Archive for November, 2008

Ex-Cyclone Hicks found dead

November 29, 2008

Former Iowa State running back Steve Hicks was found dead Friday morning near his hometown of Omaha, Neb.

Police have not released details or an explanation behind Hicks’ death. All we know is that he was discovered around 8:30 a.m. on Interstate 480 underneath the bridges that form the I-480 and North Freeway interchange.

Hicks led the Cyclones in rushing four consecutive years from 2003-06 and was ISU’s last 1,000-yard rusher, running for 1,062 yards as a sophomore in ’04.

Hicks ranks seventh on the school’s all-time rushing list with 2,601 yards.

His death comes as a great shock. Condolences to his family, friends and former teammates.


Men’s hoops bits

November 22, 2008

The Iowa State men’s basketball team’s trip to Hawaii this weekend won’t be its last.

Per ISU’s contract agreement with the University of Hawaii, Monday night’s opponent, the Cyclones are guaranteed a spot in the 2010 Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. Traditionally an eight-team tournament, the field may be reduced to four with the creation of another tournament U of H also is expect to host.

In any case, the Cyclones will hit the beach again in two years, and gladly so. 

“That’s not the easiest tournament to get into,” Coach Greg McDermott said. ISU won the event in 2005 and has had great success in the state lately, winning 10 of its last 12, including six straight.

One hit wonder?

Signee Marquis Gilstrap has just one season of eligibility remaining. McDermott says the 6-6, 210-pound junior college forward is worth it.

“We thought he was the most talented player out there and best fit what we needed,” the coach said. “Without Wesley Johnson we needed a big wing player. (Gilstrap) is that big wing we are lacking on our team this year.”

Gilstrap is playing at Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College this year, his first action since breaking his leg midway through the 2005-06 season at Palm Beach CC.

There is a possibility for ISU to appeal the NCAA for an additional season of eligibility, but we all know the school has not had the best luck in that department. Compliance people will give it a look once Gilstrap arrives on campus next summer.

Droppin’ bombs

The Cyclones have made at least 10 3-pointers in two of their three games. They didn’t hit double digits in any of their 32 games last season. Freshman Wes Eikmeier leads the team with eight — and he didn’t even play in Sunday’s win over UW-Milwaukee because of the flu.

K-State playing for Prince

November 19, 2008

As if Iowa State didn’t have enough negative karma going against it in the season finale at Kansas State  — nine straight losses this season and 16 consecutive defeats away from Jack Trice Stadium — Saturday afternoon’s game has another distracting subplot for the visitors:

K-State’s Ron Prince is coaching his final game at the school, which surely will have the Wildcats as motivated as they’ve been in a long time during their disappointing 4-7 season.

Prince is 2-0 against Texas, his biggest accomplishment in three seasons in Manhattan. He lost assistants at an alarming rate, signed what seemed like a million junior college players and couldn’t beat rivals Nebraska and Kansas. 

But most of these Wildcats are Prince recruits, and players are loyal to their leaders. They are going to do all they can to send him out a winner.

“They are gonna play for their coach,” said Cyclone defensive end Rashawn Parker. “Their intensity is going to be high. We have to match it.”

And expect the unexpected. K-State may pull out all the stops — on both sides of the ball.

“They aren’t going to hold back at all,” ISU quarterback Austen Arnaud said.

It may be the final time the Cyclones face K-State’s quarterback Josh Freeman. The junior could probably use another year of seasoning, but he may not want to deal with the coaching transition and instead opt for the NFL.

That wouldn’t break any hearts in Ames. Freeman was the crown jewel of Prince’s first recruiting class, prying the 6-6, 250-pound star away from rival Nebraska.

“He’s a big guy with a strong arm,” Parker said. “He’s a beast of an athlete.”

Cyclone men’s hoops primer

November 13, 2008

A family member’s wedding is Saturday in Chicago and I won’t be at any of the basketball games or Iowa State’s final home football game against 12th-ranked Missouri.

While I may be glad to be missing what’s goes on at Jack Trice, I’m bummed about not being able to see the Cyclone men’s basketball team play UC-Davis, Loyola Marymount or UW-Milwaukee with my own two eyes.

Going to Hilton Coliseum Friday, Saturday or Sunday?

Here are some things to look for that may provide clues as to how Year Three of the Greg McDermott era will unfold:

– Will forward Craig Brackins score in double figures and total 7, 8, 9 or 10 rebounds each of the three games? Consistentcy is the key for the Brackins this season. ISU won’t win many games if he goes for 20 one night and 6 the next?

– Improved 3-point accuracy. The Cyclones were last in the Big 12 a season ago. There’s better shooters on the roster now and a committment to having them shoot with an inside presence that consists only of the 6-10 Brackins.

-Who is doing most of the ball-handling? If last year’s starting point guard Bryan Petersen is able to slide off the ball more in favor of Diante Garrett and freshman Dominique Buckley, the former Kirkwood CC player will be free to do what he does best: shoot. That’s a good thing.

-Who is going to be the spark plug off the bench?  It’s probably gonna be a freshman. Buckley could be that guy, or maybe 6-11 banger Justin Hamilton. My guess is Wes Eikmeier, who was a scoring machine at Bergan High School in Fremont, Neb. The Big 12 that is not, but shooters like Eikmeier can thrive at any level as long as they get a semi-open look at the basket.

-Lucca Staiger: After a year of not playing and a nagging knee injury, hopefully the kid gets on the floor. The ovation will be a sight to see.

ISU gets latest Sioux City baller

November 4, 2008

Kirk Hinrich. Ben Jacobson. Nate Funk.

There’s been some awfully good Division I basketball players come out of Sioux City over the last decade, those three in particular. Iowa State is hoping it has the next great one to come out of the northwest corner of the state.

West High point guard Wesley Staten said Monday he will play his college basketball in Ames. He’s a freshman and has not played a minute of high school basketball yet. Yes, you read that correctly.


ISU coaches scouted him this summer through the AAU circuit and had Staten in for an unofficial visit a few weeks ago. He and his parents clearly were impressed.

Cyclone head coach Greg McDermott — who reaped the benefits of Jacobson’s toughness, moxie and 3-point shooting ability — is starting to make a habit of this early commitment thing.

Two summers ago, Rock Valley forward Jordan Dykstra accepted McDermott’s scholarship offer before he laced up his sneakers as a prep.

Staten is the first member of the class of 2012. He’ll have plenty of time to craft his game, not to mention probably grow a few inches.

Hinrich’s legacy at West will be tough for Staten to top.

The Chicago Bulls guard went 82-9 over four years, including a state title as a senior. Predictably, Hinrich is the school’s all-time leader in points, assists and steals.

He would have been a Cyclone had Tim Floyd stuckaround. 


Let’s hope Staten sticks to his word when the time comes.