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College Basketball: Cyclones sign top-15 class

This news story was published on November 15, 2019.
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AMES – Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm and the men’s basketball program have announced the signing of a top-15 class as four players signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Cyclones Wednesday.

The class, which ranks No. 15 nationally in 247sports latest team rankings, includes three players that received four-star rankings from national recruiting experts, including the fifth-ranked player in school history since the beginning of the internet rankings era.

“I thought we had to have a great class this fall,” Prohm said. “We wanted to identify a couple things. Versatility number one, skill level number two and then size. I thought we had to get bigger on the perimeter. I think that’s one thing that made us so good a year ago. I think we’ve made really great steps into doing that this year.”

Iowa State capped the class off on Monday with the commitment of four-star forward Xavier Foster. The 7-foot in-state recruit from Oskaloosa captured the attention of the Cyclone coaches as a freshman and from that point was a major focus.

Foster is the No. 59 recruit nationally according to 247sports composite ranking, which combines 247sports, Rivals and ESPN rankings. He topped out at No. 51 in the ESPN100 rankings.

As a junior at Oskaloosa High School, Foster was second in Iowa blocking 148 shots (6.2 per game) to go along with 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds. He helped lead the Indians to a state championship, scoring 12 points in the title game.

“It is obviously great to get a great in-state kid,” Prohm said. “We’ve probably recruited him longer than I’ve recruited a kid. A guy with length and great size. But he has the ability to stretch the defense, shoots the three with really, really good confidence and a great stroke. He’s also got the ability to really rim run and really protect the paint. He’s a guy we’re looking to come in on campus and do some great things for us. Great to get a really good in-state player from just up the road.”

Foster committed to the Cyclones over Iowa, Providence, Baylor and Virginia Tech.

Iowa State also signed 6-6 forward Dudley Blackwell out of Miami, Florida. Blackwell is attending his final year of high school at Huntington Prep in West Virginia after averaging 15.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists last season at Somerset Academy Charter.

Blackwell is rated as a top-100 four-star by ESPN100, coming in at No. 91 in their rankings. The 247 composite lists him as the No. 150 signee in the class. Blackwell also had offers from Oklahoma State and Mississippi State.

“Dudley is another guy we were on for a long time,” Prohm said. “We’ve recruited him for the last year or two, really since Coach (James) Kane got here. He’s a guy that’s at a great prep school right now at Huntington Prep, playing against extremely good competition. Dudley has great size and is another guy with great versatility and great length. He can play multiple positions for us at the forward spot. But he’s almost like a point forward. I think the best attribute he brings to the table is his ability to make people better and pass the basketball. With him and Jaden (Walker), those are two really good playmakers that we’ve added to the team.”

Four-star Jaden Walker committed to Iowa State earlier this fall after his official visit, picking the Cyclones over Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech and New Mexico. The 6-5 point guard from Lawrenceville, Georgia, will attend Core 4 Prep after spending the last three seasons at Discovery High School (Ga.), where he averaged 12 points, six rebounds and four assists as a junior.

A top-300 recruit, Walker was Region 6 AAAAAAA All-Region and Gwinnett All-County as a junior after helping DHS to a 24-6 record while advancing to the Elite 8.

“We are really excited to add Jaden to our program,” Prohm said. “He’s a guy we identified kind of late in the spring and then we watched him all summer. What he brings to the table right away is great versatility. Jaden is a really, really skilled guard. He kind of reminded me of (Tyrese) Haliburton when I first saw him, from the standpoint of he can play multiple positions. He can play one and can distribute the ball, can pass and make people better. But he’s got great length, great size and that’s the one thing we really wanted to address in this class…is getting more versatile, but also adding more size and length on the perimeter and I think we did that.”

The final signee of the heralded class is Darlinstone Dubar, a 6-6 guard from Charlotte, North Carolina. The Cyclones learned of Dubar late, but from that point were focused on adding him to their versatile class.

The three-star guard committed to the Cyclones earlier this month after fielding offers from Maryland, Wichita State, Seton Hall, Auburn and Notre Dame, as well as others.

Dubar will attend Scotland Campus Sports (Pa.) this season after spending time at Rocky River High School (N.C.) and Athens Prep (Tenn.).

“DStone is a guy we identified late,” Prohm said. “He’s at a prep school where we recruited a kid, Clarence (Nadolny) that ended up at Texas Tech. We recruited up there a lot last year and we identified DStone late in the process this fall. He’s a guy again that’s a versatile guard. He can play the two, can play the three and can score at all three levels. You can post him some, he’s got mid-range game but can also stretch it out to three. But again, 6-6 with great length, great size and can play multiple positions. So I’m really excited about him and this class.”

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