Two recruits already in the fold for Iowa State had front row seats at Hilton Coliseum last Saturday for the Cyclones’ 79-75 loss to No. 10-ranked Kansas State.
ISU’s disappointing season (13-10 overall, 2-6 Big 12) that started with NCAA Tournament dreams isn’t souring their feelings about coming to campus or the future health of the program. Brewster (N.H.) Academy’s Melvin Ejim and Marshalltown Community College guard DeMarcus Phillips are hoping the current group can carry some positive momentum forward.
“Hopefully they start playing better and start getting some W’s,” Ejim said.
Phillips, who has been out of action since Jan. 1 because of a broken bone in his arm, has seen several games in person this season and keeps in contact with a lot of the players.
It’s not been an easy stretch for them. ISU plays Wednesday night at Missouri.
“They been struggling,” Phillips said. “They started off fast. The last few games have been rough. They’ll get it back together though.”
Both guards believe they have skills that can be of immediate help.
Phillips said he was leading the conference in scoring before having to have screws inserted below his right wrist. He’s hoping to return to the lineup very soon.
“I can be a big help at the 1 or 2 guard,” Phillips said. “I can help on defense. I can hit the jumper and make plays when they need it. I think I fit in pretty well with this Iowa State team…We’ll get back to the top of the Big 12 hopefully.”
The 6-6, 205-pound Ejim also has high hopes for himself.
“My jump shot is better and I’ve been working on my handle,” Ejim said. “I’m coming along as a player. Hopefully I come in and really play a lot and play well. I’m the type of player that with my intensity I can help bring up this team.”
Ejim signed his letter of intent back in November, but was finally taking his official visit.
It was the second time he’s been inside Hilton for a game.
“It doesn’t get any better,” Ejim said. “The amount of people that are here all the time and the support…it’s going to be a crazy place to play. I’m excited.”
Beaverton, Ore., center Jordan Railey will join ISU’s recruiting class in the spring. There could be more depending on Craig Brackins’ NBA decision and Marquis Gilstrap’s luck in asking the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility.
“There will be a whole lot of talent here,” Phillips said.
Has he tried to convince Brackins to stay for his senior season?
“When I asked him about it he just laughed it off,” Phillips said. “It’ll be exciting to see what he does. I hope he does (stay).”