Courier sports editor
Give it a couple years, and the Iowa State basketball team might just become known as “Indian Hills North.”
On Wednesday — the first day of the college basketball signing period — the Cyclones landed four players in a recruiting class ranked 24th in the nation by ESPN. Half of that recruiting class heads to Ames by way of Ottumwa, as Indian Hills teammates Dustin Hogue and Richard Amardi signed letters of intent to play at Iowa State.
Amardi is a 6-foot-9, 225 pound forward from Scarborough, Ontario, while Hogue is a 6-foot-6 forward from Yonkers, New York. Hogue will have two seasons of eligibility at Iowa State, but Amardi will have just one.
High school stars Matt Thomas and Monte Morris also signed with the Cyclones. Thomas is a 6-foot-4 guard who is considered among the best shooters in the nation. Morris is a 6-foot-1 point guard from Flint, Mich., and he and Thomas are considered consensus top-100 recruits.
Hogue and Amardi were just two of five Indian Hills players who signed letters of intent on Wednesday, a big day for coach Barret Peery and the Indian Hills basketball program. Four of the five are headed to high major programs.
Jameel McKay signed with Marquette, Jelan Kendrick signed with UNLV and Trinson White signed with Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Hogue is an athletic wing while Armardi should add size and help on the glass for Iowa State. Both are considered three-star recruits for Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg.
Hogue averaged 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds as a freshman last season at IHCC. Amardi just started his final season of junior college basketball at IHCC. He redshirted in 2009-10 at Weatherford College in Texas, and played 12 games for Weatherford in 2010-11, averaging 13.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. He will have one season of eligibility at Iowa State under the NCAA “five years to play four” rule.
McKay, a 6-foot-8, 190-pounder, is an athletic and active forward. He follows the footsteps of former IHCC star Dwight Buycks to Marquette, where he’ll play for coach Buzz Williams.
“I love his demeanor, and I am thankful he has made a decision to come here,” Williams said of McKay. “He has been coached very hard and won at every level throughout his career.
“We have had unprecedented success with transfers, and one of the core reasons, is they have a thankful heart for the opportunity, but an unyielding desire to have team success. Jameel fits into that category perfectly. We are extremely excited to welcome him back home to finish his career and expect great things during his tenure here.”
McKay was a first team junior college All-American as a freshman at IHCC. He led the team in scoring and rebounding, chipping in 14.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the Warriors.
Kendrick has already seen things not work out at Ole Miss and Memphis, but the 6-foot-6 sophomore will get a fresh start with coach Dave Rice at UNLV.
The Atlanta native, who was a McDonald’s All-American, didn’t play a single game at Memphis, as he left the team in early November of 2010. He played 18 games last season at Mississippi, averaging 5.1 points and 2.2 rebounds per game after sitting out the fall semester per NCAA transfer rules, but left the team after the regular season finale and did not compete in the SEC Tournament. He’s getting another chance this season at IHCC and should be in a good position to contribute at UNLV next year.
A native of Milwaukee, White played high school ball with Riverside University High School just blocks from Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The 6-foot-5 wing had been recruited by Milwaukee out of high school, but went the junior college route. His biggest benefit is no doubt his defensive abilities, but he can pass out of the post or along the perimeter and is good enough to play the 1, 2 or 3 spots at UMW.