While Iowa's still trying to put the finishing touches on their 2014 hoops recruiting class (Nevada transfer Cole Huff looks like the last option that could join that group and he's expected to decide soon after visiting Iowa on Thursday; remember that, due to transfer rules, he won't be eligible to play for the Hawkeyes until the 2015-16 season if he does choose Iowa, though), they're also still looking ahead to future recruiting classes. They added a commitment from Class of '15 prospect Brandon Hutton (out of Chicago) in March and yesterday they added the first member of their Class of '16 recruiting class: Dubuque Wahlert big man Cordell Pemsl.
Proud to call myself a hawkeye! Can't wait to see the team excel these next couple years before I officially step onto campus! #GoHawks— Cordell Pemsl (@c_pemsl40) May 1, 2014
It was a whirlwind recruitment process for Pemsl, who also had offers from Creighton and UNI (and interest from Wichita State). Iowa offered Pemsl just a week ago and he gave his verbal commitment during a visit to Iowa City yesterday. Pemsl led Dubuque Wahler to the Class 3A state title in March, averaging 15.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He's projected to be the top in-state recruit in the 2016 recruiting class, so securing his services now could pay huge dividends in the future.
Pemsl is already a pretty big kid as a high school sophomore -- 6-7, 230 -- but he could still have considerable growth ahead of him, too:
Pemsl, who also pitches and plays first base in baseball, said doctors have told him that he could grow to 6-10.
"They told me my growth plates were still open," Pemsl said. "They're hoping I get to 6-10."
That potential for growth is a big part of what could make Pemsl such a coveted prospect. The last prospect to come out of Iowa with that kind of size and skill was probably Adam Woodbury -- and he was a 4*, ESPN Top 100 type that garnered offers far and wide (including, you know, North Carolina). And Pemsl seems to be a bit more athletic than Woodbury, to boot.
Right now Pemsl is able to dominate a lot of his competition because he's taller, stronger, and a step quicker than a lot of the guys trying to guard him. That likely won't be the case at the D-I level, but it does give him an excellent physical base to start from, especially if he continues to get bigger without losing too much in the way of quickness or agility. Just look at the video above: Pemsl is able to score on the low post, but he also looks smooth in transition and has a decent-looking jump shot. Or listen to Pemsl himself:
"I would say I'm good back to the basket, and if I've got a slower guy on me I can take him off the dribble," Pemsl said when asked to scout himself. "You also have to honor my mid-range and 3-pointer."
That's an impressively diverse set of skills for such a young player, although the standard caveats about competition and highlight clips apply. It's easy to see why Fran would be so intrigued by Pemsl, though: he's prized length, athleticism, and diverse skill sets among recruits since he arrived and Pemsl seems to fit his vision quite well.
We're a long, long way from seeing Pemsl suit up in black and gold -- he can't even make his commitment to Iowa official until November 2015, a full 18 months in the future -- and the competition for his services could heat up if he continues to grow (literally) and refine his skills over the next two years. (I really do think that he could attract Woodbury-levels of attention if he does in fact get up to 6-10.) But he grew up a Hawkeye fan and Iowa's obviously been in on him early (see: offering him as a high school sophomore), so Fran & Co. appear to be in very good position to keep Pemsl from changing his mind if (or when) the recruiting hype around him heats up. For now, though, welcome aboard, Mr. Pemsl -- we'll see you in a few years.