Things may not look so good right now for Iowa State’s men’s basketball team, entering Sunday’s game at Houston with a 7-4 record after Tuesday night’s shocking home loss to Division I newbie South Dakota State.
Help is on the way in Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College forward/guard Marquis Gilstrap. Gilstrap, who measures about 6-7, 210 pounds, signed with ISU in November and has one season to play in Ames starting next fall.
Gilstrap is lighting it up so far, averaging approximately 25 points and 12 rebounds a game.
“His consistency has been unbelivable,” ISU Coach Greg McDermott said.
McDermott recently flew to Florida to watch Gilstrap play, but winter weather prevented him from completing a trip to Chicago and a visit to see his other 2009 signee, Whitney Young H.S. point guard Chris Colvin.
Here was the coach’s report on Gilstrap:
“I was very impressed with his play; his ability to get the basket going right and left, he shot the 3-point shot well and was all over the place on the backboards. He’ll fill that hole we have not having an athletic wing who can go inside or out and go block a shot or go get a rebound at the top of the square.
“We don’t have that kind of a player.”
Gilstrap will have played against worthy competition. Many of the players he’s already faced and will go against at junior colleges like Chipola and Northwest Florida, the state’s Nos. 1 and 2 ranked teams, and Tallahassee and Pensacola in the Panhandle Conference also are Division I recruits.
He’s teammates with Brad Reese, who ISU went after hard last spring and eventually settled on Texas Tech.
The two are the Commodores’ top players. McDermott said Gilstrap doesn’t have to dominate the ball on offense and remains in the flow of the game.
“I didn’t see him force much. He really let the game come to him,” McDermott said.
If Gilstrap and Colvin live up to their reputations, the Cyclones could be onto something good in the next two years. Out of eligibility come March are guards Bryan Petersen and Sean Haluska and center Alex Thompson.
Also new to the team next year will be guard Scott Christopherson, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Marquette. Craig Brackins will be a year older and probably bigger. So will Lucca Staiger, who is rounding into form as one of ISU’s top offensive players.
Diante Garrett is back. So is Wes Eikmeier… and Justin Hamilton… and Dominque Buckley.
Who knows what the rest of this season will bring, but there’s a lot to look forward to if fans can continue being patient.