Category: EVENT PREVIEWS

Standout Player: 2023 Ethan Blackman (BMM)

Ethan is 6’7 with a frame that can take contact and finish in traffic. Despite his size, he is deceptively bouncy and has good feet. He is quite good at facing up his defender and blowing by him to get to the rim. He can use a spin move as well to separate from the defense while getting to the basket.

He is a terrific passer and demonstrates a nice feel for the game. His jump shot is solid out to 15-feet and he has generally a soft touch.

During one contest he had his offensive skill set on full display as he had a game high 20 points in a variety of ways. He made two shots from 3 point range. He did the majority of his damage in the paint as well as mid-range jumpers.

He is a tough match-up.

He has been able to garner buzz with his play thus far this spring as we head into the summer recruiting period he will be a name that continues to get more coaches attention.

Stay with us here at RecruitLook Hoops for the latest developments in the world of high school basketball recruiting.

Missouri Class 6 Basketball Preview and Predictions

SLUH (18-7) vs. CBC (23-6)

This will be round 3 between the two St. Louis (MCC Conference) rivals. CBC is the most talented team in the state by a good margin on paper. They have an abundance of riches such as Robert Martin, Larry Hughes Jr, and 7’2 phenom John Bol. SLUH on the other hand is a senior led, guard heavy team. Saint Louis signee Nick Kramer is the star, but he has two great point guards alongside him. In the end, CBC simply has too much talent and is expected to win.

Prediction: CBC

Chaminade (23-6) vs. Ft. Zumwalt South (26-2)

Chaminade has been great all season. Frank Bennett may be doing his best coaching job to date with this group. Junior point guard, BJ Ward, is the catalyst for the Red Devils. He sets the tone and they’ll need him to come up big. As for FZS, it’s been a total team effort. They are coming off a heroic upset of Troy after being down 14 in the final 4 minutes. Chaminade is going to be a really tough matchup for them, however. 

Prediction: Chaminade

Nixa (26-3) vs. Lee’s Summit West (14-13)

Nixa has dominated the region this season. Junior guard Kael Combs is an explosive athlete who sells tickets. Collin Ruffin is another guard who they rely on heavily. He’s a 6’5 lefty with great feel for the game. Lee’s Summit West is on a miracle run in March. They were barely .500 in the regular season, but have found their groove here. Keep an eye on sophomore guard, Chaz Watson, he is next in line for Coach Schieber and the guard factory he’s produced at West. If Watson gets going again, the Titans could pull off the upset of Nixa. This one could go either way, but it’s easier to trust Nixa after an entire season of viewing. 

Prediction: Nixa

Blue Springs (24-5) vs. Staley (25-4)

Blue Springs is an athletic group. The program has a good tradition and this year’s squad was able to have a great campaign. They’re led by 6’6 football star, Ikenna Ezeogu. In this matchup they’ll be faced up against a local Kansas City opponent. Staley has become one of the better programs in the state under coach Chris Neff. He preaches a clean, team oriented, tough defensive style of basketball. Junior’s Kyan Evans and Kayden Fish lead the charge for the Falcons. We believe Staley is the better overall team, and they have the size advantage. 

Prediction: Staley

Who do we think will win Missouri Class 6?

The major contenders appear to be CBC, Chaminade, and Staley on the surface. Out of this bunch, however, CBC has too much talent to be denied a title in the eyes of many. Justin Tatum was in line to get his third state title with former guard Caleb Love before the Covid-19 outbreak. We see him accomplishing that challenge just two years later. 

2022 Iowa State High School Title Game Previews and Predictions

4A – #1 Ames vs. #3 Johnston

  • These two teams met not long ago in the last game of the regular season, with Johnston coming out on top 56-41 at home. However, that game was played without Ames star point guard Tamin Lipsey. Lipsey is now back from injury and has been playing great at the state tournament, helping Ames topple Burlington in the quarterfinals 60-40 and beat a very good Cedar Rapids Kennedy team 62-43 in the semifinals. Lipsey is very sound in everything that he does, dynamic in transition, and capable of scoring from anywhere on the floor. Pair that with his tenacity on defense, and it’s obvious why he’ll be at Iowa State next year. Lipsey isn’t alone though, his running mate Trevion LaBeaux played great against Kennedy last round, scoring 18 points on 9-11 shooting and pulling down 7 rebounds. LaBeaux is a bouncy, high-motor big, who has plenty of interest from junior colleges throughout the state of Iowa. Lucas Lueth (‘23) might be the most important player on the floor in this contest for the Little Cyclones due to what he’s going to be asked to do on defense. I would bet that Ames will have this long wing guard South Dakota commit Steven Kramer to start the game. I love Lueth as a prospect, he is oozing with untapped potential as a versatile defender and capable scorer. He has a tall frame with very long arms, he moves well on the defensive end, and willingly runs the floor well. On Johnston’s side, they have plenty of scoring in Drury commit Trey Lewis. He’s a smart decision-maker with a quick handle, capable of getting to the rim at will, with the ability to finish or kick out to open shooters with ease. He had a bit of a slow start in the semifinal round versus Prairie, but turned it on in the fourth quarter and overtime to finish with 17 points. The hero of Johnston’s 61-57 overtime win against Prairie is uncommitted senior Masen Ryan, he went 5-6 from beyond the arc for the Dragons and was the spark that brought Johnston back to life in their comeback win. Steven Kramer, a South Dakota commit, will also present a problem for Ames. A dynamic forward who runs the floor well, can elevate for powerful dunks, and can score with a variety of post moves. I was also very impressed with Samuel Tornabane in Johnston’s win against Prairie. He played very well finishing with 15 points off the bench, and sank some very clutch free throws down the stretch to seal the game. He’s undersized for his height (6’5), but found a way to score against Iowa State football commit Gabe Burkle for Prairie, so I’ll be interested to see how he does against the likes of LaBeaux and Corey Phillips. This matchup is sure to be fun, as Lipsey, Kramer, and Lewis are all looking to head into their college careers on top. If their first matchup a few weeks ago is any indication, Johnston should be the favorite. However, I believe that Lipsey coming back completely changes this Ames team, as Ames hasn’t lost to a team from Iowa with him in the lineup all season.

My Pick: Ames

Uncommitted Prospects to Watch – Ames: Trevian LaBeaux (2022), Lucas Lueth (2023), Jack Wynter (2023); Johnston: Masen Ryan (2022), Nathan Ruisch (2023), Samuel Tornabane (2023), Jacob Simpson (2024)

3A – #1 Dallas Center-Grimes vs. #7 Central DeWitt

  • This matchup presents a very interesting contrast in styles and rosters. Dallas Center-Grimes has a very balanced scoring output. They’ve beaten two very strong teams to get to this point in Carroll and Winterset, making both of those teams look a lot worse than they actually were. Of course, the Mustangs are led by UMKC commit Cole Glasgow, but the Mustangs have plenty of firepower on their roster besides him. Senior uncommitted point guard Jacob Runyan is very fun to watch. He easily outplays his size (listed at 5’10) and can score in bunches and dish the ball out just as well, posting a 10 assist to 3 turnover game in the quarterfinal round against Carroll. Bo Huston, another uncommitted 2022 guard is another competent scorer. He’s been dealing with an injury sustained in the quarterfinal round, but he will be a major factor in this championship matchup. Rounding out the group of uncommitted seniors is Jackson Jones, who might be playing the best out of any of the Dallas Center-Grimes prospects here in Des Moines. He has a great shooting stroke and a great motor. What impressed me the most about him was his off-ball cutting, he found some good openings for easy looks in DCG’s quarterfinal win. 2024 Calix Cahill is another player to watch off the Mustang bench. The Sabers on the other hand have had quite the run here at the state tournament, beating #2 seed Decorah in the quarterfinal 67-59 and destroying conference rival #3 seed Assumption in the semifinals 70-46. Leading the Sabers is uncommitted senior big Shawn Gilbert (6’9). Gilbert has been Central DeWitt’s engine the past two rounds, scoring 32 points on 11-14 shooting from the field against Assumption in the semifinals. I’ve been very impressed with his ability to back down opposing defenders and score pretty much anytime he wants in the post. Other than Gilbert, 2022 Gibson McEwen has also been playing great, scoring 24 points versus Decorah in the quarterfinal, and adding another 16 in the semifinals versus Assumption on 6-7 shooting from the field and 2-2 shooting from beyond the arc. He was the catalyst to Central DeWitt’s hot start in both games and will have to be a big time scorer if the Sabers want to have a chance in pulling off another upset in the championship. This matchup seems very lopsided, with Dallas Center-Grimes easily being the favorite. I believe that DCG has already demolished two teams that are on paper better than Central DeWitt is in the first two rounds of the tournament in Carroll and Winterset. That being said, Central DeWitt has a ton of momentum, and Shawn Gilbert has been playing just as well as anybody else down here in Des Moines. Anything can happen at Wells Fargo, so I wouldn’t count the Sabers out yet.

My Pick: Dallas Center-Grimes

Uncommitted Prospects to Watch – Dallas Center-Grimes: Jacob Runyan (2022), Bo Huston (2022), Jackson Jones (2022), Calix Cahill (2024); Central DeWitt: Shawn Gilbert (2022), Gibson McEwen (2022), Matthew Watters (2023), Ryan Watters (2025)

2A – #1 Central Lyon vs. #2 Rock Valley

  • This meeting between Siouxland Conference rivals is sure to be an exciting matchup, both of these teams are very athletic and have the ability to score in bunches. But most importantly, these two teams are very familiar with each other. These two squads have met twice this year already with Central Lyon taking the first matchup 65-63, and Rock Valley winning the second 65-63 right before the playoffs started. Both teams won on their home floor, so this meeting in Des Moines will both decide the series and the state championship. Rock Valley’s team is led by a strong group of seniors, with all five of their starters graduating this spring. The Rockets are led by Bryson Van Grootheest, a Morningside commit, who has been on an absolute tear the last few rounds, scoring 28 and 17 the past two rounds, all on a ridiculous 67% shooting. Van Grootheest has been one of the most impressive players of the whole tournament, but his running mates Landyn Van Kekerix (Iowa football commit) and Sam Remmerde (2022), both have played very well in Rock Valley’s last two games. I love how the Rockets get up and down the floor, doing a very good job at forcing turnovers and turning those steals into easy buckets on the other end of the floor. Central Lyon leads the charge with football standout Zach Lutmer (2023), who very much plays like a quarterback on the floor. Lutmer is always exciting to watch as he throws full court dimes, dribbles circles around opposing defenses in transition, and elevates to finish at or above the rim, a really exciting player to watch. Lutmer may be the teams leading scorer, but this team has a couple more strong scoring threats in uncommitted 2022 Mason Gerleman and 2023 big man Andrew Austin. Gerlemen, the Lion’s second leading scorer, had a great night in the quarterfinals versus Jesup, leading the team that night with 15 points. He’s a good three-level scorer and the team’s best 3-point shooter. Austin is another intriguing prospect, he’s a 6’5 high motor big man who runs the floor very well in transition. His movements all seem very fluid, and he has loads of upside because of his frame and athleticism. This matchup is a game of inches, with each team knowing each other very well and having played each other twice already in the regular season, this will make this matchup very hard to predict. It could very well go either way.

My Pick: Rock Valley

Uncommitted Prospects to Watch – Central Lyon: Zach Lutmer (2023), Mason Gerleman (2022), Andrew Austin (2023); Rock Valley: Sam Remmerde (2022)

1A – #1 Grand View Christian vs. #2 North Linn

  • The last time that these two teams met was 5 years ago in a different title fight, with Grand View Christian coming out the victor. Even though both rosters have been completely turned over, you can be sure that Coach Mike Hilmer and his Lynx are dying for revenge. The Lynx are headlined by Upper Iowa commit Austin Hilmer, who’s had a strong start to the tournament so far leading the entire 1A field in assists and steals throughout the first 2 games. He’s a lightning-quick guard with the ability to explode for 25 points on any given night. Next to Hilmer is Tate Haughenbury (2023), one of my favorite prospects to watch of the entire tournament. What really impresses me about Haughenbury is his defense, both interior and exterior. He moves his feet really well for someone his size (listed at 6’4, but I think he’s closer to 6’5). He moves his feet quickly, and is very impressive in North Linn’s run and jump press, routinely forcing steals and finishing with powerful dunks on the other end. On the other hand, Grand View Christian has star point guard Manny Hammonds, a William Penn commit, who has had a somewhat quiet tournament so far. I’ve always been impressed with Hammond’s microwave scoring, and he’s very capable of scoring from all three levels. The Thunder’s best player of the tournament so far has been Josh Baucum (2022), exploding for 27 points in Grand View’s semifinal win over Lake Mills. He’s another quick scoring guard, capable of taking pressure off Hammonds when overplayed. The “X” factor for the Thunder is 6 ’11 center Daniel Tobiloba (2023), this shot blocking machine has been held to lackluster offensive numbers the past two games in Des Moines, however, his sheer presence in the lane detours many opposing teams from attacking him. He’s quick off his feet, making him a great rebounder and shot blocker. If the Lynx find a way to take him out of the game, I like their chances of guarding both Hammonds and Baucum with their pressure defense. On the other hand, if Grand View Christian can get North Linn to play a half court game, Tobiloba will have a chance to stifle their high-powered offensive attack. Either way this should be a fun one.

My Pick: North Linn

Uncommitted Prospects to Watch – Grand View Christian: Daniel Tobiloba (2023), Josh Baucum (2022); North Linn: Tate Haughenbury (2023), Mason Bechen (2025)

Missouri Class 5 Basketball Playoff Preview

Central – Cape Girardeau (22-5) vs. Webster Groves (21-8)

This matchup is a major contrast in style. Webster is a smaller group looking to use energy and speed. Central on the other hand looks to get the ball into the post and initiate offense this way. Matt Enright and Ethan Chartrand lead a senior backcourt for Webster while Central has 6’8 junior Cameron Williams. Webster Groves is better than their record suggests as they lost many players due to Covid-19 in the middle of January. 

Prediction: Webster Groves

Cardinal Ritter (19-9) vs. St. Dominic (23-5)

Cardinal Ritter is a hot team coming off a major upset. They defeated Westminster, who was the top overall team in the state headed into the matchup on March 5th. St. Dominic has brute strength inside with their pair of forwards and plays great team basketball. Braxton Stacker, Murray State signee, is going to be the best player in the building, but don’t sleep on Ryan Schwendeman for St. Dominic. He’s a 6’4 beast on the interior. In the end, however, Cardinal Ritter had been tested nationally and is clicking at the right time. 

Prediction: Cardinal Ritter

Springfield Catholic (23-6) vs. Bolivar (25-4)

Two teams from Southern Missouri make up this Elite 8 matchup. Both squads can shoot with the best of them and are led by stars in the region. Springfield Catholic is headed by 6’5 senior Zach Howell. The wing has a strong frame, deep range, but can also create mismatches in the post. Bolivar is headed by 6’6 junior Kyle Pock. The wing was a key player for last year’s final 4 team and this year he’s vastly improved. Bolivar has its eyes set on getting back to JQH Arena. 

Prediction: Bolivar

Helias (16-13) vs. William Chrisman (21-7)

Helias is playing great basketball at the right time. Their backcourt can score as good as anybody in the state. Desmond White is a junior guard with as much ability as anybody in the 2023 class for Missouri. As for William Chrisman, they are led by two seniors – Jessie Minter and Dayne Herl. Both affect the game in a variety of ways and are battle tested. This game could go either way, but William Chrisman has the better track record and great senior leadership. 

Prediction: William Chrisman

Who do we think will win Missouri Class 5?

This class looks to be headed back to St. Louis on the surface. A potential matchup between Webster Groves and Cardinal Ritter will be the game to watch. In the end, however, Cardinal Ritter has the most star power and is led by head coach Ryan Johnson. A three-peat is within reach and we see them capitalizing.

Missouri 4A Basketball Playoff Preview

Central – New Madrid County (19-7) vs. Lift for Life (18-9)

Central – New Madrid County returns a good portion of their team who lost it’s only game to Vashon last season. 2024 forward, Jadis Jones, is an incredibly efficient and physical player on the inside. Life for Life on the other hand plays an up-tempo style, and uses their forward well on the perimeter. Lift for Life has had some great wins, but New Madrid County has been building for this moment since last year. 

Prediction: Central – New Madrid Country

Vashon (24-4) vs. Mexico (28-0)

Vashon is a young team. They’ve got depth and athletic players top to bottom. Their 2023 and 2025 classes are very good, potentially the best in the state. Mexico on the other hand has a more experienced group. They’re a city with a proud tradition, and this year’s team has provided much excitement. The biggest advantage in this game will be Vashon’s coach, Tony Irons, and his experience. 

Prediction: Vashon

Father Tolton (20-8) vs. Willow Springs (22-5)

Father Tolton is a senior lead squad with a star freshman in the making. Jevon Porter is a mismatch for anybody at 6’11. He’s got the potential to be a pro in just a few years. 2025 guard, Aaron Rowe, is an electrifying prospect that catches the eyes of many. Willow Springs on the other hand has had some solid wins this season, but we expect them to be outmatched in all facets. Jevon Porter is on a mission. 

Prediction: Father Tolton

Pembroke Hill (20-4) vs. Richmond (22-5)

Pembroke Hill has some serious athletes. Two of their better players happen to be brothers. The Conley brothers, Devin and Darin, can fill up the stat sheet with the best of them. This team goes as they go. Richmond has been a feel good story on the western side of the state. Head coach Kevin Jermain has done an incredible job of getting this team to buy in and perform. This one is a toss up. Pembroke Hill is more battle tested, however. 

Prediction: Pembroke Hill

Who do we think will win Missouri Class 4?

Two teams stand above the rest. Vashon and Father Tolton. Each is on opposite sides of the bracket, and this potential matchup seems like destiny. They played last season at Vashon and it was a blowout in favor of the Wolverines. With that being said, this is a new season and each roster has added/lost key players. Tony Irons is tough to bet against, however. We project Vashon to win Class 4 by a close margin.