This winter there was a new buzz around the Muscatine boys’ basketball team. Basketball fans from around southeast Iowa were planning trips to see the Muskies. The reason for all the external attention around the program is in part due to Joe Wieskamp, a 6’6” sophomore guard on the Muskie roster who is rated as the 20th best player in the entire country by ESPN Scouts Inc. for the basketball class of 2018. Internally, the Muskies really had one of their best seasons in recent history carried by the leadership of Wieskamp’s fellow captains graduating seniors Ben Morgan, and Matt Shellabarger. This past season included a dramatic overtime victory over Pleasant Valley who at the time was undefeated.
Wieskamp has grown up in and around athletics. His father, Steve, was a standout basketball player at Muscatine High School who played basketball at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA, prior to finishing his college degree at the University of Northern Iowa. His older brother Matt was a highly acclaimed quarterback and punter for the Muscatine football program and just finished his redshirt year on the Western Illinois Football team. Joe was recently named first team All-State by the Iowa Newspaper Association, joining Mississippi Athletic Conference Player of the Year Will Carius and Wieskamp’s future University of Iowa Hawkeye teammate Connor McCaffery. The accolades will continue to pour in for this young sophomore, but when he was asked about what goals he had for the future he said, “I want to continue to change the culture of Muskie basketball. I want to be on winning teams and continue to build on what we did this past season.”
Wieskamp continues to work on his skills. When asked about who his influences are, he said, “My dad is a big influence on me, as well as my AAU coach KC Schmitt.” Wieskamp also plays for the Iowa Barnstormers AAU program. “My dad and coaches are always showing me ways to get better and how to handle the different things that teams try to do to stop me.” When asked about his workout routine he said, “I have been working hard to increase my quickness and agility. When I do a shooting workout I usually get between 1,000 and 2,000 shots in.” KC Schmitt said, “Joe is a kid you rarely have to get on, he has an unbelievable work ethic that is the top half of a percent in the country.” Schmitt added, “Joe is a long way from being finished, as polished as he is now, he has a lot more in him.”
Wieskamp is on pace to be MHS’s all-time leading scorer and may have a shot at the rebounding crown as well. He has 905 career points as a sophomore, just 161 behind former Muskie and St. Ambrose star Josh Miller. When asked about breaking records, Wieskamp responded, “I look at the boards in the school, and I want to break those records. But I want to win more.”
Wieskamp likes to hang out with his family. He is the second oldest of four brothers. When he is not working out or excelling in the classroom, he likes to spend time by himself or with his family. Like a normal teenager, he watches Netflix. His laid back nature is one of the reasons he ended his college recruiting process the summer after his freshman year. Wieskamp said, “I knew I was really happy with Iowa and grew up liking the Hawkeyes, and I just wanted to end the process.”
Humility is something he learned from his upbringing. When his mother, Dana, was asked if she had anything to add she said, “It isn’t about me, it is about him.” Muskie basketball will certainly be exciting to watch for the next few years. Wieskamp may not be done growing physically, and he certainly is not done growing into the role of a leader. “I led more by example this year, and Ben and Matt were more the vocal leaders. I will need to be more vocal moving forward.”