Posts Tagged ‘Justin Hamilton’

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.”

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Hamilton’s surprise transfer a killer for Cyclones

March 14, 2010

Craig Brackins’ exit from Iowa State’s basketball program hardly comes as a surprise.

Justin Hamilton’s does.

And it hurts. Bad.

The sophomore center was the Cyclones’ most improved player this season and an expected anchor of the team’s frontcourt next year and beyond. But after two seasons of teaching and bodyshaping – turning Hamilton into a player opposing teams have to include on their scouting report – he’s gone, looking for a school closer to his home state of Utah.

The smart money says he lands at BYU.

Hamilton’s decision came as a surprise to many. Here he was a few days earlier when asked about next season, where the uncertainly lied with Brackins and Marquis Gilstrap:

“We have to just see what happens. I’m sure everything will work out,” he said. “We’ll have a great team next year… We are going to have a lot of unknowns. We are going to have to have a lot of guys improve over the summer.”

Now, days after coach Greg McDermott and athletic director Jamie Pollard professed their excitement over next year’s team, the roster is yet again in tatters.

Here was Pollard last Monday:

“There’s a group of individuals that are coming back that have played in the toughest conference in the country hands down… and been in games,” he said. “I look at that nucleus and stay that isn’t starting over.”

Hamilton was at the center of that nucleus. Not anymore.

Four-fifths of the lineup that started ISU’s 2009-10 season opener (Brackins, Hamilton, Gilstrap and Lucca Staiger) is history.

So who’s left?

Diante Garrett will be a senior. So will reserve forward LaRon Dendy.

Charles Boozer and Jamie Vanderbeken are coming back off injury.

Chris Colvin says he’s coming back. Should we believe him?

Scott Christopherson has already left one school to come to ISU. He isn’t going anywhere.

Antwon Oliver and Bubo Palo rode out redshirts this season and don’t figure to go elsewhere before ever playing a game.

Signed for next year is Brewster (N.H.) Academy wing Melvin Ejim and Marshalltown Community College guard DeMarcus Phillips. Oregon prep center Jordan Railey has verbally committed.

That’s 10 scholarship players on the hook right now for next season – assuming no one else decides to pick up and leave.

Three spots are open.

McDermott and his staff are recruiting the junior college ranks heavily, and they need to.  Immediate help is imperative for a team that went 15-17 overall, 4-12 in the Big 12, and now has lost its top two scorers and three best rebounders.

“We’ve got to have guys who are committed to each other and are committed to the institution. If you have that, you have a chance,” McDermott said. “I like the new guys that we have coming in and hopefully we can add to that.”

Playing time will be a big selling point.

It should be an interesting couple of weeks before the start of the late signing period.

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.

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

Top-ranked Texas coming to Hiton

January 11, 2010

AMES — When Texas comes to town Wednesday it will become the first No. 1 ranked team to play at Hilton Coliseum in 13 seasons.

The Longhorns (15-0) moved up a spot Monday in the Associated Press Top 25 poll after previous No. 1 Kansas lost Sunday at Tennessee. KU, who is on the home schedule Jan. 23, dropped to No. 3.

Kentucky — the nation’s only other unbeaten — is ranked second.

“We knew we were going to play either No. 1 or No. 2 at one point. Now it is sooner rather than later,” ISU forward Craig Brackins said Monday after practice.

A No. 1-ranked team last visited Hilton Coliseum back on Feb. 9, 1997, when top-ranked Kanasas beat sixth-ranked ISU, 69-62, on a day when Dedric Willoughby set a school record with nine 3-pointers.

The last time ISU played a No. 1-ranked team? …It was Feb. 18, 2002, a lopsided 102-66 loss at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse.

The last time ISU defeated a No. 1-ranked team? …It has happened, though only once in 15 tries. The Cyclones stunned top-ranked and their star Wilt Chamberlain back on Jan. 14, 1957, ISU’s Don Medsker hit a shot at the buzzer for a 39-37 victory at the Armory in Ames. 

A win Wednesday would mark Coach Greg McDermott’s first victory over a ranked team in 16 tries.

ISU’s students are back in town. The place should be rocking, hoping to see the first-ever win over a No. 1 team in five tries at Hilton Coliseum.

“There will be a lot of excitment. Being able to play that (good) of a team is a lot of fun,” said forward Justin Hamilton, who is expected to be in the starting lineup again after concussion-like symptoms forced him to sit out Saturday’s win over North Dakota State.

Men’s hoops on hiatus till 2010

December 23, 2009

Iowa State’s men’s basketball team has almost two weeks off before playing again Jan. 3 at home against Houston.

The Cyclones are 9-3, with non-conference games still to go against the Cougars, Duke (Jan. 6) and North Dakota State (Jan. 9). They’ve been dominant in their victories, with each of the wins coming by 10 or more points, the most double-digit victories in a season since 2004-05.

Losses to Northwestern and Northern Iowa — NCAA Tournament hopefuls themselves — by a combined five points were disappointing and could count against ISU come March.

Here are some of the highlights, stats and facts from the season so far:

— ISU has scored 80 points or more seven times this season. It happened just once during 2008-09.

— Marquis Gilstrap has lived up to the hype so far with averages of 14.7 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. He’s had five double-doubles and scored in double figures in 11 of 12 games.

— The Cyclones came into Tuesday’s game with North Dakota shooting 44.3 percent from 3-point range, tops in the Big 12 and fourth nationally.

— Lucca Staiger set a new school record and tied for second all-time in Big 12 single-game history with 10 3-pointers in a 90-70 win at Drake.

— The bench is averaging 24.5 points a game, a far cry from depth issues and limited options Coach Greg McDermott has had during his previous three seasons.

— All-Big 12 candidate Craig Brackins is the team’s leading scorer (17.5 ppg) and 3-point shooter (13 of 22; 59.1%) and second-leading rebounder (8.1 rpg) and passer (34 assists).

— Sophomore big man Justin Hamilton is shooting 78.6 percent (22 of 28) on field goals.

One and done, what now?

March 12, 2009

Iowa State’s men’s basketball season ended Wednesday night in Oklahoma City with a 81-67 loss to Oklahoma State at the Big 12 Tournament.

Few in Cyclone Nation were surprised or, quite frankly, disappointed.

Spring football practice begins March 24. The women’s basketball team is ranked in the top 20 and headed for another NCAA Tournament. ISU’s wrestling team qualified all 10 wrestlers for next week’s national championships. 

There are things to look forward to in Ames.

The Cyclones were playing out the string, building for a 2009-10 season that hopefully includes star forward Craig Brackins. 

The Cyclones finished 15-17 overall, Coach Greg McDermott’s third straight season missing out on postseason play, and were 4-12 in league play.

There’s work to do be done, quite obviously.

Athleticism, consistency, late-game execution — all need major upgrades. Pieces are there for McDermott, who returns everybody but seniors Alex Thompson, Sean Haluska and Bryan Petersen.

Fine people and solid players they are. Program-turning talents they are not.

Iowa State has reason to think next year will better.

Brackins has to realize he’d benefit by waiting another year to jump to the NBA, junior college transfer Marquis Gilstrap has to live up to the hype, Diante Garrett must be able to produce every game out and Chris Colvin has to be ready to play immediately.

Lucca Staiger and Jamie Vanderbeken proved they can be offensive weapons.

Marquette transfer Scott Christopherson should be a factor, judging by his work during practice while he sat out the season. 

Justin Hamilton needs to keep improving but has a nice upside.

ISU’s prospects for next year hinge on Brackins, who would be silly not to at least go through NBA workouts to see where teams are telling him he stacks up with the rest of the draft class.

He can still return if he doesn’t hire an agent.

That’s the postseason storyline we’ll all be following. In the meantime, enjoy the wrestling, Cyclone women’s hoops and spring football updates.

Iowa State’s scholarship breakdown for ’09-10, assuming there are no changes

Seniors: F Jamie Vanderbeken, G/F Marquis Gilstrap

Juniors: F Craig Brackins, G Diante Garrett, G Charles Boozer, G Lucca Staiger

Sophomores: G Justin Hamilton, G Wes Eikmeier, G Dominique Buckley, G Scott Christopherson, G Clinton Mann

Freshmen: F L.A. Pomlee, G Chris Colvin