Posts Tagged ‘Big 12 Conference’

Brackins going pro, two others leaving team

March 12, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Forward Craig Brackins will forgo his final year of eligibility and Justin Hamilton and Dominique Buckley will transfer away from Iowa State, Coach Greg McDermott confirmed this afternoon.

Brackins will hire an agent, according to an ISU release.

The all-Big 12 forward stayed in town to watch ISU’s women’s team play in the Big 12 Tournament will be available to reporters at halftime of their quarterfinal game against Oklahoma State tonight.

His exit was expected. Hamilton’s is a major blow to a team that went 15-17 overall and now will be without starters Brackins, Hamilton and Marquis Gilstrap.

The sophomore center started 32 games this season, averaging 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. The Alpine, Utah, native said he wants to play somewhere closer to home.

“I appreciate everything the Cyclone Nation has done for me,” Hamilton said. “The fan base, my teammates and the support of the community at ISU has been incredible, but I just feel I need to be at a school closer to home where my family will have a better opportunity to watch me play. I appreciate everything Coach McDermott and the coaching staff has done for me. They have helped me improve as a player and person.”

Buckley averaged 1.4 points in 27 games this season as a reserve.

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Finally, Cyclones and McDermott catch a break

March 7, 2010

A group of reporters were sitting inside Hilton Coliseum the other night asking which game, if any, could be considered the signature win in Greg McDermott’s four seasons as Iowa State’s head coach.

The list of candidates was not terribly impressive. It’s better now.

McDermott has a no-brainer after Saturday’s 85-82 victory at No. 5 Kansas State, the Cyclones’ first win over a ranked opponent since Feb. 5, 2006, a span of 21 games.

It was the coach’s first win over a ranked opponent in 20 tries, including nine this season, most of any team in the Big 12 Conference.

Here was McDermott’s post-game address to his players inside the locker room, courtesy of cyclones.com

ISU (15-16, 4-12) started fast, led 42-33 at halftime and were tough and colllected in the closing minutes of regulation and overtime — which were played without star forward Craig Brackins, who had fouled out with 2 1/2 minutes to play.

K-State tried to make it a numbers game. Brackins and LaRon Dendy each fouled out, while Justin Hamilton and Scott Christopherson made it through despite each having four fouls with 6 minutes still to play in regulation.

Diante Garrett scored five of his eigth in the extra session.

Finally, the bounce of the ball went the Cyclones’ way. After Tuesday’s disheartening overtime loss to Missouri at the buzzer, they needed a pick me up.

“My hat’s off to Greg McDermott,” K-State coach Frank Martin told reporters after his Wildcats likely dropped out of contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. “As disappointed as I am in our guys, I’m extremely happy for him, happy for those kids. With all the close losses they’ve had this year, [McDermott] continues to get those kids to play as hard as he does. I’m real happy for Greg.”

Now it’s on to Kansas City, Mo., and the Big 12 Tournament at the Sprint Center.

ISU faces Texas (23-8, 9-7), which has lost eight of its 14 games after a 17-0 start propelled them to No. 1 in the rankings two days before coming to Hilton Coliseum on Jan. 13.

The Longhorns won that game 90-83, quickly erasing ISU’s halftime lead and pulling away late.

Here’s the schedule for the Big 12 Tournament (Cyclone fans will have to stay up late to watch):

Wednesday’s opening-round games

11:30 a.m. — No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Texas Tech

2 p.m. — No. 5 Missouri vs. No. 12 Nebraska

6 p.m. — No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 10 Oklahoma

8:30 p.m. — No. 6 Texas vs. No. 11 Iowa State

Thursday’s quarterfinals

11:30 a.m. — No. 1 Kansas vs. Colorado-Texas Tech winner

2 p.m. — No. 4 Texas A&M vs. Missouri-Nebraska winner

6 p.m. — No. 2 Kansas State vs. Oklahoma-Oklahoma St. winner

8:30 p.m. — No. 3 Baylor vs. Texas-Iowa State winner

Sick Lacey will sit out Saturday’s Senior Day festivities

March 4, 2010

AMES – There will be one very notable absence Saturday when Iowa State’s senior class plays it final regular season game at Hilton Coliseum.

Star point guard Alison Lacey won’t be in uniform and may not even be in the building for the No. 13 Cyclones’ 2 p.m. game against Colorado. Lacey is fighting a respiratory illness that caused her to miss Wednesday’s loss at Oklahoma State and will keep her out of the lineup until next week’s Big 12 Conference tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

“She’s had trouble breathing and she’s real run down,” Coach Bill Fennelly said Thursday. “She’s better today but not anywhere where we would gamble at all to play her.”

Lacey did not travel to Stillwater, Okla., and has not done anything basketball related since ISU’s win over Kansas State last Saturday.

Doctors have ruled out mononucleosis, which Lacey battled last year.

ISU (22-6, 10-5 Big 12) has clinched a top four seed and first-round bye in the conference tournament and would secure the No. 2 seed with a victory. A loss to the Buffaloes (13-15, 3-12) could affect NCAA Tournament seeding, but that’s a risk Fennelly is willing to take.

Lacey ranks fifth in the league in scoring (17.1), is second in assists (6.5) and first in free-throw percentage (88.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.2).

“There’s no reason to push it,” Fennelly said. “We have to figure out the best way for our team to have its best chance in the postseason. That is to have Aus (Lacey) as rested and ready to go as possible.”

Lacey: Future in hoops, U.S. up in the air

February 27, 2010

If Alison Lacey wants to, a career in the WNBA is likely hers

AMES – Rarely is Alison Lacey confused about much of anything relating to basketball.

Except now, as Iowa State’s star senior closes out a decorated career while also trying to decide whether she wants to make a living playing it.

“I don’t know what I want to do,” said Lacey, who came to Iowa and the United States from Canberra, Australia. “Sometimes I want to play. Sometimes I want to go home. Sometimes I want to stay here. It stresses me out so I just don’t think about it.”

One thing that is clear is that Lacey’s play this season has her among some elite company.

The 6-foot point guard is sixth in the Big 12 Conference in scoring (17.5 ppg), first in assists (6.7 apg) and leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.3).

Lacey also is shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range and is 11th nationally in free-throw percentage (88.7).

Coach Bill Fennelly said it may be ultimately rank among the greatest single seasons in school history.

She’s been the primary reason why this young Cyclone team is ranked No. 15 nationally with a record of 21-5 overall and 9-4 in the conference entering Saturday’s 7 p.m. game with Kansas State (12-15, 4-9) at Hilton Coliseum.

“She’s having a senior year like you hope every senior has,” Fennelly said, “and probably has put herself in the discussion of one of the best players ever to play here.”

Fennelly has had eight of his players selected in the WNBA Draft.

He thinks Lacey — one of only seven players in Big 12 history to amass 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists — has the best chance of any of them to enjoy a lasting career as a pro.

“She’s the most prepared player that’s ever played here to go to that level,” Fennelly said. “She’s as good as any guard coming out. Her versatility, her skill set, her competitiveness… all those things. We are getting calls from every WNBA team.”

Lacey said she is leaning towards continuing with basketball, provided the injury problems she’s had during her career are minimized.

“It depends how my body feels,” Lacey said. “I feel good right now.”

The question then would be where to play. WNBA? Europe? Both?

“She could go home and be a professional and make a good living for a while and enjoy it,” Fennelly said.

Lacey also could finish her degree this spring and start a life back in Australia. Or stay in the U.S. until she’s ready to return home.

“Sometimes I miss home and miss my family. I haven’t had a summer back there in five years,” Lacey said. “But I’m ready to experience new things so I don’t know if I’m quite ready to go back.”

Fennelly has tried to provide her with reasonable advice.

“What I told her is not to close any doors until you know you are sure,” he said.

 Lacey admits it won’t be easy leaving the country.

“It’s so cheap here. And I love all the food now,” Lacey said. “I’ve grown accustomed to the way of life here. It’s more fast-paced than home. It’s really laid back in Australia. No one is that motivated. People just kind of hang out.”

Why is Pollard mum on Mac? Because he can be

February 15, 2010

Is McDermott on the hot seat? His boss isn't saying.

In response to the great number of people asking their friends, wondering, blogging, chatting and filling up Internet space in regards to Greg McDermott’s job status at Iowa State and why Athletics Director Jamie Pollard hasn’t adressed it publicly, here’s the answer:

He doesn’t have to.

Media outlets — including this one — have made multiple inquiries on the topic. Pollard believes it is most beneficial to remain quiet.  

McDermott, who after Saturday’s loss to No. 1 Kansas has records of 57-63 overall and 16-42 in Big 12 Conference play, is under contract through the 2014-15 season.

According to details of his contract, the fourth-year coach is earning $950,000 this year and next year will crack the $1 million mark.

McDermott’s base salary is $225,000 with $625,000 more in guaranteed additional compensation. He also earns an annual raise of $75,000 for the life of the contract, though agreed to  give up $25,000 of that increase for the 2010 fiscal year to help pay for raises for his assistants and “other purposes in the best interest of the program,” according to his contract.

If Pollard decided the man he hired back in March 2006 should not continue coaching the Cyclones after this season, McDermott would be paid $2 million, or $500,000  for each remaining year of his deal.

In the spring of 2008 his contract was extended through May 1, 2015.

This started as McDermott’s most anticipated yet. He finally had the kind of depth and talent that past team did not.

It’s been disappointing, for several reasons, as ISU sits at 13-12 overall and 2-8 in league play.

If the program doesn’t start winning sooner than later, Pollard won’t need make any public statements. His hand will likely be forced. 

At this point in time, Pollard doesn’t feel the need to speak out.

Welle’s jersey will hang from Hilton rafters

February 10, 2010

AMES — Angie Welle will be the fourth Iowa State women’s basketball player to have her jersey retired.

Welle, the school’s career scoring and rebounding leader, is joining former teammate Megan Taylor, along with Tonya Burns and Jayme Olson, in the Hilton Coliseum rafters.  The ceremony will Feb. 20 when ISU plays host to Missouri.

The weekend’s festivities also will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Cyclones’ first Big 12 Conference regular-season and tournament championships.

Welle statistically may be the most dominant player in program history. That translated into quite a successful stretch for ISU, which went 103-29 during her four seasons.

“When you really look at her statistical numbers — how she impacted the success of our program and our attendance — it almost defies belief,” Coach Bill Fennelly said.

During Welle’s four-year career (1999-2002), ISU made four NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight finish and two Sweet Sixteens. The Cyclones also won two Big 12 Conference Tournament championships and a regular season title.

Individually, Welle closed out her career owning multiple career and single-season scoring, shooting and rebounding records. The Fargo, N.D., native still holds the Big 12 record for career field goal percentage and is ISU’s only player with 2,o00 or more points (2,149) and 1,000 or more rebounds (1,209).

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

Men’s hoops news and notes

January 26, 2010

AMES — Marquis Gilstrap is scheduled to rejoin the team Tuesday night in Oklahoma following his uncle’s funeral back home in Georgia.

Gilstrap left Ames Monday morning. He’ll participate in Wednesday morning’s shootaround at the Lloyd Noble Center prior to Iowa State’s 8 p.m. game against Oklahoma.

Hopefully the Cyclones’ leading scorer (18 ppg) and rebounder (12.3)  in Big 12 Conference play won’t show much rust and a lack of preparedness for the scouting report. Gilstrap was withheld from Sunday’s practice because of a sore knee.

“These couple days might be good for him to get a little bit of rest,” said Coach Greg McDermott. “He’s got an understanding of what we are doing. He’ll be fine.”

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A victory tonight over the Sooners  would be reason for celebration in more ways than one.

No Iowa State team has won in Norman since Valentine’s Day 1996, a 70-58 victory. The Cyclone men have lost six straight at OU and 16 consecutive regular-season games in the state of Oklahoma counting in games at Oklahoma State.

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With just eight scholarship guys, ISU players are having to settle into roles they are not entirely familiar with.

Sophomore Dominique Buckley is one of three point guards on the active roster. Buckley is having to play the off guard spot with Lucca Staiger and Charles Boozer unavailable.

It’s been an adjustment, to say the least.

“That’s not something he’s practiced at any time over the last year-and-a-half because we’ve had enough depth. He’s going to have to play there the rest of the season.”

Scott Christopherson will start his third game since Staiger’s shocking decision to leave the team.

Like Gilstrap, Christopherson also missed practice Sunday because of an illness. He’s carrying a heavy load for McDermott on both ends of the floor.

“We are asking a lot of Scott,” he said. “He’s got to guard (Kansas’) Sherron Collins, but I expect him to score. He’ll guard (Oklahoma’s) Willie Warren, and I need him to score some points. It would be nice if there was enough offense around him that we wouldn’t have to rely on him heavily.”

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ISU has now seen them both up close. Which team is better, Kansas or Texas?

“They are both really talented and both very deep,” McDermott said.

The Big 12 heavyweights meet up Feb. 8 in an ESPN Big Monday game. The No. 2-ranked Jayhawks (19-1) beat up on Missouri last night, winning 84-65 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Texas (17-2) fell to No. 6 in the Associated Press poll after losses last week to Kansas State and Connecticut.

“It’s going to be a heck of a game,” McDermott said. “They are both athletic, they both can score on the inside, they both have solid point guard play. Both are very deserving of a top-10 ranking.”

Wanted: Breakout Big 12 season by frustrated Brackins

January 13, 2010

AMES — The prevailing thought coming into the season was that it would be a good thing for Iowa State if star forward Craig Brackins’ stats were not as gaudy as they were a year ago.

Well, they aren’t so far — Brackins is averaging 16.9 points and 8.1 rebounds compared with 20.2 and 9.5 from ’08-09 — but it’s not made a difference in the won-lost column.

The Cyclones are 11-4 heading into tonight’s 7 p.m. Big 12 Conference opener at Hilton Coliseum against No. 1-ranked Texas.

Last year at this time? Same record.

Defensive pressure on the 6-10 junior has been turned way up this year. Brackins is being double- and sometimes triple-teamed when the ball is passed to him in the post.

Coach Greg McDermott is working with Brackins on how to handle the increased attention opponents are paying in order to prevent him from scoring. It’s clearly frustrated Brackins, who hopefully is not regretting his decision to pass up the NBA.

Brackins’ assist total (40) nearly matches his season-long totals as a freshman (41) and sophomore (43).

But it’s clear that to make the postseason run most everybody thought they would, the Cyclones need him to score and score in bunches.

“Craig is seeing a double team almost every time that he touches the basketball,” McDermott said. “The problem with that is that even when you don’t get a double team, you are thinking that it is coming so you are a little bit tentative when you catch the basketball. Obviously that is affecting him a little bit mentally right now. It is something that we have to get him through.”

Brackins had 19 20-point games last season and three where he scored 30 or more.

Where he really turned it on was during the Big 12 season. Brackins scored a league-best 348 points, which was the 10th-most in a single season in conference history.

Brackins has had just four 20-plus point games this year and none over 30.

Opponents have held him down of late. Since going off for 28 points Dec. 11 in a win over Iowa, Brackins has averaged 14.2 points over ISU’s last five games.

Maybe the conference season is just what he needs to get him going.

“I just have to play my game, man,” Brackins said this week. “Just don’t let things get to me, feed off my teammates and have trust in my teammates.”

More insight into ISU’s Insight Bowl experience

January 1, 2010

TEMPE, Ariz. — Leftovers from the stat sheet and tape recorder that couldn’t make it into the newspaper following Iowa State’s 14-13 victory over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl.

It was the Cyclones’ first victory over the Golden Gophers since 1898. That doesn’t mean a lot since they’ve met just three times since 1924, but it’s a pretty good stat nonetheless.

— ISU furthered its reputation in the bowl community as a school who’ll bring fans in droves.

The entire lower bowl of its side of Sun Devil Stadium was full and sections of the stands in the upper decks were littered with fans wearing red. The Cyclones sold 8,300 tickets through their ticket office, more than four times what their opponents sold.

“That’s great when you compare it to Minnesota,” said ISU President Gregory Geoffroy. “I think we exceeded expectations of the bowl sponsors. The Insight Bowl folks are pleased. That’s important. That’s why we are here. They invited us back because of our fan support.”

An estimated 20,000 fans (more depending on who you ask) came to town for the 2000 Insight.com Bowl against Pittsburgh that was played at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix.

— Tailback Alexander Robinson will enter his senior season in 2010 at No. 10 on the Cyclones’ career rushing list with 2,363 yards. His 137 yards against Minnesota gave him 1,195 this year, which is the 14th-best single-season mark in school history.

— Thursday night’s game tied for the second-lowest scoring game in the 21-year history of the Insight Bowl.

Over the last six years, only the  Hawaii Bowl has averaged more total points (85.0) than the Insight’s 79.2. 

— ISU improved to 3-7 all-time in bowl games. Two of the victories have been in this bowl.

Minnesota is 5-9 in bowls. The Gophers have suffered four straight losses, three coming in the Insight Bowl to Texas Tech, Kansas and now ISU.

— The final question of Iowa State’s postgame news conference was an odd one. A reporter asked Coach Paul Rhoads about the fate of Big 12 coaches who have beaten Minnesota in the Insight Bowl — Mark Mangino at Kansas and Texas Tech’s Mike Leach. Both were fired in the month of December.

“On a lighter note…how do you feel about your luck going into the offseason?” the reporter asked.

“You describe that as a lighter note?” an amused Rhoads shot back.

— Next season the Insight Bowl gets the fourth selection from the Big 12 and the fifth from the Big Ten.

This year it had the fifth pick among Big 12 Conference teams, and drew criticism from many for picking ISU over Missouri, a team that had two more regular-season victories and a head-to-head edge over the Cyclones.

The Tigers were blown out by Navy, 35-13, earlier Thursday in the Texas Bowl.

— Game time temperature: 63 degrees. Gotta love being in Arizona in December.