Posts Tagged ‘Harrison Barnes’

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.”


Ames, Barnes playing on national stage

December 17, 2009

The nation will get its chance to see the nation’s No. 1 basketball recruit Thursday night.

Defending Class 4A state champion Ames (3-0) and North Carolina signee Harrison Barnes will be live in front of an ESPN national audience for its 8 p.m. game against Waukegan (Ill.) High School, one that pits two of the most highly-ranked prep teams in the country.

The Little Cyclones will face a more athletic team than they are used to.

Waukegan lost to Whitney Young — which had current Iowa State freshman guard Chris Colvin and Marcus Jordan, son of Michael, in its starting lineup — in last year’s state championship game. 

Barnes will go up against Jereme Richmond, a University of Illinois recruit considered one of the top 20 players nationally.

The 6-8 wing decided not to make Hilton Coliseum his college home, but will be on Iowa State’s playing floor tonight.

Ames has already played at the Knapp Center in Des Moines this season. It also has a game scheduled for Wells Fargo Arena, a place it obviously has designs on playing in come March and the state tournament.

Hoops kicks off busy stretch at Hilton

December 2, 2009

It’s going to be a busy week and a great next paycheck for Hilton Coliseum staffers.

There are events happening in the arena every day this week across three different sports. Throw in Iowa State’s women’s and men’s basketball games next Thursday and Friday against Iowa and the turnstiles are going to get a workout. So are the folks cleaning up popcorn.

Here’s the breakdown:

Tuesday night — Women’s basketball vs. Mississippi Valley State.

ISU (3-1) won two last weekend at a tournament in Chicago and plays nine of its next 10 at home. It’s an important stretch for this young team still figuring out which players it can trust and when. Coach Bill Fennelly is playing several different combinations, which includes four true freshmen.

“We may be talking about the same thing in March,” Fennelly said. “We are going to keep playing 10 kids and see who we can count on,” he said.

Wednesday night — Men’s basketball vs. Northern Iowa.

The Panthers were the best team in the state last season, reaching the NCAA Tournament by winning both the regular season and conference tournament championships. ISU may be the best of the Big Four this year.

That distinction goes through Cedar Falls.

“They were a good team last year and they didn’t really lose anybody,” said Cyclone forward Craig Brackins.

Thursday afternoon/night — NCAA volleyball practices and media obligations for host Iowa State and George Mason, Saint Louis and Wichita State. ISU hasn’t hosted a postseason volleyball match since the mid-1990s.

Friday night — NCAA volleyball: Saint Louis vs. Wichita State 5 p.m., ISU vs. George Mason 7:30 p.m.

Saturday — NCAA volleyball: Friday night’s winners meet at 6:30. If the Cyclones can beat GMU on Friday they’ll play for their third straight Sweet 16 appearance. That’s simply amazing considering where the program was at earlier on this decade.

Sunday — Wrestling vs. Iowa. New ISU coach Kevin Jackson has been pointing to this one since the day he was hired. The Cyclones haven’t come out on top in the Cy-Hawk Series since the 2004-05 season.  The curtain is being lifted at Hilton to accomodate what is expected to be a huge crowd for Jackson’s first big meet. It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2. Doesn’t get any bigger than this in the sport of wrestling.

Cyclones shrug off Barnes decision with season-opening win

November 14, 2009

AMES – There was no Harrison hangover Friday night at Hilton Coliseum.

Hours after Harrison Barnes, the nation’s top-ranked recruit chose North Carolina over his hometown team, Iowa State opened its season with an impressive 88-68 victory over Idaho State at Hilton Coliseum.

Cyclone players and coaches were hoping for two victories on this day. They had to settle for one.

Barnes, who often times sits courtside for ISU games, was not in the building Friday. The impact of his decision was felt across the college basketball world, no more so than right here.

“It probably impacted me more than it did (the players),” Coach Greg McDermott said afterwards. “Harrison was just one of the guys to them. He’s been around our gym for three years and we invested a lot in it. He decided this wasn’t the place, and that’s OK.

“Are we disappointed? Yes. I wish him all the best, but my focus has to the guys that are on my team and want to be on my team. He chose not to be.”

The group of players McDermott has looked awfully good, as ISU shot 54.7 percent and came four points short of scoring the most points during the coach’s previous three seasons.  

Athleticism and depth that has been lacking was on display in front of an announced crowd of 13,727.

Newcomers Marquis Gilstrap and LaRon Dendy threw down monster dunks and ran the floor.

Freshman guard Chris Colvin showed off his passing and dribbling skills and Marquette transfer Scott Christopherson proved his toughness and shooting touch in his Cyclone debut.      

“You wouldn’t even think they were new,” said forward Craig Brackins, who led ISU with 17 points on 7 of 13 shooting. “They came in with a lot of energy. They were into it the whole game.”

Dendy sparked a decisive 21-8 run to close the first half.

The junior college transfer had eight points in the spurt and finished with 16 to go with seven rebounds. Dendy, who is 6-9, 230 pounds, was active around the basket in on the break.  

“He impacts the game with his energy and he can really run the floor,” McDermott said. “He ran by the pack a couple of times in transition. Those are the plays we need him to make.”

This is a team that will play at a much faster pace that McDermott teams ever have.

The Cyclones (1-0) can go 11 players deep on the bench and have the type of athletes to fit that style.

“Get out and run – I love it,” Dendy said. “With me, Craig and Marquis and all the other guys running… we are all athletes.”

Gilstrap finished with 13 points and six rebounds.

Christopherson scored 10 points and made good on both of his 3-point attempts.

Postscript on Harrison Barnes

November 14, 2009

Some Iowa State folks are responding to Harrison Barnes’ decision to attend North Carolina in favor of the hometown Cyclones:

Here’s from women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly via Twitter: TRUE CYCLONE fans need to give OUR team a great response tonite– WORRY about the ones we have who ARE Cyclones!!!!

This was Craig Brackins’ take: The mystery is over…congrats 2 HB on his choice! He is guna be a beast! Now its time 2 focus on the goal…LET’S GO STATE!!!

It doesn’t matter if Clones were second or sixth, at least it shouldn’t.

Bottom line, he’s not walking through that door and ISU fans have to live with it and move on.

In case you didn’t see his announcement live on ESPNU or any number of television or Internet mediums, this is how Barnes summed up each of the five schools he didn’t choose:

Oklahoma: “I really enjoyed my relationship with Coach (Jeff) Capel. He has transformed Oklahoma’s basketball program into a championship contender.”

Kansas: “Coach (Bill) Self has always had my respect for his style of play. His personal approach and demeanor are second to none.”

Duke: “Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski and I have become very close over the last year-and-a-half. Duke has high academics and is just unique in a variety of ways.”

on UCLA: “They have an unbelievable market of core players as well as one of the richest traditions in college basketball. Coach (Ben) Howland’s pursuit of excellence is only matched by Coach Wooden.”

on Iowa State: “I want to extend a special thank you to you, Coach (Greg) McDermott, and your coaching staff, for recruiting me the last tw0-and-a-half years. I am and forever will be a Cyclone fan.”


Barnes was asked if has designs on jumping to the NBA early, like many believe he could and will.

UNC’s highly-ranked business school factored big in Barnes’ decision, along with a program that’s won two national championships in the last five years.

“I will graduate in three years because I want to be on the fast track academically. If the opportunity to go pro arises I will take that as it comes,” Barnes said.

Ejim signed, getting closer to Barnes’ decision

November 11, 2009

Greg McDermott isn’t sure exactly how many scholarships he’ll have for next year’s class.

He filled one Wednesday with the addition of forward/guard Melvin Ejim, who plays at Brewster (N.H.) Academy. That takes care of the roster spot that’ll be vacated by senior forward Jamie Vanderbeken.

After that, there’s some uncertainty.

“Nobody knows for sure what Craig (Brackins) is going to do,” McDermott said Wednesday before practice, “and we are going to attempt to get Marquis (Gilstrap) another year, and we won’t know on that for quite some time.

“There’s a chance we could sign one more in this early period.”

McDermott cannot say specifically who that may be, but there’s no doubt who he would like it to be. 

He and Iowa State basketball fans would be willing to do just about anything to secure the signature of Ames High star and No. 1 national recruit Harrison Barnes, who will make his decision public Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Barnes will choose between ISU, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The smart money is on one of the Tobaccco Road schools, but there seems to be a growing feeling that the Cyclones are not as big of a long shot as once believed.

As of right now, Ejim is the only player signed, sealed and delivered.

“We are excited about Melvin and have been since the first time I saw him,” McDermott said. “His defensive tenacity and his love for playing on that end of the floor is what attracted us to him.”

Ejim averaged 12.3 points and 4.6 rebounds last season at Brewster. He’s added to his offensive game that was already strong behind the 3-point line. 

Physically, the 6-6, 215-pound Ejim won’t have any problems adjusting to the college game. 

“His body is ready for the Big 12,” McDermott said. “He likes to get in the weight room and do the things necessary there.”

Barnes (allegedly) leaning towards…

June 15, 2009
Wanted man: Harrison Barnes

Wanted man: Harrison Barnes

St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Charley Walters has a blurb in his Sunday column reporting that Ames guard/forward Harrison Barnes is leaning towards playing at Kansas.

Should we believe it? At this point in time, anyone reporting Barnes leaning toward one school over the others is speculating. Barnes may ultimately pick the Jayhawks — a shock to absolutely no one — but he and his mother are holding their cards close to the vest during this process.

My guess: Walters was chatting up a Gopher insider or coach, who is under the impression Barnes has locked in on KU. It’s a column. Attribution is optional. He ran with it.

It may turn out being true, but don’t freak out just yet Iowa State basketball fans.

I still think you have a shot at landing the kid. Of course, I too am speculating. But I’ve got a feeling Barnes isn’t just giving his hometown school a token look when he has his choice of any school in the nation.

Barnes is recruiting service’s No. 1 overall player. has the 6-6 wing at No. 2, with KU, ISU, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA, Minnesota, Stanford and Florida still under consideration. 

Don’t throw in the towel yet Cyclone Nation. Signing day isn’t until November.

Star-studded night at The Well

March 15, 2009

Some of the state’s elite basketball talent is on display tonight at the boys state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

Tops on the list is Ames 6-6 forward Harrison Barnes. The junior has his pick of schools to choose from. There are many in the building tonight — including Iowa State coach Greg McDermott — who are hoping he continues to call central Iowa home. No one’s holding their breath, espeically with North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Florida and others in the mix.

Iowa State did have a player who’ll wear cardinal and gold playing tonight in Norwalk’s Alex Dorr. The 6-7 forward was the team’s leading scorer (20.7 ppg) and rebounder. He’ll be a non-scholarship addition to the Cyclones. 

Of course, Linn-Mar’s Zach Bohannon is headed to Air Force.  

Sioux City Heelan big man Brennan Cougill will wear black and gold next year at the University of Iowa. The 6-9 forward closed out his career in style with 28 points — on 12 of 14 shooting — to go with 10 rebounds.

Heelan teammate Zach McCabe added 18 points and 7 rebounds. The junior is an impressive athlete, and appears as though he’ll play football in college instead of basketball. Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas and Notre Dame are all on his radar.

Ames forward James Kohler is another football guy playing basketball. He holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Stanford, with regional schools like Wisconsin, Kansas State, Minnesota and Nebraska also in the mix.

Teammate Jesse Pritchard will play basketball at Yale, though sports will be secondary to him no doubt.

And Doug McDermott, Greg’s kid, is fast becoming a Division I recruit with a breakout junior season. He’s averaging 14 points a game off the bench for Ames and has a field goal percentage of 70.9 percent.

A handful of coaches from Iowa State’s staff are here, as is Northern Iowa’s Ben Jacobson, who apparently isn’t sweating Selection Sunday too badly.