Roster shuffle has ISU coaches on the hunt

 

McDermott having to plug holes in his roster

AMES — Iowa State has been in a recruiting scramble the last few weeks as its men’s basketball roster has undergone major changes. 

Spots that were filled by Lucca Staiger and L.A. Pomlee suddenly are open and one that coaches thought would be available isn’t as injured senior Jamie Vanderbeken is being shelved with the hope that he will be alllowed to play next season.

ISU coaches are piling up cell phone minutes and frequent flier miles checking out prospects they didn’t necessarily need a month ago.

“You always have your eyes on people and trying to be aware of who is available and playing well,” Coach Greg McDermott said this week. “Now that we are in this situation we’ve been more aggressive the last two weeks in getting out and getting in front to see some people.

“With Lucca leaving we’ll probably look to add someone in the guard court.”

Add in Marquis Gilstrap’s appeal to the NCAA for a extra year of eligibility beyond his one and only guaranteed season — the result of which won’t be known until after the season — and there’s all kinds of question marks looking ahead to the 2010-11 roster.

Forward Craig Brackins has another year to play, but the expectation is the junior big man won’t pass on entering the NBA Draft early like he did last April.

“My guess is that Craig is going to declare,” McDermott said. “Because of his age that’s probably what he should do.”

ISU will add at least one player in the late signing period to help fill Brackins’ place in the middle. The Cyclones have a verbal commitment from 6-10, 215-pounder Jordan Railey of Beaverton, Ore.

Two backcourt players — 6-6 Melvin Ejim from Brewster (N.H.) Academy and Marshalltown Community College 6-3 shooting guard DeMarcus Phillips — signed letters of intent back in November.

Assuming Brackins and Gilstrap don’t return and Vanderbeken is granted a medical hardship, nine of ISU’s 13 scholarships are spoken for by returning players. Recruits Railey, Ejim and Phillips make it 12, leaving one spot to fill.

Stay tuned Cyclone fans.  And good luck predicting which players will be sitting on ISU’s bench next season.

Offseasons have unfortunately been eventful in the McDermott era.

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