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Callie Levin poised to be Hawkeyes’ next homegrown star
(Courtesy: @iowawbb/Instagram)

Callie Levin poised to be Hawkeyes’ next homegrown star

SOLON, Iowa (BVM) – Basketball has always been a family affair for Callie Levin. Throughout her youth career, Levin was coached by her father, learning how to shoot, handle the ball and become a better all-around player.

“I’m just super grateful that I had a parent like that who really cared about what I aspired to be,” Levin said. “My dad, he believed in me, and my mom did too.”

During the first two years of her high school career, Levin also had the opportunity to share the court with her older sister. But with three younger siblings, it’s Levin who has transitioned into the role of the mentor that her dad and older sister have been to her.

“It’s been fun to see them progress,” Levin said about her siblings. “It’s just fun to help them out with what I learned over the years.”

Levin has not only developed into a role model for her siblings, but she has become someone to look up to within her community following a truly special tenure at Solon High School

Callie Levin Iowa Hawkeyes women's NCAA college basketball Solon High School Spartans
Callie Levin scored 1,984 points during her illustrious high school career at Solon. (Credit: Lily Smith/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK)

“A big part of why I play basketball is just to inspire the super young girls who aspire to dream big,” Levin said. “I think coming out on top has inspired Solon to just really appreciate our girls basketball team … I just hope I left behind a legacy that if you dream big, you can do it.”

Levin’s leadership, basketball IQ and tremendous skill on both ends of the floor were on display from day one at Solon. As just a freshman, the 5-foot-9 guard led her team in scoring with 19 points per game, becoming an all-state player as the Spartans fell a game short of making it to state.

Levin continued to develop and mature as she became a first-team all-state performer as a sophomore, adapting to the extra defensive attention teams were beginning to throw at her. By her junior season, Levin led her team to the state semifinals.

“We kind of knew that we had a special team, had a special chemistry and had a special bond,” Levin said. “We got to the state tournament and we didn’t want to stop playing.”

The Spartans would ultimately fall short in the semifinals, but that further motivated Levin and her team. With Solon’s core returning, the team focused on getting back to state and going further in Levin’s senior year.

Callie Levin Iowa Hawkeyes women's NCAA college basketball Solon High School Spartans
After falling just short during her junior season, Callie Levin helped lead the Spartans to a state title as a senior. (Credit: Lily Smith/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK)

“We just all knew that we were going to have a special season and we all knew that we could get it done,” Levin said. “With all that belief, that just created such a good atmosphere for us at practice and during the games, too.”

Levin got 24-3 Solon back to state as she averaged 22 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.8 steals while shooting 37% from 3-point range this past season.

Feeling a calmness as the Class 3A state championship game tipped, Levin went on to put up 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists while her team played one of its best defensive games of the year. The result was a 54-37 win for the Spartans, bringing home Solon’s first state championship in 26 years.

“Going into the game, I had this calmness,” Levin said. “Once the ball gets tipped, it’s game time from there … I remember there was like six seconds left on the clock, and we were up by quite a bit. I could just feel the crowd and I was looking around and getting really emotional because that was my last game and we did what we believed we could do. There was no better moment than that.”

The state championship produced yet another highlight in Levin’s impressive basketball career, one that also includes winning an AAU Nike national championship with All-Iowa Attack. Yet, there was one more accolade to be had before officially ending a prep career where she amassed 1,984 points, 535 rebounds, 412 assists and 417 steals: being named Iowa Miss Basketball, an honor she had in the back of her mind throughout her senior season.

“I was obviously just stunned and shocked,” Levin said. “I was excited because I had worked hard for that and all my work had paid off. I’m just really grateful and blessed to be able to receive that award.”

Throughout her life, Levin has looked up to basketball greatness. When she was little, she idolized one of the greatest male basketball players of all time: Michael Jordan. At the same time, she looked up to many of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ biggest women’s stars including Kathleen Doyle, Megan Gustafson, Samantha Logic, Ally Disterhoft and Tania Davis. Of course, like many others, Levin has also been inspired by what Caitlin Clark has done over the last few years with her home-state team.

“She’s just an amazing player,” Levin said. “Nothing like her, no one like her. Every little girl wants to be like that and aspires to be an athlete like that.

“It’s a privilege to watch her play … I think Caitlin has made the women’s game grow so much. She’s made people realize that women’s basketball is important and that it’s fun to watch.”

Callie Levin Iowa Hawkeyes women's NCAA college basketball Solon High School Spartans
Callie Levin is part of a talented incoming freshman class at Iowa and hopes to continue the Hawkeyes’ recent success on the hardwood. (Courtesy: @iowawbb/Instagram)

In just a few months, Levin and a strong incoming freshman class that also includes Ava Heiden, Aaliyah Guyton, Teagan Mallegni and Taylor Stremlow will be taking the same court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena that those past stars have played on as Iowa begins a new era post-Clark.

“I’m excited to get with this great group of girls, we have a great class coming in,” Levin said. “I’m just excited to do whatever I need to do to help this team out … I’m excited to see how I fit in on the team but also to work my butt off to keep the Iowa women’s basketball legacy alive.”

Levin was long destined to become a Hawkeye. Between going to games when she was little, putting up Hawkeyes posters in her room and being inspired by many of Iowa’s best players and head coach Lisa Bluder, she knew that’s where she wanted to play someday.

“I just wanted to be on that team so bad,” Levin said.

During the summer before her freshman year of high school, Levin received her first Division I offer from Arkansas. Several others poured in throughout the next year, but once she received an offer from the Hawkeyes, it took Levin just a couple of weeks to make an official decision.

“I was just really grateful to get those other offers,” Levin said. “I knew I wanted to be a Hawkeye ever since I was young and I knew this was the right place for me.”

Since Levin’s commitment, Iowa has developed into a national powerhouse behind Clark and a host of other talented players. Seeing that has only made the Solon senior even more eager to get to Iowa City.

“It’s really cool as a recruit and as a commit to watch the team you’re about to go play on just succeed so much, and it just gives you hope that you can be a part of that too,” Levin said.

Once Levin officially joins the Hawkeyes, she’s focused on making an impact however she can.

Callie Levin Iowa Hawkeyes women's NCAA college basketball Solon High School Spartans
Callie Levin will look to make an immediate impact in Iowa City just as she did at Solon. (Credit: Margaret Kispert/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK)

“I want to make an impact on this team early,” Levin said. “I want to do whatever the coaches need me or want me to do to be able to get out on the court.”

Levin is poised for a special four years at Iowa. Beyond that, she hopes she might be able to play professionally and would like to give back to the game by coaching in the future. No matter what happens, she’s prepared to go wherever her basketball life takes her, one that has already included so many truly incredible moments.

“Wherever God leads me, I’ll go,” Levin said. “Basketball is important in my life and I don’t really want it to be over.”

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