mid-major, and then every time you get a chance, show them why they should have went with you.

"He’s got a lot of great opportunities. Schools are calling every day. Bowen Born is going to be fine and make some coach very happy."

Two schools that will be strong contenders no matter what? Drake and UNI.

The Panthers offered last May. The Bulldogs offered in August. Both coaching staffs have prioritized Born since then, and they were in to visit him before and after April's live recruiting period.

Born said he feels like a top-tier target for both schools. He said they share the same vision for him, too.

"Both of those schools are like, 'You’re coming to play. We’re not recruiting you to come sit. We want you to be the guy,'" Born said. "It’s definitely a confidence-booster to feel like you can make an impact at the collegiate level. Obviously, those schools are two tremendous schools that I really like and the coaching staffs are incredible."

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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