Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery landed a key recruit for his 2016 class Thursday in 6'9", 240-pound power forward Ryan Kriener. A native of Spirit Lake, Iowa, 247Sports Composite ranks Kriener 164th in the class, 34th at power forward, and first in the state of Iowa. The 3-star prospect becomes the second commitment in Iowa's class of 2016. The first was another 3-star power forward and fellow Iowa native Cordell Pemsl, who committed to Iowa a year ago.
Kriener's commitment helps address a need for frontcourt players in the Hawkeyes' upcoming recruiting classes. Iowa's 2015 class is composed of two guards, two small forwards, and an undersized power forward. Although all five are between 6'5" and 6'7", there was concern the team was getting too heavy on perimeter players.
I am extremely blessed to say, I committed to be an Iowa Hawkeye today! #HawkeyeNation— Ryan Kriener (@4theTRIBE) July 30, 2015
By all accounts Kriener is a rising star in the 2016 class and more major programs were beginning to show interest. However, he's known he wanted to go to Iowa for a while. While he began to rack up scholarship offers from quality programs, including Minnesota, Missouri, Wichita State, DePaul, Northern Iowa and other mid-majors, all along Kriener was just waiting for the Iowa offer. He ultimately announced his decision just two days after it came.
"I was trying to stay open-minded, but once Iowa offered I knew right away," he told the Des Moines Register. "Iowa has always been the school I've wanted to go to. It's where my heart is and it's where I want to be."
First off, he dunks everything, which I love. Those dunks are part of the reason his efficiency was off the charts during his junior season at Spirit Lake HS where he averaged 19.8 points on 71.3% shooting. I wouldn't call Kriener an explosive athlete, but he's good enough to compete in the Big Ten and knows how to get to the rim and finish strong. From his videos, it seems like he can use both hands around the rim pretty well, but honestly there were so many dunks in his mixtapes it kind of left a small sample size of layups and jumpers.
Kriener has a high motor and is very active on both sides of the ball. He's a tenacious defender and does a good job staying engaged. He should be able to play, as well as defend, the 4 and 5 positions in college. He's versatile for a post player because he has a great combination of quickness and strength, but still does the vast majority of his work inside the paint. Part of the reason for that may be because he doesn't have to show some of the other skills right now with the level of talent he plays against in high school. The tipping point for the Iowa offer, however, was his stellar play with his AAU team Martin Brothers, winning a Division I AAU National Championship this summer.
Kriener has good footwork and a solid foundation of post moves that's ahead of where most bigs are heading into college. He has pretty good ball-handling skills for his size and is able to run the floor very well in transition. The jury's still out on his jump shot, but with improvement he could be a nice inside-out player.
Kriener will use his senior season to refine parts of his game and work on his perimeter shooting touch, but he's the type of player that will be able to step in immediately and contribute to the team in one way or another, even if it's not with offense. This was a great under-the-radar pickup for the Hawkeyes as Kriener's stock continues to rise.