Ex-ISU hoops commit: “I want more in life than basketball”

Iowa State basketball coaches wanted more of a commitment to the game than Jordan Dykstra was willing to make.

And so, just months before the star Rock Valley (Iowa) forward was to make his three-year-long commitment official, Dykstra and ISU have parted ways. He will re-open his recruitment, and may even look into playing football at the college level instead, Dykstra said in an email Wednesday to The Gazette.

“For me to be successful in the Big 12, I would have to focus all my time in high school on basketball,” Dykstra wrote. “That would mean giving up many activities in high school that I really enjoy. I am not willing to do that to myself, or to my friends, coaches and instructors… I love basketball, but I want to have more in life than just that.”

Dykstra accepted a scholarship offer as a ninth-grader, before he even went through a varsity basketball practice.

He immediately connected with head coach Greg McDermott and the rest of the Cyclones’ coaching staff. This was not an easy decision.

 “They are good guys over there,” Dykstra said. “Sometimes you have to follow you heart when your heart tells you something isn’t right.”

The 6-9, 215-pound forward led Rock Valley to a Class 1A state championship back in March. Dykstra averaged 17.7 points and 10.1 rebounds as a junior.

His oral commitment back in 2006 is believed to be the earliest ever by an Iowa prep.

Not long ago the Cyclones had a pair of commitments for the Class of 2010. Chim Kadima, a 6-3 guard from Milwaukee also was set to come to ISU but now is looking at other schools.

National signing day for recruits is in November.

McDermott will have at least one scholarship available and possibly three.

Forward Jamie Vanderbeken and junior college transfer Marquis Gilstrap are seniors, though Gilstrap may ask the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility because of past injury problems.

All-Big 12 Conference forward Craig Brackins returned for his junior season, but is likely to only stay one more season before turning pro.

Dykstra answered “not really” when asked if schools had already made contact with him.

“I’m gonna keep my options open and just take it a day at a time,” Dykstra said.

Dykstra plays for the Martin Brothers AAU team. The team – which includes McDermott’s son, Doug – plays in a tournament this weekend in Manhattan, Kan.

Ideally, the school he chooses won’t be far from home.

“I’d rather stay close so I can have my family and friends at the games supporting me,” Dykstra said.

Dykstra said schools have spoken with his football coach. He also wrote that he would love to continue playing in college alongside Rock Valley teammate Marcus Heemstra, also a Division I prospect whom Dykstra has played with since grade school.

This decision comes just as ISU’s team appears on the rise.

“I know many people will question this decision, but I feel this is the right decision for me,” Dykstra said.

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