OTTUMWA – Despite being somewhat limited by recruiting restrictions that were in place for most of the spring, Indian Hills basketball coach Hank Plona has made good progress on putting together his roster for the 2020-21 season. Plona has announced the signing of six new players to letters of intent. Three of the six are recent high school/prep school graduates and the other three are NCAA Division I transfers.
The IHCC signees include Braxton Bayless, Curtis Jones, Mouhamadou Mbow, Levar Williams, Marcedus Leech and Tyem Freeman.
Plona commented on each of the future Warriors:
“Braxton Bayless is a big signing for us. He was the MVP of the Iowa Class 4A State Tournament, leading Ankeny High School to a state championship. Braxton is a do-it-all point guard that is going to continue to improve fast. Coach Brandt Carlson did a fantastic job helping Braxton develop his skills and confidence to where he was the best player in the state in March. We are looking forward to getting Braxton on the floor at the Hellyer Center!”
“Curtis Jones is a guy that we heard about this spring who will fit in great here at Indian Hills. Curtis is a winner! He played for Coach Jerry Kline at one of the best high schools in Minnesota at Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, which is a program that has consistently produced productive Division 1 players. Curtis has deep range and his shot-making will be a huge part of our team. He is a hard worker that will fit right into the culture that we have here at Indian Hills and he will be an impact guy from Day 1.”
“Mouhamadou Mbow is a talented, skilled forward that can play multiple positions. He played at Victory Rock Prep in Florida, the same school that Tomas Woldetensae came here from. Coach Loren Jackson is one of the best player development coaches in the country at any level. Mouhamadou is a hard-working, humble kid who has improved a ton the past few years, and he is a guy that will be a productive player on both ends of the floor right away for us.”
“Levar Williams is a Division I transfer from NJIT. He had valuable game experience last year at the DI level, and we are counting on him to make an immediate impact similar to Chris Childs, Shane Gatling, and others that we have coached. Levar is a deep-range shooter who will have a green light from the minute he walks in the gym. Levar played for Sean Ryan, who coached Division 1 basketball for over a decade at Burke High School in Boston, one of the premier programs in the state. Levar’s experience, work ethic, and confidence will make him a big-time player here at Indian Hills.
“I am very excited about Marcedus Leech, who was considered one of the best incoming recruits in the Big 12 at Iowa State last season before choosing to redshirt his freshman year. Marcedus is a talent that can play anywhere on the floor and guard anybody. His versatility and ability to score in many different ways will be valuable for us. He played at Jonesboro High School in Arkansas for Coach Wes Swift, consistently one of the best programs in the state. Marcedus has a passion for the game that is unique and we think he could end up having a huge year for us.”
“Tyem Freeman enrolled at Indian Hills in February, so we have gotten a little bit of a head start with him. He fit right in on our team last year and was able to be a part of our success in February and March after leaving Missouri State. Tyem is as athletic as anybody we have coached here, and is a highlight waiting to happen. In addition, he is smart, is a great passer, and is willing to do whatever is asked to help us win games. Tyem is going to be a huge part of our team this upcoming year.”
The newcomers will join Tyrese Nickelson, Theo Bourgeois, Ben Lyon and Chris Payton, the returners from last year’s conference champion 30-3 squad that earned a national tournament berth.
“I am very excited about the group that we have put together,” Plona said. “All of the players we have added come from winning programs and understand that team success will lead to individual success. I like where we are at right now. We are still going to add a few more pieces during the summer. I think we still need to address the frontcourt for sure, and add some size, but I do think we have a great core group. I am excited about each and every player we have signed, and think that adding them to a core group of Nickelson, Bourgeois, Lyon and Payton creates a team that can compete with anyone in junior college.”