Iowa offered Sandfort back in June 2019 and had made him a top recruiting priority ever since.


Don’t get too caught up in Payton Sandfort’s 45% stroke from long range.

Yes, the Waukee wing is a 3-point marksman. And, yes, that was the primary reason Iowa, and other schools, such as Stanford, Utah, Drake and Minnesota, recruited him.

But this 6-foot-7 future Hawkeye can do a lot more than shoot.

Sandfort averaged 19.8 points along with 8.7 rebounds and four assists last season, compared with just 1.7 turnovers per game. It may sound painfully simple, but any prospect who can pass, dribble and shoot at a high level is an excellent get.

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Waukee’s Payton Sandfort brings the ball down the court during the Johnston at Waukee boys’ basketball game on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in Waukee.  (Photo: Kelsey Kremer/The Register)

His averages of four assists and just 1.7 turnovers per game show he can pass. And he can shoot the lights out; he knocked down 45.3% of his 3-pointers as a junior, and he drained 44.8% a couple years ago as a sophomore. Sandfort made a name for himself as one of the Midwest’s top shooters on the AAU circuit this summer with Kingdom Hoops. Heck, the main reason Iowa gave him his first offer in June 2019 was because I’m told he made an insane amount of 3-pointers at the regional high school showcase in Missouri.

The only area of his game that was perhaps lacking entering his junior season was his dribbling and ball-handling. But he worked that area into a strength, often manning point guard duties alongside Tucker DeVries for Waukee last season.

At Iowa, he will primarily be asked to knock down 3-pointers. He’s a great fit for the Hawkeyes’ fast-tempo, up-and-down offense because his release is among the quickest in the country, and he’s a natural in rapid catch-and-shoot or transition situations.

Think C.J. Fredrick, but bigger and longer. Sandfort will be able to defend guards and forwards at Iowa, making him a versatile, switchable piece on defense.

Bottom line: There’s a reason Sandfort is the Register’s No. 2 in-state 2021 prospect, and there’s a reason he was current target No. 1 for Fran McCaffery — who has compared Sandfort to former Hawkeyes Jarrod Uthoff and Joe Wieskamp.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network.  Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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