How good is Rylan Murry? That exact question was posed the other night to his coach.
“He’s good,” said West Branch’s Stephen Bender. “We played Iowa City High in that Hall of Pride scrimmage before the season started, and (City High Coach) Don Showalter told me after it was over that Rylan was good enough to play at any of the four Iowa schools.”
Showalter knows talent. He’s a hall of famer who has done extensive work with AAU basketball.
Murry, a 6-foot-8 senior, has West Branch off to a 4-1 start behind a gaudy scoring average of 26.2 points. And that’s despite being the focus of every opponent’s defense and the absence of 6-6 senior teammate Cody Brandt, who is out injured.
He recently surpassed Marv Cook as the school’s all-time career scorer. The kid isn’t all about points, either, as he had a near triple-double of 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in a blowout win Tuesday night over Iowa City Regina.
“He lost 15 pounds in the offseason and that has improved his quickness and jumping,” Bender said. “I was a sophomore coach at Indianola at one time, so I’ve seen a lot of really good players over the years. He’s the best I’ve seen.”
Murry has signed with Nebraska-Omaha, a fledgling Division I program. He also had offers from South Dakota, North Dakota and Keno Davis at Central Michigan.
The high-DIs stayed away from him, which Bender thinks was a mistake.
“They didn’t think he was quite as athletic as he needs to be,” Bender said. “But I tell you, he makes up for that with his skill set. He can shoot the 3-pointer, and he can handle the basketball.”
Around the hoop
– A pair of Upper Iowa University signees have begun playing again for their respective Metro teams.
Linn-Mar’s Jimmy Roth played Tuesday night against Dubuque Senior after sitting the first four games for a violation of school/team policy. Cedar Rapids Prairie point guard Jace Hanna has returned after missing his team’s first four games because of a severe ankle injury incurred in football.
– Among the top 10 scorers in the state at this early stage of the season are West Branch’s Murry and guard Bryan Forbes of Lone Tree. Forbes is averaging 24.7 points, bolstered by a state-leading 53 made free throws.
Also in the top 10 is West Des Moines Valley’s Peter Jok (25.7 PPG), who has signed with Iowa.
– There can’t be a foreign-exchange student who has made more of an impact on his team than Sigourney’s Vaclav Bujnoch. The Czech Republic resident is averaging just under 23 points per game for the Savages (3-2). Last season, he was a first-team all-South Iowa Cedar League player.