Eli, Noah King make up their basketball minds: Eli to North Dakota, Noah to Upper Iowa

Caledonia brothers Eli and Noah King determined their next college basketball destinations on Sunday.

Caledonia, Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys basketball Section 1AA Championship
Caledonia's Eli King dunks the ball in triple overtime during a Section 1AA championship boys basketball game against Plainview-Elgin-Millville on March 17, 2022, at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo

On the same day, Caledonia brothers Eli and Noah King determined their next college basketball homes.

That was Sunday, with Eli committing to Division I University of North Dakota and Noah to Division II Upper Iowa University.

Eli picked UND after spending one season at Iowa State University, then putting himself into the transfer portal in late March due mostly to a lack of playing time.

Noah spent the last three years at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was a junior college All-America this past season and has retained three years of eligibility after missing the 2021-22 season with a foot injury and permitted an extra year after having competed during the COVID-19 pandemic-interrupted 2020-21 season

The 6-foot-3, high-flying Eli came to Iowa State as a four-star recruit and a Mr. Basketball candidate as a Caledonia senior. But playing time for the freshman combo guard was scarce at Iowa State, a veteran team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Eli played in just nine games for the 19-14 Cyclones, averaging 3.4 minutes per game.


The University of North Dakota, which plays in the Summit League, went 6-12 in conference play this past season and 13-20 overall. Though the record wasn’t great, Eli was drawn by UND’s coaching staff, its vision for him, and his familiarity with a pair of its players — Mankato East graduate B.J. Omot and Bismarck High (N.D.) graduate Treysen Eaglestaff, a pair of freshmen who were former AAU teammates of Eli. Both received ample playing time this past season for the Fighting Hawks, Omot averaging 12 points per game, Eaglestaff 8.4.

Eli visited UND once before committing. He also considered the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Indiana State University.

“The biggest thing for me was my relationship with their coaching staff as well as a few of their players,” Eli explained in having picked UND. “I felt really good about them and the vision they had for me.”

What Eli was looking for most was playing time. After being relegated mostly to the bench at Iowa State, he’s hungry for an opportunity. He expects to get it at UND, where he says the Fighting Hawks’ coaching staff envisions him playing both guard positions and being a big part of their uptempo playing style.

King, also a top football recruit in high school, with scholarship offers to play receiver at such places as the University of Minnesota, the University of Notre Dame and Stanford University, is regarded as an elite athlete.

“I would say that the main reason for me leaving Iowa State was that I wanted a bigger role somewhere and at a place that I thought I’d fit in well,” Eli said. “(At UND), I’m excited also about being on a team that is pretty young for the most part. I think we can build something here and do well in the Summit League. I see people there who have the same views as I have.”

He also sees people there who like to play like he does — fast.

“They like to play fast and I think that is where I am at my best,” Eli said.


Noah turned in an excellent season en route to being named a junior college All-America this past year. The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 16.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists as he started all 32 games for Kirkwood. Noah helped Kirkwood to a 25-8 record as it finished one win away from the NJCAA Division II national tournament.

Upper Iowa went 13-9 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference this past season (tied for first in the South Division) and 16-13 overall. Already on the team is Spring Grove’s Caden Grinde, a sophomore guard who played in five games this year. Joining Noah King next season as a newcomer will be Lake City senior Ryan Heise, a 6-9 guard/forward.

Caledonia's Noah King (21) dribbles past Stewartville's Bradon Holschlag (2) during the Section 1AA championship game on March 12, 2020, at the Mayo Civic Center.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin file photo

Returning from last year’s Upper Iowa team is point guard Jake Hilmer, who averaged 22 points per game and was the NSIC South Division’s Player of the Year.

Noah is excited to join what is expected to be another powerhouse team and one that is moving from the NSIC to the Great Lakes Valley Conference. The 6-2, 200-pounder had also considered Winona State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead.

“It feels nice to have this taken care of,” Noah said. “There is a lot to really like about Upper Iowa. They’ve been really good recently and they're bringing back some really big pieces. I like how their staff sees me as helping them as a player. With them bringing back the conference Player of the Year, they wanted a secondary ball handler and someone to take over some of the ball handling when (Hilmer) is out. On offense, they play uptempo with a lot of freedom in open space. They felt like they needed another guard and someone who can beat teams off the ‘bounce.’ I’m ecstatic to be going there.”

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or
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