Iowa CITY, Ia. - Martin Brothers Select created noise on the AAU scene with a U-17 team stocked with Division I talent this summer. The Iowa Barnstormers boasted a talent-rich 15-U team already turning heads of college coaches.
"I think this is the best class that we've had out of the Barnstormers, potentially, ever," Program Co-Director and Coach Greg Stephen said. "That includes the (Josh) Oglesby-(Seth) Tuttle class and others. It's hard to project right now just because they're so young, but our sixth and seventh man have the potential to be low to mid-major players."
Marcus Paige (North Carolina verbal), Mike Gesell (Iowa verbal), Adam Woodbury (NC, OSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc. offers) and Kale Abrahamson (Northwestern verbal) led Martin Brothers to national recognition in 2011.
"That'd be a lot of pressure to say our guys could live up to that," Stephen said. "That's a heck of a class. I think this class as the potential, depth-wise, to be that strong.
"I don't know if we're going to have guys get to the level of a Marcus Paige or an Adam Woodbury. You're going to have to talk to me in another year and a half or so."
Casey Schlatter, a versatile 6-8 forward from Iowa Falls-Alden, has received scholarship offers from Northern Iowa and Creighton. Dubuque Senior's Kyle Haber (6-foot-6) has garnered plenty of early interest from mid to high major programs.
"Seth and Casey have sparked the most interest (from college coaches) because of their size at their position," Stephen said. "Kyle, as a guard, it's a little bit slower, but it's really starting to pick up right now.
"I think the next month is going to be really important to those guys with the coaches coming out for open gyms."
Stephen said the college coaches love Bonifas' upside, Schlatter's shooting ability at 6-8 and Haber's basketball IQ.
"At 6-6, he can play multiple positions," Stephen said. "He's long. He's just always in the right place at the right time."
The Hawkeyes like Schlatter and Haber.
After the Top 3, Wyatt Lohaus from Iowa City West and Matt Nelson from Cedar Rapids Xavier are receiving Division I attention, Stephen said. The former is the son of Hawkeye great and long-time NBA player Brad Lohaus. Nelson also could end up being a Division I football player.
"Wyatt is a 6-1 point guard with the potential to grow," Stephen said. "He does have a 7-foot- dad. Wyatt is very skilled for his position and probably works harder than anybody I've ever worked with. He's going to be one that's pretty special."
Nelson stands 6-8 and plays a power game.
"He actually started ahead of Seth this year at the five for us," Stephen said. "Next year, we hope to play them together a little bit more. At the 15-year-old level when you're playing man-to-man, very rarely can you throw that many big kids out there at the same time when the other teams' bigs are like 6-4.
"He actually is ahead of where Seth is right now. He's really skilled. He's really strong. He's about 210 (pounds) or so. He's physically more developed than Seth at this point. I know Iowa is going to have him come in on a visit to watch a football game."
"We had nine of our 11 kids (on 15-U) all started varsity at the (Class) 3A or 4A level, which is pretty crazy when you think about that," the coach said. "They've got some great experience under their belt and it shows when they play together."