Basketball bits before Cyclones vs. Dookies

Who knows how full the United Center will be for Wednesday’s 8 p.m. Iowa State-Duke men’s basketball game. The place can hold almost 21,000.

We do know that press row will be full. ISU media relations contact Mike Green said 17 NBA scouts have requested credentials for the game, which is the first-ever meeting between the schools.

“Over half of the league is going to be there,” Green said.

Who are they going to be looking at?

Cyclone big man Craig Brackins is probably pretty high on the list, along with Duke senior Jon Scheyer and juniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. ISU guard/forward Marquis Gilstrap should also garner a look, though he may end up returning to school if the NCAA grants him an extra season of eligibilty. 

AT THE MIC. Dave O’Brien (play-by-play) and Jay Bilas (color) will have the call on ESPN2. Bilas, one of the network’s lead analysts, was a four-year starter for Duke from 1983-86 and later an assistant coach under Coach Mike Krzyzewski from 1990-92.

MISSING IN ACTION. ISU big man Jamie Vanderbeken is questionable at best to play against the Blue Devils.

Vanderbeken has missed four games this season because of various injuries. The latest is a high ankle sprain sustained after slipping on a patch of ice.

The 6-11 senior has missed most of the last month and his return to the lineup is “slow going,” said Coach Greg McDermott. 

“I really feel bad for Jamie,” McDermott said.  “It’s his senior year and you hate to have anybody go through injury after injury after injury.

Before the season even started Vanderbeken was rehabbing a stress fracture in his foot he sustained during tryouts for Great’s Britain’s national team that was competing in the European Championships. Then came a sprained knee late in ISU’s Dec. 2 loss to Northern Iowa.

And now, the ankle.

“We’ve had a hard time working that out,” McDermott said. “He’s better than he’s been. He’s been able to get through most of a couple of practices, but still a long ways from being ready.”

Vanderbeken is averaging 4.6 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 62.5 percent from the field.  ISU’s perimeter shooting has suffered a bit, as Vanderbeken is one of the team’s best 3-point shooters.

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