Saturday, February 17, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

What will future hold for Metro hoop stars?

The end of the high school basketball season substantiated what we thought all along, that this was a vintage year in Metro prep basketball for boys and girls.

You have the Players of the Year in Jarrod Uthoff and Kiah Stokes, along with the Class 4A state champions with the Linn-Mar Lions, which is proof positive how good it really was. But maybe of even more interest will be to be follow these champions into their collegiate careers.

What will the likes of Uthoff, Paige, Bohannon and Oglesby look like in four years? Let's put it in horseracing jargon for those four: Will the last horse to enter the derby, ala Marcus Paige (only a junior), be the first in the NCAA winner's circle in four seasons?

The rundown might look like this: Out of Gate No.1 would be Matt Bohannon, the reason being he fits the track that he's going to at the University of Northern Iowa.

Out of Gate No.2 would be Josh Oglesby, because there are more openings on the track at Iowa.

Out of Gate 3 would be Jarrod Uthoff, because of all the questions to be answered: How much weight is he going to put on? Is he going to grow to be a 7-footer? And how will he fit in Badger red?

And on the outside lane out of Gate 4 will Paige, who will be heading to North Carolina after next season. At this time of year, three or four years from now, will he get the roses that go to the NCAA champion?


Six Metro players named all state

An astounding six Metro boys basketball players have been named to the Iowa Newspaper Association's first team all-state teams for the 2010-11 season.

Metro athletes dominated the Class 4A squad, earning five of the eight berths. Leading the way was Jefferson senior Jarrod Uthoff, who also was selected by the INA as the 2011 Iowa Mr. Basketball. Uthoff led the state in scoring at a 26.2 clip and averaged more than 11 rebounds per game.

Also named to the Class 4A first team were senior Matt Bohannon and junior Marcus Paige from state champion Linn-Mar, and Washington seniors Josh Oglesby and Wes Washpun.

Marion senior Kasey Semler was a Class 3A first teamer.

Bohannon was the Most Valuable Player at the state tournament when he averaged nearly 25 points per game and, along with Paige, guided the Lions to an undefeated season.  He and Paige both cranked up the offense when post players Josh Montague and Ian McBrayer went down with injuries in February. The pair combined for 60 points in a win over Jefferson, and 48 of the Lions' 56 in their state championship game win against Des Moines Hoover.

Paige led Linn-Mar in scoring with a 17.7 average that included 51 percent shooting from 3-point range. He committed in January to play college basketball at North Carolina, although he still has one season at Linn-Mar remaining.

Bohannon, who has signed to play at Northern Iowa next season, averaged 16.2 points.

Oglesby is a 6-6 guard who has signed with the Iowa Hawkeyes. He averaged 21.2 points for the Warriors and knocked down 87 3-pointers. Washpun, a flashy point guard with springs for legs, averaged 18 points. Both were responsible for the Warriors making back-to-back runs to the state tournament.

Joining the Metro quintet on the 4A first team are junior Adam Woodbury from Sioux City East, junior Kale Abrahamson from West Des Moines Valley and senior Matt Tiby from Urbandale. Abrahamson's father, Kent, played prep basketball at Cedar Rapids Washington.

Semler was the leading scorer in Class 3A, averaging 21.2 points. He drove the Indians to their second state tournament appearance in three years.




NCAA tourneys a priceline puzzle

Kelly and Jeff Printy’s home computer and both cell phones were buzzing Monday night as the Marion couple figured out where they’re going to be this weekend and how they’ll get there.

Earlier in the evening, they learned that daughter Jaime will be playing with her Iowa Hawkeyes basketball teammates in the NCAA tournament late Saturday afternoon in Spokane, Wash.

They’d found out a day earlier that son Jordan has a late Friday night tip-off in Cleveland with his Indiana State Sycamores ball club in the men's NCAA tournament.

For the past two seasons, Jeff and Kelly have been at all of Jaime’s games in Iowa City and many of the road games, too. They’ve also traveled to all of Jordan’s weekend home tilts in Terre Haute, Ind., and to a lot of them elsewhere around the Midwest.

They haven’t counted them up but figure they’ve been on the road at least 35 times this year and last.

When one of their former Linn-Mar star athletes is playing in one place and the other someplace else, they sometimes split up.

“Besides working, that’s pretty much what we do in the winter, is go to basketball games,” says Jeff, 49, an engineering project specialist at Rockwell Collins. “It’s our social life.”


High school basketball needs a shot clock

Organize the bake sales. Schedule the car washes. Mobilize the donors.

Iowa high school basketball needs some dollars for shot clocks. Either that, or the advice of some expert shooting coaches.

With the girls and boys state tournaments completed the past two weeks, there has been some excellent basketball played in Des Moines. Saturday’s Class 3A and 4A boys state title games matched some excellent teams and showcased some of the best individuals Iowa has to offer.

But too many times, high school games are painful to watch. Some of it may be state tournament nerves, or the move to a 94-foot floor or matching up against some truly good defenses. But the game needs help, or at least some tweaking.

In last week’s 16 first-round boys state tournament games, 14 of the 32 teams failed to exceed 50 points. Marion and Cedar Rapids Jefferson shot 20 and 24.4 percent from the field in opening-round losses to eventual state finalists Waverly-Shell Rock and Des Moines Hoover.

In the eight Class 4A substate finals, six of the teams scored fewer than 50.

The girls state tournament was even more anemic. Of the 28 games played, 36 of the 56 teams couldn’t score more than 50 points. The state championship game final scores: 52-40, 50-39, 46-35 and 40-23.

Before I become too critical of the prep game or its shooters, I’m reminded of the horrific Big Ten tournament game this week when Penn State beat Wisconsin by the unbelievable score of 36-33. Those types of games develop at even the highest level.

Are shot clocks the answer for Iowa high schools? Well, they would certainly help speed up the game. Cost is always a concern, of course.


Jarrod Uthoff is Iowa's Mr. Basketball

Jefferson senior Jarrod Uthoff, who burst onto the national recruiting scene last summer on the AAU circuit then went out and led the state in scoring this winter, has been named the 2011 Iowa Mr. Basketball by the Iowa Newspaper Association.

Uthoff, a 6-foot-8 forward who is wiry strong on the inside rebounding yet possesses a light, almost delicate touch shooting from the outside, is the sixth Metro prep to win the award and the first since Linn-Mar's Jason Bohannon won it in 2006. Like Bohannon did, Uthoff is headed to Wisconsin to play for the Badgers.

Uthoff led the state in scoring with a 26.2 average, despite often being double- and triple-teamed by opponents. He led the J-Hawks to a 17-6 record and back-to-back state tournament appearances.

Uthoff is the first Jefferson player to win the Mr. Basketball award. Linn-Mar has had two (Bohannon and Tod Lumsden), and Kennedy (Al Lorenzen), Regis (Adam Spanich) and Prairie (Justin Wessel) have had one apiece.

Twice the Metro has had winners in consecutive years. Lumsden and Lorenzen won back-to-back in 1983 and '84, and Spanich and Wessel did likewise in 1995 and '96.



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