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Murrell

Forward Max Murrell of Millard North High School in Nebraska is one of the basketball prospects who will make an official visit to Iowa in the coming weeks.

The early signing period for NCAA Division I college basketball programs is only a little more than two months away and the University of Iowa has only one verbal commitment.

But that is likely to change over the next five or six weeks as the recruiting calendar heads into the home stretch.

The Hawkeyes have official visits scheduled with at least a half dozen different players in September and October with one of those being Chicago Heights Marian Catholic guard Ahron Ulis, the one player who already has committed to them.

They are likely to sign at least three players during the early signing period — Nov. 13-19 — although you could see them sign four if they get the players they want.

They already have one vacant scholarship and will get two more with Ryan Kriener and graduate transfer Bakari Evelyn completing their eligibility this season. Jordan Bohannon’s status for the coming season is questionable because of off-season hip surgery but if he ends up playing this winter, they would have four scholarships with which to work.

There always is the chance more scholarships could open up later on because of transfers or players turning pro.

The guess is that Iowa will try to sign a point guard, a big man and a wing player and it also might sign another forward if it has enough scholarships.

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The scheduled visits, according to Rivals.com, are from Ulis (this coming weekend), Omaha forward Max Murrell (also this weekend), Kansas guard Ty Berry (Sept. 21), Minnesota 7-footer Steven Crowl (Sept. 27), Oskaloosa big man Xavier Foster (Oct. 11) and Albany, New York, wing player Andre Jackson (Oct. 19).

You would have to think Foster, the 24th-ranked player in the country, is the big priority. He visited Iowa State this past weekend and also is scheduled to visit Virginia Tech on Sept. 11.

The 6-foot-6 Jackson is the other top-50 player in that group. The primary competition for him would seem to be Connecticut (where he visited last spring) and Syracuse.

Murrell, a slender 6-foot-9 forward who has been compared to Aaron White, also would be a nice fit and the competition for him doesn’t seem quite as stiff although interest in him heightened considerably with various teams during the summer months. He has risen to No. 99 on Rivals’ national list in recent months. His only other scheduled visit was to TCU last weekend but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other programs involved in the battle for his services.

Crowl, who also has seen his stock rise greatly in recent months, has three other visits scheduled before he even gets to Iowa. He visited the hometown Gophers over the weekend and goes to Wisconsin and Colorado the next two weeks.

Berry is a 6-foot-4 guard who is No. 126 on Rivals’ most recent list. He had been viewed by some as a point guard but he and Ulis both probably are capable of playing either guard spot. Berry visited Northwestern last month.

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