IOWA CITY, Iowa - Cordell Pemsl decided in May that Iowa City would be his future home. Tuesday night, he provided the locals with a preview of what he'll bring to the Hawkeyes in a few years.
Pemsl, a junior, led his Dubuque Wahlert High team against three-time defending Class 4A state champion Iowa City West. The home team won this match-up, 80-66.
The Trojans proved too deep for Wahlert, which won the 3A crown last winter. The 6-foot-8 Pemsl finished with 17 points (6 of 8 from the floor) and grabbed seven rebounds in a losing effort.
EVALUATION: The thing that most sticks out about Pemsl is his versatile skill set packed into a big body. It fits Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery's system of moving parts.
Pemsl handles the ball and passes it very well for a player who spends much of his time on the low block in high school. He looks comfortable shooting the three-point shot (he sank his only attempt in this game).
While he's big bodied with broad shoulders, Pemsl runs the floor with ease. He jumps well and gets off the floor quickly, not needing much time to gather himself.
Pemsl's understanding of help defense is beyond his years. He sees the floor well and is unselfish on offense and defense.
While high school guards often struggle to feed the post consistently, which happened on this night, Pemsl still can work on that aspect of his game. He gets caught behind fronting-defenders too often and calls for the ball to be lobbed into him. That's a very tough entry pass.
Working on strengthening his lower body and bumping his backside against the player guarding him would make Pemsl a more attractive target. And he passes the ball well enough to set up teammates if the double-team comes in these instances.
Pemsl opens up opportunities for his teammates by occupying the attention of multiple defenders as happened against West. To his credit, he didn't force the action and played with the offense.
Overall, Pemsl looks the part of productive combo-forward at the next level. Considering he still has a year and a half of prep basketball to play, what he's already doing impresses.