By Jamie Johnson, community contributor
DES MOINES - The first Heartland Shootout is loaded with some of the best high school basketball teams and players in the Midwest.
With several Top 100 nationally rated players - including Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa recruit - basketball fans and college coaches will have plenty to see on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Arena.
The idea behind the event is twofold - bring together some of the best future college basketball players in the Midwest and also bring some of the best teams from the region to Iowa to showcase the talent here at home. Iowa schools are not able to travel to play in the top out-of-state holiday events, so the tables have been turned and the event was brought to Iowa.
“We wanted to play in the Heartland Shootout because we wanted to face top competition outside of Iowa,” Valley Coach Jeff Horner said. "The fact that we get to play in Wells Fargo Arena, where the state tournament is held, is also a huge factor. People should come check this event out because there will be a lot of talented players and some great basketball games."
General admission tickets are $8, which is good for all-day access to the event. You can order online at www.dahlstickets.com or purchase at the arena ticket window the day of the event.
Players to watch:
Bronson Koenig, LaCrosse Aquinas - The Wisconsin-bound star will likely carry the bulk of the load for the Bluegolds when they face a tough and talented team from Waverly-Shell Rock.
Peter Jok, West Des Moines Valley - The 6-foot-6 Hawkeye recruit has shown that he is almost all the way back from a knee injury that slowed him last winter dropping 30 points in a tough loss to Ankeny last weekend.
Ted Friedman, Ankeny - The 6-9 Northern Iowa signee will look to keep his team undefeated and also battle one of the best players in the Midwest when he faces DeLaSalle’s Reid Travis.
Klint Carlson, Waverly-Shell Rock - The Go-Hawks will look to Carlson to lead them to victory. His blend of size and athleticism will cause havoc for the Bluegolds at Wells Fargo Arena.
Matt Lassen, Linn-Mar - This is a big season for the senior guard after missing most of last season due to a nasty concussion. The Albany recruit is a scorer who can hit shots from deep or get to the hoop.
Reid Travis, DeLaSalle - Don’t be surprised if this dynamic forward puts up a dominant performance. He went off for 20 points and 18 rebounds in the state finals last season. He is a legit D1 prospect in both football and basketball.
Clay Custer, Blue Valley Northwest - This silky-smooth guard can fill it up in a hurry. Look for the future Cyclone to have a big in Des Moines
Cortez Seales, North Scott - Last season, Seales led a young squad to a very solid season. With basically the entire team back the Lancers won’t sneak up on anyone. Seale picked up an early offer from Northern Iowa, but it won’t be his last.
1 p.m. – North Scott vs. Linn-Mar
2:45 p.m. – DeLaSalle (MN) vs. Ankeny
4:30 p.m. – LaCrosse Aquinas (WI) vs. Waverly-Shell Rock6:15 p.m. – Blue Valley Northwest (KS) vs. W. Des Moines Valley