News: On Wednesday, Iowa basketball landed its fourth commitment in the 2023 class in Newark (NJ) St. Benedict’s three-star power forward Ladji Dembele. The 6-foot-9 Dembele picked the Hawkeyes over finalists Wake Forest and Rutgers, while Pittsburgh, DePaul, and Seton Hall had also offered Dembele. Dembele took an official visit to Iowa a few weeks ago and the Hawkeyes put their best foot forward on the visit to land him.
Dembele is the fourth member of Iowa’s 2023 class and joins Waukee Northwest four-star wing Pryce SandfortMoline (Ill.) three-star forward Owen Freeman and three-star point guard Brock Harding.
Dembele has also signed his letter of intent with the Hawkeyes.
Per 247Sports, Dembele is listed as the No. 34 power forward in the class of 2023 and the No. 9 prospect from the state of New Jersey in his class.
Scouting Report: “Dembele was another big draw. He has more of a power body, but with an inside-out skill-set as he can knock down open threes from the top of the key and is beginning to assert himself more inside and utilize his strong frame to score with both hands around the rim.” – 247Sports’ Adam Finklestein
Commitment Impact: Dembele is the cherry on top for Iowa in the 2023 class. The Hawkeyes have three signees already in Harding, Sandfort, and Freeman that will all develop prominent roles for the Hawkeyes in due time, and Dembele fits that mold, too.
Iowa wanted to land another high school big man in this class. Freeman can make an early impact for Iowa, while Dembele may be more of a development piece that can provide depth on the interior with his size and strength.
iowa assistant coach Courtney Eldridge was the point man for Iowa in this recruitment, while McCaffery also played a key role. Iowa went to see Dembele a few times this fall during open gyms and were sold on his upside and potential.
The frontcourt situation for Iowa is murky after Filip Rebracawho is playing his last year of college basketball. Josh Ogundele and Riley Mulvey are still developing, and Iowa needs pieces that can make early impacts depending on how Ogundele and Mulvey continue to develop.
Dembele may not be an immediate impact player, but he provides more depth on the inside and that is something that Iowa needs. The Hawkeyes are still involved with Ellsworth Community College forward Saliou Seye and the Hawkeyes could go to the transfer portal to land a big man, too. Dembele is a notable pick up for Iowa as well as the Hawkeyes continue to recruit the east coast and grow their footprint in that part of the country with Eldridge and McCaffery’s ties.
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