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.