Posts Tagged ‘LaRon Dendy’

Hamilton’s surprise transfer a killer for Cyclones

March 14, 2010

Craig Brackins’ exit from Iowa State’s basketball program hardly comes as a surprise.

Justin Hamilton’s does.

And it hurts. Bad.

The sophomore center was the Cyclones’ most improved player this season and an expected anchor of the team’s frontcourt next year and beyond. But after two seasons of teaching and bodyshaping – turning Hamilton into a player opposing teams have to include on their scouting report – he’s gone, looking for a school closer to his home state of Utah.

The smart money says he lands at BYU.

Hamilton’s decision came as a surprise to many. Here he was a few days earlier when asked about next season, where the uncertainly lied with Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap:

“We have to just see what happens. I’m sure everything will work out,” he said. “We’ll have a great team next year… We are going to have a lot of unknowns. We are going to have to have a lot of guys improve over the summer.”

Now, days after coach Greg McDermott and athletic director Jamie Pollard professed their excitement over next year’s team, the roster is yet again in tatters.

Here was Pollard last Monday:

“There’s a group of individuals that are coming back that have played in the toughest conference in the country hands down… and been in games,” he said. “I look at that nucleus and stay that isn’t starting over.”

Hamilton was at the center of that nucleus. Not anymore.

Four-fifths of the lineup that started ISU’s 2009-10 season opener (Brackins, Hamilton, Gilstrap and Lucca Staiger) is history.

So who’s left?

Diante Garrett will be a senior. So will reserve forward LaRon Dendy.

Charles Boozer and Jamie Vanderbeken are coming back off injury.

Chris Colvin says he’s coming back. Should we believe him?

Scott Christopherson has already left one school to come to ISU. He isn’t going anywhere.

Antwon Oliver and Bubo Palo rode out redshirts this season and don’t figure to go elsewhere before ever playing a game.

Signed for next year is Brewster (N.H.) Academy wing Melvin Ejim and Marshalltown Community College guard DeMarcus Phillips. Oregon prep center Jordan Railey has verbally committed.

That’s 10 scholarship players on the hook right now for next season – assuming no one else decides to pick up and leave.

Three spots are open.

McDermott and his staff are recruiting the junior college ranks heavily, and they need to.  Immediate help is imperative for a team that went 15-17 overall, 4-12 in the Big 12, and now has lost its top two scorers and three best rebounders.

“We’ve got to have guys who are committed to each other and are committed to the institution. If you have that, you have a chance,” McDermott said. “I like the new guys that we have coming in and hopefully we can add to that.”

Playing time will be a big selling point.

It should be an interesting couple of weeks before the start of the late signing period.

Finally, Cyclones and McDermott catch a break

March 7, 2010

A group of reporters were sitting inside Hilton Coliseum the other night asking which game, if any, could be considered the signature win in Greg McDermott’s four seasons as Iowa State’s head coach.

The list of candidates was not terribly impressive. It’s better now.

McDermott has a no-brainer after Saturday’s 85-82 victory at No. 5 Kansas State, the Cyclones’ first win over a ranked opponent since Feb. 5, 2006, a span of 21 games.

It was the coach’s first win over a ranked opponent in 20 tries, including nine this season, most of any team in the Big 12 Conference.

Here was McDermott’s post-game address to his players inside the locker room, courtesy of cyclones.com

ISU (15-16, 4-12) started fast, led 42-33 at halftime and were tough and colllected in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime — which were played without star forward Craig Brackins, who had fouled out with 2 1/2 minutes to play.

K-State tried to make it a numbers game. Brackins and LaRon Dendy each fouled out, while Justin Hamilton and Scott Christopherson made it through despite each having four fouls with 6 minutes still to play in regulation.

Diante Garrett scored five of his eigth in the extra session.

Finally, the bounce of the ball went the Cyclones’ way. After Tuesday’s disheartening overtime loss to Missouri at the buzzer, they needed a pick me up.

“My hat’s off to Greg McDermott,” K-State coach Frank Martin told reporters after his Wildcats likely dropped out of contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. “As disappointed as I am in our guys, I’m extremely happy for him, happy for those kids. With all the close losses they’ve had this year, [McDermott] continues to get those kids to play as hard as he does. I’m real happy for Greg.”

Now it’s on to Kansas City, Mo., and the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center.

ISU faces Texas (23-8, 9-7), which has lost eight of its 14 games after a 17-0 start propelled them to No. 1 in the rankings two days before coming to Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 13.

The Longhorns won that game 90-83, quickly erasing ISU’s halftime lead and pulling away late.

Here’s the schedule for the Big 12 Tournament (Cyclone fans will have to stay up late to watch):

Wednesday’s opening-round games

11:30 a.m. — No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Texas Tech

2 p.m. — No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 12 Nebraska

6 p.m. — No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma

8:30 p.m. — No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Iowa State

Thursday’s quarterfinals

11:30 a.m. — No. 1 Kansas vs. Colorado-Texas Tech winner

2 p.m. — No. 4 Texas A&M vs. Missouri-Nebraska winner

6 p.m. — No. 2 Kansas State vs. Oklahoma-Oklahoma St. winner

8:30 p.m. — No. 3 Baylor vs. Texas-Iowa State winner

Christopherson not letting mono slow him down

February 23, 2010

AMES — Scott Christopherson’s body is saying one thing. His mind is telling him another. 

The Iowa State guard continues to play hard while fighting off mononucleosis. Christopherson hasn’t been the same since contracting the virus early in the Big 12 season, but has refused to give in mentally.

“I don’t want to be sick and I’m not going to tell myself I am,” Christopherson said recently. “Am I 100 percent? No. But I’m going to go into every game thinking I am because there’s no point in not… Everybody is fatigued and their knees hurt and their body aches. As far as I’m concerned I’m just like everybody else.”

Christopherson scored a career-best 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting last week in a loss to Oklahoma State.

He’s taking one for his short-handed team, which is down to eight scholarship players going into Wednesday night’s game agianst Nebraska at Hilton Coliseum.

Christopherson again will likely log 30-plus minutes for the Cyclones, who come in with an overall mark of 13-14 and 2-10 in league games.

“The effort he’s giving when he shouldn’t really be playing is incredible,” said Coach Greg McDermott. “There aren’t many guys that would play through what he’s playing through. Somehow he’s finding enough energy on game day.”

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McDermott indicated Monday he still is not ready to welcome forward LaRon Dendy back into his good graces.

Dendy was gone from the team for a full week — and two games — to attend his great grandmother’s funeral in South Carolina. Dendy returned days later than expected and without a good explanation.

He did not play in last Wednesday’s loss to OSU and saw four minutes of action last Saturday against Texas A&M.

“He and I met (Sunday) and talked through some things,” McDermott said. “I like the progress he’s making. We’ll gradually work him back into the lineup.”

Dendy is averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. He’s tried to keep his head up, teammates say.

“He’s working extra hard and is doing what he has to do to get back some more minutes,” said Craig Brackins.

Dendy expected back in Iowa tonight (we think)

February 15, 2010

Expected to rejoin the Cyclones Monday night

AMES — Will LaRon Dendy ever make it back to campus and Iowa State’s basketball team?

The answer is yes, though at his own expense and later than a frustrated Coach Greg McDermott would’ve liked. As a result, the 6-9 junior forward may miss his third straight game Wednesday when the Cyclones (13-12, 2-8 Big 12) play host to Oklahoma State.

“He was on his own to get back,” McDermott said. “He stayed too long, in my opinion.”

Dendy – in South Carolina for the past week attending his great grandmother’s funeral — is scheduled to fly into Des Moines late Monday, McDermott said. The funeral was scheduled for last Tuesday, then postponed till Thursday. 

ISU was able to pay for Dendy’s flight home, but was too late in trying to change his return flight. Dendy did not inform coaches in time. 

“I think he found a flight that was reasonable that he could get home tonight (Monday),” McDermott said.

Dendy is ISU’s fifth-leading scorer (7.2 ppg) and averages 3.6 rebounds a game. He is shooting 56.7 percent from the field.

He missed road games at Missouri and Kansas and may not play against the Cowboys, who at 17-7 overall and 5-5 in Big 12 play are just as desperate as ISU for a victory.

“I don’t know (if Dendy will play),” McDermott said. “He hasn’t practice for a week.”

ISU-Mizzou mbb: my postscript

February 11, 2010

Iowa State fought hard in a 65-56 loss at Missouri Wednesday night with just seven scholarship player suited up.

They were within one point on a handful of occasions late in the second half. They never took the lead and Kim English’s long 3-pointer with 1:45 to play pretty much sealed the game, and ISU’s sixth loss in seven games.

The Cyclones are 13-11 overall and 2-7 in the Big 12 heading into Saturday’s game at No. 1 Kansas.

Which team is more disappointment in being 13-11 you think, ISU or North Carolina after Wed. night’s loss to Duke? That’s a discussion for another day.

Anyways, here are some observations from Wednesday night’s game at Mizzou:

– Lucca Staiger’s presence on the 3-point line is sorely missed. ISU is a combined 7 of 37 (18.9 percent) from beyond the arc over the last two games.

– It may not be in ISU’s best interests that Scott Christopherson is playing as much as he is. The shooting guard clearly is affected by his mononucleosis and his defense and outside shooting accuracy looks to me to be suffering. I’m aware of the numbers problem, but if he’s hurting the team get someone else  — like steady backup Dominique Buckley — in there for him.

– Had LaRon Dendy been in Columbia and not Greenville, S.C., this one could have gone the other way. The Tigers owned the offensive glass — especially late — an area where the 6-9 Dendy would have helped and prevented second and third shot opportunities.

– Craig Brackins really needs to stop forcing crazy impossible, high-degree-of-difficulty shots against double teams. I realize he’s the team’s leading scorer, but there has to be a better shot at the goal than some of the stuff he’s firing up there.

– Chris Colvin may have been 1 for 9 shooting but he got to the rim and into the paint as good as any Cyclone guard in recent memory. He’s not Jamaal Tinsley just yet, but say this for the freshman, he’s aggressive. And that’s a good thing.

– If ISU shoots anywhere close to the season-low 32.8 percent it shot against Mizzou, brace for an ugly, ugly loss to the Jayhawks aa Allen Fieldhouse. It may be ugly anyway.

Another Cyclone streak snapped in Lincoln

January 17, 2010

Iowa State’s streak-busting in Lincoln continued Saturday night with a 56-53 win at Nebraska, snapping a 16-game Big 12 Conference road losing skid.

Three months earlier — just days apart — it was the Cyclone football team leaving town with its first win at Memorial Stadium since 1977 and ISU’s volleyball team winning its first overall match against the Huskers in 75 tries.

As was the case with football, it wasn’t pretty, but the Cyclones finished strong.

They got the job done defensively down the stretch, holding Nebraska down and forcing tough shots for the offensively challenged Huskers.

ISU survived this one despite shooting 39.3 percent on FGs and having Craig Brackins score just six points.

Brackins, who along with juniors Diante Garrett and Lucca Staiger got his first conference road victory, did pull down 11 rebounds and dish out three assists.

Seven different players had at least six points, led by Marquis Gilstrap’s 15 to go with 12 rebounds.

Next up is a game at Texas Tech on Wednesday. That’s another very winnable road game. Is two in a row too tall a task for this crew?

DEPTH PERCEPTION

It wasn’t long ago that depth was thought to be a strength of this team.

Not anymore.

The Cyclones are down to eight scholarship players after Saturday’s news that reserve guard Charles Boozer will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Boozer was hurt in Wednesday’s loss to No. 1-ranked Texas.

He would have been an important player off the bench for Coach Greg McDermott over the last half of the season.  Instead, he joins Jamie Vanderbeken (ankle) on injured reserve and is the fourth player in the last 10 days to become unavailable.

Forward L.A. Pomlee was dismissed and freshman point guard Chris Colvin is on suspension until at least February.

ISU managed themselves fine agianst Nebraska, but are going to find more difficult tests in the next two months.  Right now the help off the bench consists of Scott Christopherson, LaRon Dendy and Dominique Buckley.

McDermott, from all indications, is not considering pulling the redshirt off true freshman Antwon Oliver.

NBA DOWN ON BRACKINS?

The newest issue of ESPN the Magazine includes a not-so-flattering blurb about Brackins’ pro prospects.

In hoops analyst Doug Gottlieb’s notes column, Gottlieb quotes an unnamed NBA scout on Brackins: “He’s wildly overrated.” Gottlieb says league evaluators are seeing the 6-10 big man as “a face-the-basket 3 trapped in a 4′s body without enough athleticism to create his own shot.”

Brackins was a sure first-round NBA Draft pick last June but decided to return to ISU for his junior season.

A mock draft at www.nbadraft.net has Brackins going No. 16 to Minnesota.  It also has former Cyclone Wesley Johnson, now at Syracuse, at No. 2 overall behind Kentucky’s freshman point guard John Wall.

ISU men’s hoops health update

December 1, 2009

Forward LaRon Dendy is questionable for Wednesday’s home game against Northern Iowa with a sprained right knee.

Dendy, who re-injured himself last Friday against Saint Louis in the semifinals of the Chicago Invitational, was scheduled to be checked out by Iowa State team doctors Monday. The 6-9, 230-pound forward was hurt in practice one day after debuting at ISU with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Dendy missed four games, then played just eight minutes against Saint Louis before injuring the knee again on a block out attempt.

“I don’t think it is as bad as last time,” Coach Greg McDermott said Monday. “It really scared him and there was swelling there, but we don’t think it is as severe as last time.”

Meanwhile, McDermott said second-leading scorer Marquis Gilstrap is battling bronchitis and all-Big 12 Conference forward Craig Brackins “is starting to come down with something.”

“It’s that time of year when the weather is starting to turn colder and things run through your team,” McDermott said.

The Cyclones opened the season with seven games in a span of 15 days. They were off Sunday, except for the bus ride home from Chicago, and got back to practice Monday.

Players got a much-needed break from the game both mentally and physically. ISU tips with UNI at 7 p.m. Wednesday night then is set to leave for Berkeley, Calif., on Thursday afternoon.

Saturday’s Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series game with California is set to tip off at 10 p.m. Central time.

Dendy probable for StL game; no TV for Brackins-Harangody

November 26, 2009

Forward LaRon Dendy is probable for this weekend’s Chicago Invitational games against Saint Louis and either Notre Dame/Northwestern.

Dendy has missed Iowa State’s last four games with a right knee sprain.

He was in uniform Tuesday for the Cyclones’ 84-53 win over Tennessee State but did not play. Trainer Vic Miller said Dendy planned to resume practice Wednesday with the hope of being available for tonight’s 5 p.m. game with the Billikens.

“I think it is looking pretty good. He’s doing well and feels good,” Miller said.

Dendy scored 16 points and had seven rebounds in ISU’s season-opening win over Idaho State. The 6-9, 230-pound junior was injured in practice the following day.

He’ll need a little time to get back into game shape.

“He’s been out for almost two straight weeks,” Miller said. “We have to try and get him moving and get him in the flow.”

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Unless Iowa State plays Northwestern – which is only likely to happen if ISU loses Friday to Saint Louis, considering the hometown ‘Cats face No. 23 Notre Dame in the other half of the four-team tournament – there will be no television coverage of its games this weekend.

The Big Ten Network is planning on televising Northwestern’s games.

Unfortunately, one of the year’s best individual match-ups between Cyclone big man Craig Brackins and Notre Dame All-America forward Luke Harangody will fly way under the radar nationally.

It’s kind of a shame.

Two games in, Cyclone men showing big promise

November 16, 2009

There’s a lot to be excited about if you’ve seen or read about the start to Iowa State’s men’s basketball team.

Coach Greg McDermott is onto something here.  He’s finally got an abundance of talent and is figuring out how best to deploy it. This group still is very much a work in progress, but you can see there is athleticism, skill and depth to build on.

Decisive wins over Idaho State (88-68) and Chicago State (72-50) — while not unexpected — showed some of what this team has to offer.

The numbers are already taking shape:

– 80 points per game

– Field goal percentage of 48.3

– 3-point field goal percentage of 51.6 (16 of 31)

– Eleven players averaging 9 minutes a game or more

All-Big 12 Conference forward Craig Brackins is averaging 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds, well below his averages from a season ago.  He’s cool with that.

“As long as we win I don’t care,” Brackins said.

Transfer Marquis Gilstrap shrugged off a bad start Sunday night against Chicago State to finish with 11 points and 15 rebounds, six on the offensive end.

Another first-year player, LaRon Dendy, had 16 points and 7 rebounds in his Cyclone debut agianst Idaho State, then injured his knee in practice the following day and will sit out the next two weeks.

Point guard Diante Garrett has 12 assists and just two turnovers so far. Against Idaho State Garrett had seven assists, no points and no turnovers. McDermott was thrilled.

“If that’s not a sign of that progress he’s made in two years of how to run a team and how to play the point guard position… he’s really grown as a point guard,” he said.

What’s very encouraging going into Tuesday night’s game at Drake is the scoring efficiency of ISU’s reserves.

Dendy, Scott Christopherson, Charles Boozer and Jamie Vanderbeken are a combined 23 of 32 (71.9 percent)from the field. Nine of their 12 shots from 3-point distance have been good.

Cyclones shrug off Barnes decision with season-opening win

November 14, 2009

AMES – There was no Harrison hangover Friday night at Hilton Coliseum.

Hours after Harrison Barnes, the nation’s top-ranked recruit chose North Carolina over his hometown team, Iowa State opened its season with an impressive 88-68 victory over Idaho State at Hilton Coliseum.

Cyclone players and coaches were hoping for two victories on this day. They had to settle for one.

Barnes, who often times sits courtside for ISU games, was not in the building Friday. The impact of his decision was felt across the college basketball world, no more so than right here.

“It probably impacted me more than it did (the players),” Coach Greg McDermott said afterwards. “Harrison was just one of the guys to them. He’s been around our gym for three years and we invested a lot in it. He decided this wasn’t the place, and that’s OK.

“Are we disappointed? Yes. I wish him all the best, but my focus has to the guys that are on my team and want to be on my team. He chose not to be.”

The group of players McDermott has looked awfully good, as ISU shot 54.7 percent and came four points short of scoring the most points during the coach’s previous three seasons.  

Athleticism and depth that has been lacking was on display in front of an announced crowd of 13,727.

Newcomers Marquis Gilstrap and LaRon Dendy threw down monster dunks and ran the floor.

Freshman guard Chris Colvin showed off his passing and dribbling skills and Marquette transfer Scott Christopherson proved his toughness and shooting touch in his Cyclone debut.      

“You wouldn’t even think they were new,” said forward Craig Brackins, who led ISU with 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting. “They came in with a lot of energy. They were into it the whole game.”

Dendy sparked a decisive 21-8 run to close the first half.

The junior college transfer had eight points in the spurt and finished with 16 to go with seven rebounds. Dendy, who is 6-9, 230 pounds, was active around the basket in on the break.  

“He impacts the game with his energy and he can really run the floor,” McDermott said. “He ran by the pack a couple of times in transition. Those are the plays we need him to make.”

This is a team that will play at a much faster pace that McDermott teams ever have.

The Cyclones (1-0) can go 11 players deep on the bench and have the type of athletes to fit that style.

“Get out and run – I love it,” Dendy said. “With me, Craig and Marquis and all the other guys running… we are all athletes.”

Gilstrap finished with 13 points and six rebounds.

Christopherson scored 10 points and made good on both of his 3-point attempts.


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