Your Prep Sports
Football season is officially over in Iowa and Thanksgiving is just a few days away which means the start of the boys basketball season is right around the corner.
The season officially got going last week with the start of practice for teams across the state with every team seeking the same thing – a spot at the state tournament which is schedule for March 4-8 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Once again the Your Prep Sports area will feature some of the best teams and individual players in the state.
Here is a look at 10 boys basketball players to watch this winter.
Senior, West Branch
One of the most productive point guards in the state over the past two seasons Arnaman is coming off a record-setting junior year in which he solidified himself as one of the top playmaking point guards in the state.
Arnaman set single-season program records for assists and 3-pointers last year while earning second team Class 2A all-state honors after helping West Branch to a 12-11 record and a spot in a district semifinal.
The 6-foot-2 Arnaman averaged career highs in points and assists last season when he was one of only four players in the state to average more than 21 points and 5.5 assists per game.
Arnaman averaged 21.8 points and 5.7 assists per game setting single-season school records with 132 assists and 71 3-pointers.
A Minnesota State signee, Arnaman ranked second in 2A and 21st in the state in assists per game and also averaged 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
Arnaman scored in double figures in 22-of-23 games, had 20 or more points 14 times including three games with 35 or more points.
A three-year starter, Arnaman enters this final season with 970 career points and 309 assists.
Junior, West High
McCaffery followed up a strong debut season with a breakthrough sophomore campaign last winter while solidifying himself as one of the top players in the state.
The 6-foot-8 McCaffery led West High in points, rebounds and blocked shots and ranked third on the team in assists while helping the Trojans to a 12-11 record.
McCaffery averaged 16 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.9 blocked shots and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor including 36 percent from 3-point range and 70 percent from the free throw line.
In just his second varsity season McCaffery was one of only four players in the state, and the only player in Class 4A, to average at least 16 points, seven rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots per game.
McCaffery led 4A with 3.9 blocks and had three games with double digit blocked shots, recording a pair of point-rebound-blocked shot triple doubles.
After emerging as a go-to player for Solon late in his sophomore season Benzing enjoyed a breakthrough junior season last winter emerging as one of the best players in Class 3A.
Benzing led Solon in scoring and rebounding to help the Spartans to an 18-6 record and a spot in a Class 3A substate title game.
The 6-foot-3 Benzing led Solon with 17.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game on his way to earning second-team 3A all-state honors from the Iowa Prints Sports Writers Association and was a unanimous all-WAMAC East Division pick.
Benzing was as efficient as he was productive, shooting a team-high 52 percent from the field which included an impressive 46 percent (47-of-102) from 3-point range which ranked 11th best in Class 3A.
Benzing also shot 85 percent from the free throw line (44-of-52) to go with 1.1 steals and .5 blocked shots per game.
Regina took a step forward last season increasing its win total by three and finishing 9-13.
The emergence as Streb as a post presence on both ends of the court was a key part of the improvement for the Regals.
Streb will look to build on last season’s breakthrough as he attempts to help the Regals post their first winning season since 2020.
The 6-foot-2 Streb led Regina in scoring and was second on the team in rebounding last season on his way to being named to the River Valley Conference South Division first team.
Streb shot 51 percent from the floor and 65 percent from the free throw line while leading Regina with 13.4 points per game.
He scored in double figures 17 times in 22 games and closed the season by reaching double figures in 14 of the final 15 games.
Streb also averaged 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game and had six double-doubles.
Junior, City High
After getting a small taste of varsity action two seasons ago as a freshman Wright had his breakthrough last winter when he emerged as a back court leader for the Little Hawks.
Wright ranked second on the team in scoring and steals and led the Little Hawks in assists while being named to the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division second team.
The 5-foot-9 Wright averaged 9.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.2 steals per game during his first season as a full-time starter and will look to build on those numbers this winter.
Wright was efficient on the offensive end a year ago shooting 43 percent from the floor including 33 percent from 3-point range.
He ranked second on the team with 31 made 3-pointers and shot 66 percent from the free throw line (25-of-38).
Senior, Liberty High
This list is filled with players that had breakthrough seasons last winter.
One player that should be in line for a big-time breakthrough this season is Liberty High senior center Gage Kampman.
The 6-foot-9 Kampman has improved every season in a Lightning uniform and is coming off his best year yet last winter.
Kampman averaged career highs in points (7.1), rebounds (7), blocked shots (2.2) and assists (1.1) during a junior season in which he was among the most improved players in 4A.
With a year of starting experience under his belt Kampman has a chance to become a major factor on both ends of the court this season and should see his numbers soar.
Last season Kampman shot 52 percent from the field and 56 percent from the free throw line (22-of-39) but figures to be a much larger offensive threat in his final prep season.
Senior, Clear Creek Amana
In his first season in the Clear Creek Amana lineup Hardy made an immediate impact leading the Clippers in scoring and steals and ranking second on the team in both rebounds and assists.
Hardy averaged a team-high 12.6 points and 1.5 steals per game to go with 5.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest.
In 14 games last season Hardy shot 40 percent from the field and 55 percent from the free throw line while ranking third on the team in free throws made.
A 6-foot-2 guard, Hardy is a versatile playmaker that will be an important piece in a Clear Creek Amana lineup that returns five starters as the Clippers look to improve on a 5-17 record from last season.
Senior, West High
Earl will look to end what has been a strong career with a stellar senior season after an injury limited the West High guard to 15 games last winter.
Despite the injury Earl was still among the best players in Class 4A a year ago showing his versatility on both ends of the court.
Earl averaged 10.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and .9 steals per game while helping the Trojans to a 12-11 record.
A second-team Mississippi Valley Conference all-Valley Division selection, Earl was efficient on the offensive end of the court.
Earl shot 51 percent from the field including 50 percent from 3-point range (8-of-16) and was a 74 percent free throw shooter (23-of-31).
Senior, West Branch
In his two years in the West Branch lineup Trepanier has earned a reputation as one of the most hardworking and productive players in Class 2A.
Trepanier is coming off a breakthrough junior season in which he averaged a double-double and earned first team all-River Valley Conference South Division honors while helping the Bears to a 12-11 record.
The 6-foot Trepanier is undersized to play in the post but makes up for his lack of height with strength, toughness and effort.
Trepanier averaged 16.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last season while posting 13 double-doubles in 23 games.
In his breakthrough season Trepanier was one of only 10 players statewide to average a double-double while shooting 60 percent from the field and one of only two players in the state to accomplish that feat while also making at least 24 3-pointers.
Trepanier shot 62 percent from the field including 39 percent from 3-point range (24-of-51) and 67 percent from the free throw line.
Trepanier set a single-season school record with 235 rebounds and also averaged 2.5 assists and a team-leading 1.7 steals per game.
Senior, Liberty High
Like his teammate Kampman, Hughes took a big step last season after seeing action off the bench two seasons ago as a sophomore.
Hughes has ranked second on the team in 3-pointers each of the past two seasons and is coming off his best year last winter when he buried 57 3-pointers while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc.
The 6-foot-3 Hughes earned honorable mention all-Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division honors last season when he ranked second on the team with 11.5 points per game.
Hughes also averaged 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game a year ago.
With two of the top three scorers from last year’s Liberty High squad gone to graduation Hughes will be an even bigger factor in the Liberty High offensive plan.