Prep Basketball

Iowa high school boys' basketball 2020-21: Gazette area players to watch

Springville's Alex Koppes (1) drives to the basket between Pekin's Kennan Winn (23) and Brady Millikin (11) during the s
Springville’s Alex Koppes (1) drives to the basket between Pekin’s Kennan Winn (23) and Brady Millikin (11) during the second half of a Class 1A substate basketball game at West High School in Iowa City on Saturday, February 29, 2020. (Cliff Jette/Freelance for The Gazette)

Here’s a look at a Fine 14. We’ll take our chances with this team. Among others, these Gazette area boys’ basketball players should have good seasons.

Ashton Cook, Iowa City Regina — Not just a great football player. Averaged 16.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game last season. His leg injury after the holidays sabotaged a Regina team that was a definite state tournament threat.

Taurice Grant, Meskwaki — His school’s first basketball all-stater, voted to the third team in Class 1A. Senior point guard averaged 15.8 points, 6.6 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game.

Austin Hilmer, North Linn — Junior guard was the state leader in assists last season. First-team all-stater in Class 2A. His school drops to 1A this season.

Dylan Johnson, Western Dubuque — The 6-6 senior kind of flew under the radar last season. Averaged 15.8 points and 6.5 rebounds. WD has moved down to Class 3A this season.

Alex Koppes, Springville — First-team 1A all-stater averaged 19.8 points per game last season, helping the Orioles to the state tournament for the first time in 40 years.

Kyle Kelley, West Delaware — Four-year starters at the Class 3A level are rare. Kelley is a four-year starter. The 6-foot-4 senior averaged 14.8 points last season and is part of a WD team that returns virtually intact.

Keaton Kutcher, Mount Vernon — Senior guard can shoot it. Averaged 20 points per game last season. First-team all-stater is headed to South Dakota

Marcus Morgan, Iowa City West — You know he plays football and baseball at a high level, the senior guard also can hoop it. His dad is former Hawkeye Michael Morgan, after all. Averaged 9.7 points last season, a number that should rise significantly considering West’s graduation losses.

Justin Recker, Monticello — Senior forward was second-team all-state in 2A last season. Four-year varsity player averaged 17.2 points to help Monti to the state tournament for the first time in 60 years. Shot 63.4 percent from the field, which shows you his ability to score down low, though he also has added perimeter play to his game.

Caleb Schlaak, Cedar Rapids Kennedy — The 6-foot-7 senior center averaged 17.2 points and 5.7 rebounds last season. Will have played varsity ball parts of four seasons. Will play for former Iowa guard Jeff Horner at Division II Truman State.

Trey Shearer, Montezuma — Two-time all-state guard. Senior averaged 25.2 points per game last season. Headed to Truman State.

Quincy Underwood, Cedar Rapids Washington — Will be starting for his third season. Senior forward averaged 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds last season. Numbers that should go up in 2020-21.

Elijah Ward, Cedar Rapids Prairie — Another kid whose offensive output should rise exponentially. Averaged 9.9 points last season as a sophomore guard. Starting center Gabe Burkle will miss the season after a leg injury from football, so a lot of the offense could fall on Ward.

Christian Withrow, Clear Creek Amana — Senior guard/forward averaged 15.9 points and 6.0 rebounds for a Clippers team that finished third in Class 3A at the state tournament. All but one of his 159 made field goals was a two-pointer.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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