While not the most popular state in terms of basketball recruits, Iowa hoops continue to get better and more competitive as the years go by. Of course, it may not boast the fanciest programs or have the one-and-done culture, but that gives an extra layer of beauty and mystery to its programs.
Also, it’s not like we’ve never seen players from Iowa’s top-three schools (Iowa, Iowa State, and Drake) make it to the NBA or that the NBA is the only professional league welcoming hoopers from the U.S.
We’ve seen the likes of Dennis Bell, Lewis Lloyd, Wayne Kreklow, Fred Brown, B.J. Armstrong, Ricky Davis, Tyler Cook, John Johnson, Don Nelson, Wesley Johnson, Jamaal Tinsley, Jeff Hornaceck, Fred Hoiberg, and more recently, Luka Garza, Tyrese Haliburton, and Keegan Murray reach the ultimate stage.
So, who could be the next in line? Who’s ready to take that leap forward and become the next player coming from an Iowa school to make it to the NBA? Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the best of them.
Tucker DeVries – G – Drake
Tucker DeVries made some strides in his rookie season with the Drake Bulldogs. The guard averaged nearly 14 points per game in his first season and almost helped them clinch a spot in the tournament. Now, he’s taken his game to a whole new level, averaging nearly 20 points a night to go along with 5.8 boards, 1.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.
While not reeking of athleticism, DeVries makes the most of every gap he finds in the offensive end of the floor, not to mention he’s no longer a defensive liability. The Bulldogs got off to a solid start to the season, and DeVries’ scoring outbursts have had plenty to do with that. His 33+ minutes a night don’t have anything to do with the fact that his father, Darian, is also his coach.
Jaren Holmes – SG – Iowa State
Jaren Holmes continues to prove that he can handle the load offensively regardless of his teammates, the system, or wherever he’s put on the floor. He’s currently averaging 13.9 points per game and is the only Iowa State Cyclones player to score double-digits in every single matchup of the season.
However, the St. Bonaventure transfer has struggled with efficiency this season, albeit that hasn’t taken a toll on his aggressiveness. Holmes is an athletic and strong shooting guard who can finish through contract, create for others, and won’t hesitate to put his body on the line. Even so, his poor efficiency may scare away some scouts.
Patrick McCaffery – F – Iowa
Patrick McCaffery is an intriguing prospect, to say the least. He has a strong feel for the game, the length, and offensive skills to be a serviceable scorer from all three levels. Also, he loves to play above the rim, score off the dribble, and can even put the ball on the floor and pull up from beyond the arc.
Right now, he’s averaging nearly 14 points and 4 rebounds per game, but perhaps his biggest strength is his shooting. Even so, he needs to bulk up to be able to hold his own at the professional level, not to mention the fact that he may never be a plus-defender if he doesn’t add more muscle.
Kris Murray – F – Iowa
And last but not least, we find Kris Murray, undoubtedly the best prospect in Iowa right now and a guy who’s a lock to make it to the NBA next season. He’s expected to follow his twin brother Keegan’s steps, who according to ClutchBet is already on his way to be one of the best players from Iowa in NBA.
However, he’s projected to go in the middle of the first round rather than being a top-four pick like Keegan.
Kris is a versatile combo forward who can shoot lights out from all three levels. His basketball IQ has gotten a lot better with that extra year in college, and so has his defense, both on and off the ball. He’s got the physical traits and floor-stretching skills to be a valuable asset for any contender.