It is day three of our “99 in 99” series previewing a college basketball team every day leading up to the start of the season. I know what you are thinking, it is WAY too early for this isn’t it? SHUSH! It is never too early to start talking college basketball especially you are as big a nerd as I am.
I promise I have nothing against the people or state of Iowa. I have many friends who are either from the state or currently reside there. Unfortunately, your major conference state basketball teams will be two of the worst in the country this season. Iowa drew the 99th ranking, Iowa State earns #97. Sorry.
By: David Kay
Iowa State (T-9th, 4-12, 15-17)
Projected Depth Chart
C: Jamie Vanderbeken (Sr)/Jordan Railey (Fr)
PF: Calvin Godfrey (Fr)/Eric McKnight (Fr)
G: Scott Christopherson (Jr)/Melvin Ejim (Fr)
G: Jake Anderson (Sr)/DeMarcus Phillips (Jr)
PG: Diante Garrett (Sr)/Bubu Palo (Fr)
Gone: PF-Craig Brackins, SF-Marquis Gilstrap, SG-Lucca Staiger (overseas), PG-Chris Colvin (transfer-Palm Beach CC), C-Justin Hamilton (transfer-LSU), PG-Dominique Buckley (transfer-Toledo), SF-Charles Boozer (transfer), PF-LeRon Dendy (transfer-Middle Tennessee State), SG-Antwon Oliver (transfer), PF-L.A. Pomlee (kicked off team)
When you are a power conference team and your head coach decides to leave for a mid-major school, that is never an encouraging sign about the direction of your program. However, Iowa State experienced just that this off-season when Greg McDermott chose to leave Ames for Creighton (By the way, ISU plays Creighton this year in Des Moines… that should be interesting scene.) McDermott was not the only person to flee the struggling team as star player Craig Brackins entered the NBA Draft and eight other players have left the program since the start of the 2009-2010 season.
So Iowa State turned to one of their most famous alumnus and hometown hero to help transform the image of Cyclone basketball; Fred Hoiberg. The Mayor left his front office job with the Minnesota Timberwolves organization to return to place he was raised and created a tremendous legacy. Now, the rookie head coach will have his hands full during this challenging season of transition.
Two transfers should step in and help right away. Highly recruited power forward Royce White joins the Cyclones after not suiting up in a single game during his freshman year at Minnesota due to off the court issues. Jake Anderson comes from Northern Illinois and will not have to sit out a year since he has already graduated but still has one year of eligibility remaining. The only other players returning who saw significant minutes last season are point guard Diante Garrett and sharpshooter Scott Christopherson who will be asked to lead this incredibly young squad and try to make Hoiberg’s return to Ames not as overly-stressful.
Player to Watch: White
The former Minnesota Mr. Basketball was supposed to make an immediate impact for his hometown Gophers last season but did not play a single minute for Tubby Smith’s team. Two off-the-court run-ins with the law sidelined White to the point that he created a youtube clip announcing his retirement from basketball. The retirement did not last long as White decided to transfer from Minnesota.
There still comes an issue of eligibility with White. Since he did not officially leave the Gopher program until February, he will need an NCAA waiver to be eligible for the Cyclones at the start of the 2010-2011 season. If White is not granted the waiver, he may be forced to sit for some if not all of the up-coming season which will set back Iowa State even further than they already are. (UPDATE: White will not be eligible for the up-coming season and will have to sit out a year joining Michigan State transfer Chris Allen who will also suit up for the Cyclones in the 2011-2012 season.)
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 vs. Creighton (at Des Moines)
12/1 at Northern Iowa
12/4 vs. California (Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series)
12/10 at Iowa
12/30 at Virginia