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Local Sports

Wieskamp shines in loss

The media is not in the rooting business. We typically are supposed to remain neutral and not root for any team to win or lose while on the job.

I don’t do a very good job of this when it came to Muscatine’s Joe Wieskamp.

When the Class 4A playoff brackets were released, after searching for who Newton was going to have to beat to get back to state, I searched for the Muskies’ draw.

I wasn’t sure Muscatine had enough to get to state, but Wieskamp’s crew got the job done. And I was happy they did.

Wieskamp is considered one of the greatest basketball players to put on a high school uniform in the state of Iowa. He averaged more than 34 points and 14 rebounds this season, and he will for Iowa next season.

After Muscatine defeated Linn-Mar to advance to the state tournament, I was hoping the Muskies would get a Tuesday night game at Wells Fargo Arena.

That meant I could drive over to Des Moines and watch him play, something I can never do during the season.

It ended up being the perfect scenario for me. I got to watch Wieskamp vs. Patrick McCaffery, who will both play for Iowa and are both the highest ranked player in the state in their respective classes.

Before that, I was able to catch the second half of Oskaloosa’s first-round game and checked out 2020 five-star prospect Xavier Foster in action.

All three players showed why they are highly ranked.

But back to Wieskamp.

I knew the buzz for him was going to be big. I figured I would have to fight a larger crowd to see him play. And the usher taking my ticket as I walked into the arena confirmed it.

“Who are you here to see tonight,” the usher asked.

I responded with, “just a few players who are really good.”

The usher’s next comment was, “yeah I heard the guy who is going to save Iowa basketball is playing tonight.”

Iowa fans hope Wieskamp can provide the Hawkeyes with a big lift when he gets to Iowa City.

I do think he’ll make an immediate impact and score at least 10 points per game next year.

He’s one of those players who looks college ready right now. He’s tall, athletic, can jump out of the gym and is an elite scorer.

He missed all four of his 3-pointers last night but had a few crowd-pleasing dunks and finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds against the defending champion Trojans.

Wieskamp and McCaffery will be teammates in two years. On Tuesday, Wieskamp got the better of McCaffery in one-on-one matchups.

The Iowa City West junior blocked a shot inside the lane by Wieskamp early, but the Muscatine senior blew by McCaffery on a few drives in the second half.

Wieskamp tried to put his team on his back in the second half. He only had two points in the first quarter.

Iowa City West was just too deep though, and advanced to Thursday’s semifinal.

Wieskamp graduates as the all-time leading scorer in 4A basketball in the state of Iowa.

And Iowa fans hope he takes the Hawkeyes back to the NCAA Tournament.

Contact Troy Hyde

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