Archive for April, 2010

Emptying the notebook from Fred-a-palooza

April 29, 2010

AMES — More heart surgery is in Fred Hoiberg’s future, though it is not imminent.

Hoiberg was forced to cut short his NBA career in 2006, 10 months after having an enlarged aortic root corrected. He needed to have a pacemaker installed.

The new Iowa State basketball coach said another procedure will happen because of a deterioration in his aortic valve.

“I hope it is years away,” Hoiberg said. “If I had any concerns about my health I wouldn’t have taken this job.”

Hoiberg said he nearly returned to the NBA during the 05-06 season, but decided the risk was too great.

MORE ON MAC. Cyclone legend Gary Thompson said Greg McDermott’s departure (some would call it an escape, but whatever) for Creighton probably saved he and the school some face.

The coach and fans had endured four straight losing seasons and finishes of 10th or lower in the Big 12 Conference each of the last three years.

Next season wasn’t looking terribly promising either. McDermott was under contract through the 2014-15 season.

“It was a win-win situation for both parties,” Thompson said. “Everybody wanted McDermott to succeed, but for whatever reason it didn’t work out.”

MOVING UP. Assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger is a big winner in this deal. The talented recruiter has parlayed his skills and wealth of contacts into the job as Hoiberg’s associate head coach.

The 32-year-old from Milwaukee, a junior college assistant in Florida just six years ago, has done well for himself.

“This is an unbelievable situation and opportunity for me individually to continue to be a part of this athletic department,” he said. “And to be able to work for someone everyday like Fred… for me it is a dream come true.”

Otzelberger’s presence was a high priority. He was key in recruiting most of the returning players and the incoming recruits who have signed letters of intent.

“T.J. was being pulled in eight different directions,” Hoiberg said. “He was my first call.”

Another former Cyclone great, Jeff Grayer, also is coming back to coach for his alma mater. Grayer is ISU’s all-time leading scorer. Hoiberg ranks third.

“Jeff is the best player to play at Iowa State,” Hoiberg said. “I’m thrilled to have him on my staff.”

Two more coaches still must be hired.

Experience in the college game — preferably with a head coaching background — will be key.

“We are trying to put the most complete staff together that we can supplementing each others’ strengths,” Otzelberger said.

Left out in the cold may be Jeff Rutter, who decided against joining Greg McDermott at Creighton because of family concerns. He wants his son, A.J., to finish high school in the area and not have to live in Omaha while his wife, Shari, stays back in Ames.

“It came down to family,” Rutter said. “Two years was too much.”

Rutter, a McDermott assistant since 2003 at Northern Iowa and ISU, was at Wednesday’s event and has made it clear to Hoiberg he is interested in remaining a part of the program.

“It’s a great fit. He’s going to do great things,” Rutter said.

CHANGE OF HEART? So, could Ames star Harrison Barnes be talked out of going to North Carolina to stay home in Ames like Hoiberg did almost 20 years ago?

Not very likely, but it could be worth some effort. Barnes signed with the Tar Heels last November.

“We’ll see,” joked redshirt freshman guard Bubu Palo, a starter on Ames’ state championship team two seasons ago and close friend to Barnes.

YOUTH IS SERVED. Watching the NBA Playoffs recently with grandson, Jack, Karen Hoiberg noticed how young one of the teams’ coaches was.

It got her to thinking. So she picked up the phone to get in touch with her 37-year-old son.

“I texted Fred and asked how did he get a coaching job?” Karen said. “I told Fred he should be coaching.”

Recruiting ability, fit are key for new mbb assistants

April 19, 2010

AMES — Iowa State has two openings on its coaching staff. What is Greg McDermott looking for in filling those spots?

“Recruiting is always a priority,” the Cyclone coach said during an interview late last week.

With just six scholarship players and two walk-ons currently on campus, immediate recruiting help would be welcome. Realistically, McDermott is meaning down the road, starting with next year’s class.

What else?

An appreciation for the school and the community also is key, McDermott said.

“It has to be somebody who believes (Ames) is a fit for them, because it is not for everybody. That’s just the reality,” he said.

Resumes are pouring in, McDermott says. He’s done some interviews and hopes to make one or both hires official by the end of this week.

“I haven’t struggled to find people who are interested,” McDermott said. “There’s plenty of people who want to be here. It’s trying to find the right people.”

He and coaches T.J. Otzelberger and Jeff Rutter have spent the last few days looking for additions to this year’s recruiting class. Coaches are in an open recruiting period until Wednesday.

McDermott was boarding a plane headed for Wisconsin Friday afternoon. Rutter was traveling to Europe to visit prospects.

“The next (few) days are important for us as we continue to evaluate a few guys more in-depth,” McDermott said.

ISU has seen three players leave the program (Justin Hamilton, Dominique Buckley and Chris Colvin) since the season ended last month.

The late signing period began last week. One player — Oregon big man Jordan Railey — has signed so far. McDermott needs a few more to join up.

“We’ve had players visit and have more planned,” he said. “We are looking at a few (Division I) transfers as well.”

For those going to ISU’s spring game…

April 17, 2010
Iowa State’s spring football game will kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday in Jack Trice Stadium.
Admission and parking will be free.
The general public should enter the stadium at the northeast Gate 1 entrance. All seating for the game will be on the east side of the stadium.
The ISU athletics ticket office will be open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Football posters will be available in the Guest Services booth on the east concourse.
The game will be played in 15-minute quarters with the fourth quarter featuring a moving clock.

So, who wrestles for ISU next year? Maybe freshmen

April 9, 2010

AMES — Missing half of its regular lineup from this past season, what in the world is Iowa State’s wrestling team going to look like next season?

It’ll be young, that’s for sure. How young?

“If a kid comes in and believes he can be a national champion and I believe he can be a national champion, we are going to wrestle him,” coach Kevin Jackson said. “If not, we’ll redshirt him. ”

Previous Cyclone coaches Bobby Douglas and Cael Sanderson were steadfast in redshirting ALL their incoming freshmen. Jackson may not have that luxury with his new class, which is nearly 10 deep right now as the spring signing period approaches.

Three newly-crowned Iowa high school state champions will join the team: Centerville’s Mike England, Kyven Gadson of Waterloo East and Urbandale’s Mike Moreno. Finalists Trevor Voelker of Adel-DeSoto-Minburn and West Des Moines Valley’s Brandon Jones also will be Cyclones.

Three others — Joey Cozart (Brandon, Fla.), Ryak Finch (Safford, Ariz.) and Luke Goettl (Clarksdale, Ariz.) — are among Jackson’s first full recruiting class.

Does the coach prefer they sit or throw ’em in there?

“I don’t know if I have any rules,” Jackson said. “This is only my second year.”

Ideally Jackson would like to get his newbies acclimated to the type of training and tactics he employs and allow their bodies to develop.

Results can happen quickly with the right person.

“We only had our hands on Andrew Long for seven months and he made great strides,” Jackson said of Long, who was an NCAA tournament finalist at 125 pounds in his first season on the mat, though he redshirted as a true freshman. “We have some other guys in the room who are equally as talented and can put themselves in that same situation.”

Sophomores Jerome Ward (184), Andrew Sorenson (157) and Dalton Jensen (141) will be expected to step it up, as will senior-to-be Jon Reader.

Jackson has high hopes for redshirts Trent Weatherman and Boaz Beard, too.

Year two of the Jackson era will be a rebuilding one.

“Next year I think we are going to do things a little smarter from a training aspect,” Reader said. “One thing I can promise you, we are going to work hard. We are going to be young but we are going to fight.”

Cyclones Lacey, Brackins prepping for hoops career

April 2, 2010

AMES — Iowa State’s pro basketball prospects are gearing up for their drafts.

It was announced Thursday that Cyclone point guard Alison Lacey was one of 14 players invited to attend the WNBA’s Draft on April 8 in Secaucus, N.J.

She plans on being there, along with head coach Bill Fennelly, assistant Jodi Steyer and student assistant/roommate Brittany Lange.

Lacey has been working out since ISU’s season ended Sunday in a NCAA tournament loss to Connecticut. She hasn’t been sure about continuing her professional career,  but it sounds as if the WNBA is in her future.

“It is shocking that it is actually happening,” Lacey said. “Just to be mentioned with the people that will be at the draft is surreal. If you would have told me back in Australia that this would have happened there is no way I would have believed it.”

Lacey, a first-team all-Big 12 pick this season, will be the eighth player in ISU history picked for the draft and the first since Lyndsey Medders in 2007.

Other players in the conference joining her in person at the draft will be Oklahoma State’s Andrea Riley, Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin, Kansas’ Danielle McCray and Oklahoma’s Amanda Thompson.

Meanwhile, former Cyclone big man Craig Brackins is living in Las Vegas, working out daily in preparation for the June 24 NBA Draft.

The 6-10 forward is sharing an apartment with Oklahoma State guard James Anderson, who also decided to leave school a year early for a chance at the NBA.

Brackins and Anderson became fast friends last summer while playing in the World University Games.

The Web site http://www.nbadraft.net projects Brackins as an early second-round pick.  He is hoping to go higher than that, obviously, and earn a guaranteed contract if selected in the first round.