Archive for February, 2010

Recruits hoping for big finish to Cyclones’ season

February 10, 2010

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).”

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ISU auctioning off game-worn pink unis

February 8, 2010

This from Iowa State’s athletic web site:

The pink-accented uniforms and pink shoes Iowa State wore last Saturday against Kansas State to help raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer and those jerseys are now up for auction at www.cyclones.com.

Each auctioned jersey will be signed by every member of the team. Bidding will start at $150 each.

All proceeds from the online auction will go towards the “Hoops for Hope” program, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

Jerseys from the following players are being auctioned from now through Feb. 15: Dominique Buckley (1), Charles Boozer (4), Scott Christopherson (11), Alex Dorr (12), Craig Brackins (21), Bubu Palo (25) and Justin Hamilton (41).

The rest of the players’ jerseys will be available from Feb. 15-22:  Chris Colvin (2), Marquis Gilstrap (3), Diante Garrett (10), Antwon Oliver (15), LaRon Dendy (22) and Jamie Vanderbeken (23).

Also, an autographed game ball and an autographed pair of shoes will be auctioned during each of those time periods.

The jerseys are white with gray numbers and pink trim. The shoulder has an embroidered breast cancer ribbon logo.

K-State coach praises Cyclones, McDermott

February 7, 2010

Kansas State coach Frank Martin showed some empathy for Iowa State and hard-luck coach Greg McDermott Saturday during his post-game remarks to reporters.

He also piled on departed Cyclone guard Lucca Staiger, who last month abruptly left the team to pursue a professional career in his native Germany.

K-State won its eighth straight game in the series and fourth straight at Hilton Coliseum with its 79-75 victory.

Martin has his team rolling at 19-4 overall and 6-3 in the Big 12. He recognizes the significance of a win in Ames, even against an undermanned ISU team with just eight scholarship players.

Martin was much more calm after Saturday's win over ISU. Really.

“These arenas are so hard to play in. Fans here at Iowa State are great and they have a good basketball team,” Martin said. “My heart goes out to Greg and those kids because to deal with the injuries to (Jamie) Vanderbeken and (Charles) Boozer and then to turn around and have some selfish guy quit on his team, and for them to still be playing as hard as they are is a credit to their team and coaching staff. I think Iowa State is going to win a bunch of games here.”

ISU fans may have only nine more games to watch big man Craig Brackins.

The junior forward is likely to leave early for the NBA after flirting with the idea last offseason. Brackins had his 26th career double-double Saturday against K-State, scoring 29 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

After a frustrating start to conference play, he’s looking more like the player who earned first-team all-Big 12 honors a season ago.

“He’s quick and he’s a great shooter,” KSU forward Curtis Kelly said. “I didn’t know he was that good of a shooter because I’ve never played him before. You really have to pressure him. If he gets one sight of the rim it is going in.”

Ash leaves Ames, Parker a go for 2010

February 4, 2010

AMES — Let’s start with the good news…

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said Wednesday that five players who sought medical hardship waivers from the NCAA will gain back that season of eligibility.

The list includes defensive end Rashawn Parker, receiver Darius Reynolds, defensive back Earl Brooks, linebacker Matt Taufoou and offensive lineman Hayworth Hicks.

“From what I understand everybody’s been approved,” Rhoads said.

Parker and Reynolds are the biggies. ISU’s young and undersized defensive line will welcome Parker, a senior last season who blew out his knee in the Army game, with open arms.

Reynolds broke a bone in his leg after just three games and needed surgery. He participated in bowl practices and will be at full strength when spring ball starts up next month.

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The bad news, for ISU at least…

Defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator Chris Ash has joined the staff at Wisconsin, leaving a significant hole for Rhoads to fill.

Ash spent eight of the last 10 years coaching at ISU, knew the program inside and out and was able to use that to his advantage on the recruiting trail. The guy was a pretty good coach, too.

“He brings great knowledge and tremendous experience,” Badgers coach Bret Bielema said. “I’ve known Chris for a long time and his familiarity not only with our staff but with our schemes will help in what I think will be a seamless transition for him and the rest of our coaches.”

Ash, who coached at San Diego State in between stints at ISU, joins former Drake colleague Dave Doeren and Charlie Partridge in Madison. The Ottumwa native will again coach defensive backs.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work at a wonderful university like Wisconsin and with a football program with such a great history of success,” Ash said.

Don’t underestimate the impact this move could have on the Cyclones.

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Now, for some news that could either be good or bad…

The aforementioned Hicks and receiver Jason Carlson have been suspended from school for academic reasons and will need to re-enroll following the spring semester.

Hicks has been only a special teams guy so far. Carlson hasn’t hardly been on the field in his two seasons since transferring from North Dakota College of Sciences.

Hicks will be a junior and Carlson a senior.

“I fully expect Hayworth back,” Rhoads said. “I don’t know what Jason’s intentions are.”

Roster shuffle has ISU coaches on the hunt

February 3, 2010

 

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.

Cyclone QB recruit about to join the “big time”

February 2, 2010

AMES – Playing in the Big 12 Conference has been a dream of quarterback Jared Barnett’s for as long as he can remember.

“That’s big time football,” Barnett said. “The Big 12 is where playmakers want to be.”

It’s where Barnett will call home starting next season once he officially accepts Iowa State’s scholarship offer Wednesday on college football’s national signing day. The Cyclones are expecting to add about 25 players to the roster.

Barnett is not the only member of his team — or family – joining one of college football’s most competitive conferences.

Three of his Garland (Texas) High School teammates also will sign with Big 12 schools.

Barnett’s cousin, Eryon, is a freshman defensive back at Texas. And Eryon Barnett’s younger brother is being pursued by Big 12 schools for next year’s recruiting class.

They all played on the same youth football teams growing up and remain close.

“(The Big 12) is kind of in our family,” said Barnett, who also had offers from Kansas State and Houston.

The 6-1, 200-pounder was the first member of ISU Coach Paul Rhoads’ first true recruiting class, and the only quarterback. Barnett gave his commitment way back in May.

“I love the offense,” he said. “It’s the same offense we run at my high school. It’s going to be an easy transition.”

Rated by Rivals.com as the 27th-best dual threat quarterback in the nation, Barnett passed for more than 2,100 yards as a senior and had 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

He also ran for almost 400 yards and six more scores.

Barnett almost surely will redshirt and be in the same position current Cyclone quarterback Jerome Tiller was in this past year.

Tiller, a redshirt freshman, was given the chance to win the starting job but lost out to veteran Austen Arnaud. Like Arnaud, he’ll be an experienced junior when Barnett realistically can compete for the spot.

“Let the best man win,” Barnett said. “That’s a very exciting position to fight for.”

He watched the Cyclones go 7-6 last season mainly behind the running of tailback Alexander Robinson. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman’s spread offense was more run heavy than most thought it would be.

“With a guy like Alexander Robinson it’s hard to not hand it off to him,” Barnett said. “I’m sure we’ll pick up the passing more as everybody gets more comfortable in the offense.”

Barnett’s University of Texas-bound teammates have teased him about the difference in talent between the Big 12’s South and North divisions.

“They are saying the North is weak,” Barnett said. “We’ll have to show ‘em.”

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Iowa State’s expected list of signees Wednesday

Jared Barnett, QB, 6-1, 190, Garland H.S., Garland, Texas

Adrian Bennett, DB, 6-2, 205, Klein Forest H.S., Houston, Texas

*Jon Caspers, OL, 6-5, 295, ND State College of Science, Wahpeton, N.D.

Shaban Dika, OL, 6-5, 295, Warren H.S., San Antonio, Texas

Tom Farnioik, OL, 6-3, 260, Washington H.S., Sioux Falls, S.D.

Jacob Gannon, OL, 6-6, 255, West H.S., Iowa City

Albert Gary, WR, 5-9, 195, Butler County CC, El Dorado, Kan.

Jeremiah George, LB, 5-10, 191, Clearwater H.S., Clearwater, Fla.

Durrell Givens, DB, 6-0, 195, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Bob Graham, OL, 6-5, 280, Jenks H.S., Jenks, Okla.

Duran Hollis, RB, 6-1, 180, Polytechnic H.S., Fort Worth, Texas

*Ricky Howard, TE, 6-5, 255, Chaffey CC, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Cqulin Hubert, LB, 6-1, 217, Eisenhower H.S., Houston, Texas

Brandon Jense, DT, 6-5, 260, Ankeny H.S., Ankeny

Shontrelle Johnson, RB, 5-10, 180, Deland H.S., Deland, Fla.

Nick Kron, DE, 6-2, 245, Valley H.S., West Des Moines

Ben Loth, OL, 6-5, 275, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.

Floyd Mattison, LB,  6-0, 190, Morton Ranch H.S., Katy, Texas

T.J. McCullough, ATH, 6-2, 180, North Marion H.S., Citra, Fla.

Clifford Morgan, DB, 6-2, 195, Frostproof H.S., Frostproof, Fla.

*Rony Nelson, DE, 6-2, 250, Yuba CC, Marysville, Calif.

Pierce Richardson, TE, 6-4, 230, Crespi H.S., Encino, Calif.

Matt Thomas, DB, 5-10, 175, Lancaster H.S., Lancaster, Texas

Kirby Van Der Kamp, K, 6-4, 180, Valley H.S., West Des Moines

Jarvis West, WR, 5-7, 165, Gibbs H.S., St. Petersburg, Fla.

*Anthony Young, DB, 5-9, 180, Palomar CC, Ontario, Calif.

Chris Young, WR, 5-11, 185, Trinity Valley CC, Athens, Texas

*already have signed letters of intent and are enrolled at ISU

ISU having “Pink Out” Sat. vs. K-State

February 1, 2010

 

Here's what Craig Brackins will be wearing

Iowa State’s men’s basketball team will be wearing pink shoes and jerseys with pink lettering during Saturday’s game at Hilton Coliseum with No. 10-ranked Kansas State in support of breast cancer awareness.

ISU is one of four schools nationally – Brigham Young, Illinois and Oregon – the Nike has outfitted with the specially-made uniforms. Students in Cyclone Alley will be wearing pink shirts and the general public is encouraged to wear pink clothing to help make it a “Pink Out” crowd for the ESPN2 national audience.

Coach Greg McDermott’s wife, Theresa, and graduate assistant Bryan Petersen’s mother, Karen, are breast cancer survivors.

“Nike is very aware of Theresa’s battle with breast cancer,” McDermott said. “She is doing well and that’s great. Part of the reason she is doing great is because hers was detected early. That’s really what this is about. It’s about awareness. It’s about people understanding that you just can’t forget what you are supposed to do. You have to be proactive with your health. If in some small way this helps, it’s a small price for us to pay.

“Our guys were all fired up about wearing them. They are happy to be on board with this and hopefually we can get as many fans as possible wearing pink.”

The McDermotts annually participate in “Hoops for Hope,” a fund-raising event benefitting the American Cancer Society. Coaches from Iowa’s three Division I schools some others from other college basketball programs participate each year.