adidas superstars Carton bring national attention to MAC
Bettendorf junior DJ Carton has made a couple unofficial recruiting visits to Iowa City in recent months. In doing so, he has crossed paths and had multiple conversations with Wieskamp.
“I’m in his ear a decent amount trying to get him to join us,” Wieskamp admitted. “I’m trying to let him enjoy the recruiting process and do his own thing, but at the same time I’m letting him know we want him pretty bad.”
The MAC has produced several Division I basketball players in recent years Nicholas Baer, Cortez Seales, Marlon Stewart and Brady Ernst but none of them have generated the national buzz Wieskamp and Carton have.
For the first time since Rivals started its rankings system in 2003, the MAC has two four star recruits and two players listed in the nation’s top 75.
Wieskamp, a 6 foot 6 wing, is 40th overall in the 2018 class. Carton, a 6 2 point guard, is 70th in the 2019 class.
They have brought additional exposure and publicity to the conference. They are certain to bring more spectators to MAC gymnasiums this winter.
“Absolutely,” Bettendorf coach Curtis Clark said. “When you have two kids like that on a national level, the general basketball fan wants to come out and see how good they really are. It is special, not something you witness every day.”
Davenport West coach Mark Bigler remembers a similar situation when he coached former Hawkeye and NBA player Ryan Bowen at Fort Madison.
“We filled our gym up because he was going to Iowa,” Bigler said. “That’s what Muscatine is going to experience. And depending on where (Carton) commits, you’ll have Wisconsin, Illinois or Iowa fans looking him up.
“It is nice because it allows them to see other kids in our league. It creates a more exciting atmosphere for the kids, and it already is pretty good.”
Assumption graduate Ed Conroy is an assistant coach at Minnesota recruiting Carton. Because of his schedule in the past, as a head coach at Tulane and The Citadel, he’s never attended the annual bi state Genesis Shootout in mid December. He plans to make the trek Dec. 16. play, and he was really excited about having the opportunity to come for the Shootout,” Clark said.
Besides excitement in the stands, it invigorates opposing players in the conference to be at their best when they match up with Wieskamp or Carton.
“When you have a group of kids that are a little more blue collar like our group, there is pride in that,” Pleasant Valley coach Steve Hillman said. “We’re not a team that has any Division I players or individuals that people are going to specifically come watch, so our kids get fired up for those opportunities to play against those really good players.”
Wieskamp sparks a communityMuscatine coach Gary Belger describes Wieskamp as a throwback.
“He’s like a player from the 1970s or 1980s,” Belger said. “He has great talent, a marvelous mind and a totally unselfish attitude.”
Wieskamp has been front and center of Muscatine’s program since he walked through the doors as a freshman.
He averaged 18.6 points and more than 6 rebounds per game for what was a 7 15 team.
The production has improved each year 21.6 points as a sophomore and a state leading 30.4 points last year. Muscatine has won 15 games each of the past two winters, and he was named Iowa’s Gatorade Player of the Year last season.
In Friday’s season opener at Washington, he registered 37 points in three quarters.
“Wieskamp is as good of a high school player as our program has ever faced,” Hillman said.
It has brought attention to Muscatine, a school with minimal basketball tradition.
“Having a kid come out of Muscatine like this, one of Iowa’s highest recruits ever, is crazy,” teammate Jackson Foulk said. “Being a one high school town, it really gives the community a lot to rally behind with a player of this magnitude.”
Wieskamp broke the school’s all time scoring record early in his junior season. He’s 10 points from surpassing Ricky Davis (1,619 points) as the league’s career scoring leader and could chase down Jeff Horner’s total of 2,194 points as the all time scoring leader in Iowa Class 4A.
“I never thought any of this would happen,” Wieskamp said. “I didn’t even think about anything like that and those kind of records. I wanted to go play.
“As the years have gone on, those things have popped up.”
Wieskamp, who had 50 points in a game last season, shot better than 56 percent from the field and 41 percent from the 3 point line last year.