[UPDATE] Iowa Men’s Basketball Program Signs Four High School Recruits
[UPDATED 11/17 12:20 PM] The Iowa men's basketball program announced Wednesday night they've signed a fourth player to the 2023-24 recruiting class.
Iowa has signed 6'9", 250-pound, Ladji Dembele (Lah-gee Dem-BELL-eh) to a National Letter of Intent. Dembele, who is originally from Mali and moved to Spain at age 13 and the U.S. at 17, is attending St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, New Jersey.
Last season, Dembele averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds per game, while shooting 52 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3-point range.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said, "Ladji is a terrific young man... We love his game. He has skill. He can shoot. He can run. He's bouncy. He's physical. I believe he is a great fit with the other three players that we have in this class."
[ORIGINAL STORY] The Iowa men's basketball team has signed three recruits for the 2023-24 recruiting class. All three come from within two hours of Iowa City, two play for the same high school, and the third has a brother who's a starter on this year's Hawkeye team.
Let's begin with the biggest of the three. Owen Freeman (below) is 6-foot-11 and 225 pounds. He played at Bradley Bourbonnais High School in Bradley, Illinois but has transferred to Moline, Illinois where one of his Moline High School teammates is also a Hawkeye signee.
Freeman averaged 18.5 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks per game last season at Bradley Bourbonnais, where he set a school record for field goal percentage (.682) in a season. The University of Iowa Sports Information Department says he's the 20th-ranked power forward in the country by Rivals.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said this about Freeman: "Owen is someone we need to come in and help us right away and I know he can."
The Hawkeyes are also adding a guard to next year's team. He's 6-1 and 160-pound Brock Harding (below), also from Moline High School.
Harding is already a two-time first-team all-stater at Moline. During his junior year, he was named the Metro Player of the Year in the Quad Cities. He led Moline to 28 victories while averaging 19.3 points, 5.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.8 steals per game.
McCaffery called Harding, "a do-everything guard. He can shoot threes. He can shoot pull-ups. He’s quick and is a phenomenal passer. He’s all over the place always making the right decision.”
Iowa's third signee is 6-foot 7-inch, 190-pound, Pryce Sandfort (below) of Northwest High School in Waukee. His brother Payton, who's also 6-7, is a sophomore starter on this year's Iowa team.
Pryce Sandfort led Class 4A in Iowa last season in a host of categories: points, blocks, made field goals, made 3-pointers, made free throws, and defensive rebounds. He was second in 4A in total rebounds. The first-team all-stater averaged 26.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Sandfort was also a 40.5 percent 3-point shooter and shot over 89% at the free throw line.
McCaffery described Sandfort as, "a great shooter and he can really see the floor. Pryce gets by you and creates in the lane, but he’s also a good defender."
Freeman, Harding, and Sandfort will join the Hawkeye program this fall.
The 2022-23 Iowa men's basketball (1-0) has its second game of the season Friday night. The Hawkeyes host North Carolina AT&T at 7:01 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The game is available on BTN+.
Next Wednesday, November 16, Iowa travels to New Jersey for a game against Seton Hall in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The tip-off will be at 6:30 p.m. for a nationally-televised contest on FS1.