Muscatine's Joe Wieskamp

Season to remember: Even though Muscatine's boys basketball team fell a game short of the state tournament this winter, Joe Wieskamp compiled one of the best individual seasons in Iowa Class 4A history.

He was named Iowa's Gatorade Player of the Year, first team all-state for a second consecutive season, the Mississippi Athletic Conference player of the year and the first 4A player in 15 years to average more than 30 points a game.

Wieskamp, still with a high school season remaining, erupted for a career-high 50 points against Burlington and became the school's career scoring leader (now at 1,573 points).

"I exceeded a lot of my goals," Wieskamp said. "I felt a lot stronger in everything that I did. I could step back a couple more feet (on the 3-point line), I felt my first step was a lot more explosive which allowed me to get around defenders quicker. I exploded higher for rebounds."

Wieskamp recently was in Santa Barbara, California, one of 14 high school players invited to an Adidas Uprising training event. He went through a series of tests to gauge mobility and body movements. His vertical leap was measured at 34 1/2 inches.

'Extremely solid': Wieskamp committed to the University of Iowa in the summer after his freshman year. Ranked as one of the nation's top 45 recruits in the 2018 class by various publications, Wieskamp has not teetered on his decision to play for the black and gold.

Asked how firm his commitment was, he replied: "Extremely solid. I don't think there is anything that would change it."

Wieskamp is widely regarded as the state's top player. He can join former Ames standout Harrison Barnes next year as the only Iowa player to win Gatorade player of the year twice.

"In my mind, I think I am the best player in the state, but I've got to keep a level head and not brag about it or act like I'm better than anyone else," he said. "At the same time, I want to take that confidence on the court in everything that I do."

Wieskamp's older brother, Matt, and his parents have kept him grounded despite the slew of accolades.

"Everything I accomplish, my brother will say 'Congratulations, but remember to stay humble,'" he said. "I get that text basically every time anything happens. It makes me remember where I came from and the work I put in."

Next season: Wieskamp has plenty to motivate him in the offseason for next year. He is closing in on Ricky Davis' all-time MAC scoring mark (1,619) and could supplant Jeff Horner (2,194) as the 4A scoring king in Iowa.

He'll be the favorite to win Mr. Basketball, an award given to the state's top senior. Nobody from the MAC has ever won it.

That said, the biggest objective is getting Muscatine to the state tournament. The program has been only twice in the last 57 years and not since 2002.

Wieskamp attended the 4A state quarterfinals earlier this month and admitted he visualized being on the court at Wells Fargo Arena.

"Probably my biggest goal for this upcoming season is make it to the state tournament," he said. "Hopefully, we won't get the No. 1 team in the state in our (substate). It would mean a lot because our community hasn't been there in a while."

Eye on the future: The 6-foot-6 wing already has thought about how he'll fit in with the Iowa Hawkeyes in two years.

Wieskamp admits lateral quickness and being able to guard any position on the floor is the next step in his development.

"My senior year is very important, but I'm trying to get myself ready for the college level," he said. "That's what truly matters at the end of the day. I'm going to watch a lot of games to see where I'll fit in and where my role will be and areas I can improve on so I'm ready for that level.

"My game is pretty well-rounded right now, but there is a lot to work on. Being successful at the high school level is one thing. Being successful at the college level is completely different."

— Matt Coss


Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.