The Iowa Barnstormers look to build off one of their most successful seasons, and not just on the boys’ basketball side, either.
The AAU basketball organization just finished its second season of girls’ basketball, and every member of the 17-and-under squad will play college basketball this fall from the junior-college to Division II level.
“We’re really excited about that,” Barnstormers executive director Jamie Johnson said. “The boys didn’t have that kind of success until their third year.”
The Barnstormers will hold tryouts on Saturday at Cedar Rapids Xavier High School. The age groups range from fifth grade through 11th grade. The girls’ tryouts begin at 9 a.m and end at 11 a.m. Tryouts for boys entering grades 5, 6 or 7 last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For grades 8 and 9, tryouts are held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tryouts for boys entering 10th or 11th grade begin at 3 p.m. Johnson expects about 300 players to show up, and about 10 or 11 make each team.
The Barnstormers’ highest-profile team is the boys’ 17U, which features the incoming senior class. Two Barnstormers have accepted scholarship offers to Northern Iowa — Iowa City West’s Jeremy Morgan and Waverly Shell-Rock’s Klint Carlson. Linn-Mar’s Matt Lassen picked Division I Albany. Four others — Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Jace Hanna, Dubuque Senior’s Josh Weeber, Linn-Mar’s Jimmy Roth and Storm Lake St. Mary’s Luke Lenhart — have committed to play at Division II Upper Iowa.
Two other 17U players are receiving several looks — Riverside-Oakland’s Ricky Williams and Iowa City West’s Dondre Alexander. Both also have Division I football potential.
The 16U group, which has players entering their junior year of high school, has had a jump in scholarship offers this summer. Iowa City West’s Wyatt Lohaus committed to Northern Iowa two weeks ago, and Rockridge (Ill.) forward Ethan Hopp picked Wisconsin. Center Seth Bonifas of Dubuque Senior has an Iowa scholarship offer. Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Matt Nelson has picked up offers from Northern Colorado and South Dakota State, Johnson said. Dubuque Senior’s Kyle Haber has an offer from Albany. Casey Schlatter of Iowa Falls and Kory Kuenstling of Dunkerton also have strong looks from Division I coaches, Johnson said.
There’s no coincidence why three Barnstormer players have chosen Northern Iowa recently.
“I can’t recall a time when at least one coach wasn’t there at a game,” Johnson said. “It’s an elite mid-major program and consistently one of the best programs in the country.”
The Barnstormers’ 17U team won two championships this year and finished 36-11 overall. The 16U squad also won two titles and finished 38-9.
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