Some Iowa State fans sitting in the student section chanted “one more year” as Cyclone players and coaches walked off the floor after their 78-76 victory over Texas Tech.
“Were they talking to me?” joked third-year coach Greg McDermott, who will have to reach the championship game of next week’s Big 12 Conference Touranment to achieve his first winning season at ISU.
The chants were intended for the ears of Craig Brackins, who could test the NBA waters and leave school with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Saturday’s game may have been the final Hilton Coliseum appearance for more than seniors Bryan Petersen, Sean Haluska and Alex Thompson.
Brackins has some difficult decisions ahead.
“Every possession he plays someone (with the NBA) is watching, whether they are there in person or watching on DirecTV somewhere,” McDermott said. “That’s the reality that he’s had to deal with and we’ve had to deal with. We don’t talk about it a lot. I don’t think he wants to be distracted by it at this point in time, but it’s something at the end of the year that we are doing to have to deal with.”
Brackins finished a close second to Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin for the Big 12 scoring title in league games only, finishing the regular season at 20.1 points a game.
He’s 12 points shy of becoming the fifth player in school history to top 1,000 points in his first two seasons.
McDermott wants him and needs him to return to his team next season. But the coach can’t be selfish with this situation, and he knows it.
“I have a responsibility to Craig to advise him the best that I can,” McDermott said.
The Cyclones should be better next season with recruits Chris Colvin and Marquis Gilstrap. They’ll be better with Brackins, of course.
Start crossing your fingers Cyclone fans.