Posts Tagged ‘Lucca Staiger’

ISU-Mizzou mbb: my postscript

February 11, 2010

Iowa State fought hard in a 65-56 loss at Missouri Wednesday night with just seven scholarship player suited up.

They were within one point on a handful of occasions late in the second half. They never took the lead and Kim English’s long 3-pointer with 1:45 to play pretty much sealed the game, and ISU’s sixth loss in seven games.

The Cyclones are 13-11 overall and 2-7 in the Big 12 heading into Saturday’s game at No. 1 Kansas.

Which team is more disappointment in being 13-11 you think, ISU or North Carolina after Wed. night’s loss to Duke? That’s a discussion for another day.

Anyways, here are some observations from Wednesday night’s game at Mizzou:

— Lucca Staiger’s presence on the 3-point line is sorely missed. ISU is a combined 7 of 37 (18.9 percent) from beyond the arc over the last two games.

— It may not be in ISU’s best interests that Scott Christopherson is playing as much as he is. The shooting guard clearly is affected by his mononucleosis and his defense and outside shooting accuracy looks to me to be suffering. I’m aware of the numbers problem, but if he’s hurting the team get someone else  — like steady backup Dominique Buckley — in there for him.

— Had LaRon Dendy been in Columbia and not Greenville, S.C., this one could have gone the other way. The Tigers owned the offensive glass — especially late — an area where the 6-9 Dendy would have helped and prevented second and third shot opportunities.

— Craig Brackins really needs to stop forcing crazy impossible, high-degree-of-difficulty shots against double teams. I realize he’s the team’s leading scorer, but there has to be a better shot at the goal than some of the stuff he’s firing up there.

— Chris Colvin may have been 1 for 9 shooting but he got to the rim and into the paint as good as any Cyclone guard in recent memory. He’s not Jamaal Tinsley just yet, but say this for the freshman, he’s aggressive. And that’s a good thing.

— If ISU shoots anywhere close to the season-low 32.8 percent it shot against Mizzou, brace for an ugly, ugly loss to the Jayhawks aa Allen Fieldhouse. It may be ugly anyway.


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.”

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.

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.”


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.


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.”


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.”

ESPN’s Fraschilla on Cyclone hoops, Staiger

January 25, 2010

Chatted with ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla before Saturday’s game between Iowa State and Kansas at Hilton Coliseum.

Fraschilla, always fair and informed with his commentary, had some revealing things to say about Coach Greg McDermott and the Cyclone basketball program.

Success at the high major level is difficult to attain — and maintain.

“If you are not at Kansas, Kentucky, Carolina, Syracuse, Duke and maybe three or four other programs you are living day to day in college basketball,” Fraschilla said. “It is just the way it is.”

ISU’s is program that grew accustomed to postseason basketball be it the NCAAs or NIT. It hasn’t sniffed either in McDermott’s three-plus seasons, for a variety of reasons that have some starting to wonder how much of the player turnover and below-average records is in indictment of the head coach.

With the roster shuffle that’s gone on the last three weeks and ISU down to eight scholarship players reaching those NCAA goals will require a lot of things to go their way. 

The Cyclones are 12-7 overall and 1-3 in the Big 12 going into Wednesday’s game at Oklahoma.

Enough of me. Here’s more of what Fraschilla had to say:

On Lucca Staiger’s decision to quit the team:

“For a guy to leave you in the middle of the season is unconscionable. I know Europeand baektbalt maybe as well as anybody who follows baskebtall in the States. For that kid to leave like he did for basically a prorated $100,000 contract..he could’ve gotten that contract in May or June. He could have. The simple fact is where he is an average player in the Big 12, he is considered one of their top young players. That tells you all you need to know about the level of German basketball.”

On another high-profile player suddenly leaving the program:

“We all know Wes Johnson’s family shopped him to Kentucky and a bunch of other schools around the country. It’s worked out for him and good for him. I definitely don’t buy that there wasn’t a great relationship. I think that was an excuse for his family to be able to get him out of here to a higher profile program. Iowa State is not considered basketball royalty. A kid gets a chance to leave and go to Syracuse or Kentucky, and has a family member that talks him into it, what can you do? There’s nothing you can do about it… If you put Wes Johnson on the floor with these guys and minimize some of the injuries they’ve have, they easily could have been a top-15 team. That’s what i mean by bad breaks.”

On McDermott and his difficulties building a winner:

“I know if you talk to other coaches in the Big 12, every one thinks that Greg is a tremendous coach who has had horrible luck. Now, when does that luck run out? That’s up to Iowa State to determine. I know from watching his teams at Northern Iowa and watching how he prepares his teams here that he is a very, very good coach. I went through this at New Mexico with bad luck. I went from being a genius in New York to a guy in Albuquerque who people thought should be parking cars. I understand how it works. It’s easy for fans and media to get down on you.  That’s the way things work, but I know he is a good basketball coach.”

Should Colvin play tonight?

January 20, 2010

Greg McDermott’s hand has been forced.

The Iowa State coach has preached tough love with freshman guard Chris Colvin, wanting to keep the kid’s suspension intact until February as previously decided.

A lack of able bodies and Colvin’s response to the punishment has apparently changed McDermott’s mind. Colvin will be in uniform tonight when ISU plays Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.

Asked Monday about Colvin, McDermott was firm in maintaining the original timeline despite his shrinking bench.

“That (suspension) takes precedence,” he said. “Winning games isn’t as important and getting him straightened out.”

Less than 24 hours later, Lucca Staiger jumped ship in order to return home to Germany and play professionally, leaving the Cyclones with just seven active scholarship players.

Colvin makes eight.

He’s been out of action since Jan. 6, when he walked out of a team meeting after a blowout loss to Duke at the United Center in Chicago.

Colvin, who has averages of 3.2 points and 2.3 assists a game, has been a good boy since.

“He’s been fabulous,” McDermott said. “It’s almost as if the weight of the world has been lifted off his shoulders. He didn’t know how to express himself when adversity struck him. Hopefully this will be a growing experience for him. It has been so far and I’d like to see it continue.” 

Teammate Craig Brackins has seen a change for the better in Colvin.

“He understands what he did and is showing that he really wants to be here,” Brackins said. “He does want to be here and we all know that.”

Apparently Staiger didn’t, and that’s unfortunate considering the time and effort put into his 2 1/2 years in Ames.

ISU spent countless man hours trying to get him eligible as a freshman. Trips to Germany during the offseason were made in order to visit Staiger. All the individual work put into his development…

All for naught.

Lucca’s free….what now for the Cyclones?

January 20, 2010

AMES — Iowa State basketball coaches Greg McDermott and Jeff Rutter gave it their best shot in convincing Lucca Staiger to continue his basketball career in the United States.

But Staiger’s plane ticket was purchased and his mind made up: the junior guard is leaving ISU mid-season to begin his professional career in Germany.

“We attempted to reason with him and explain to him what we felt were the benefits of finishing the season,” McDermott said late Tuesday night. “We felt there were a lot of positives to that. Lucca, however, felt the (financial) guarantee that he would have wasn’t worth the risk.”

And so, the Cyclones (12-5, 1-1 Big 12) come into tonight’s 6:30 p.m. game at Texas Tech with just seven scholarship players scheduled to suit up.

The head coach has some thinking to do between now and tip-off. His options are these:

— Play the next four games with those seven players until freshman guard Chris Colvin comes off suspension in February

— Reinstate Colvin immediately, which McDermott said Monday before Staiger’s stunning announcement he would not do

— Pull the redshirt off one of the true freshmen guards, Antwon Oliver or Bubu Palo

“None of the three of those is ideal,” McDermott said, “but I have to decide along with input from my coaching staff what is best for our team at this point in time. Outside of the plane ride I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what to do moving forward.”

Scott Christopherson will take Staiger’s place in the starting lineup.

The sophomore guard, who averages 6.8 points a game, often has been a late-game replacement for Staiger. He is shooting 50 percent both from the field (41 of 82) and 3-point range (19 of 38).

“There’s an opportunity there for someone else and I’m certain Scott is going to grab a hold of that and run with it,” McDermott said.

Staiger led the Cyclones with 48 3-pointers and was his 9.4 points a game was third-most on the team.

It’s been an eventful 2010 for ISU so far. Colvin was suspended, center Jamie Vanderbeken is being withheld from competition because of injury, forward L.A. Pomlee was dismissed, guard Charles Boozer sustained a season-ending knee injury and Tuesday came Staiger’s shocker.

McDermott — who had to deal with a similar situation in April 2008 when Wesley Johnson abruptly decided to transfer — will really have to circle the wagons in order to have a strong finish. 

“I hope this is a rallying point for the guys “ he said. “We are going to have to count on each other.”

Staiger’s statement

January 20, 2010

Here’s Lucca Staiger’s statement in its entirety, courtesy of Iowa State’s media relations department:

“I came to the United States with the hope of playing professional basketball in the NBA. After the past couple of seasons in college, I’ve realized that dream has become less likely. An opportunity to play professionally in my home country has come my way and I’ve decided to pursue it right away. I will miss my teammates and the greats fans at Iowa State and I know this is a bad time to leave. I appreciate the opportunity that Coach (Greg) McDermott gave me to play at Iowa State, but I felt like it was important to make this move now because the opportunity might not be there in the future for me.”

Another Cyclone streak snapped in Lincoln

January 17, 2010

Iowa State’s streak-busting in Lincoln continued Saturday night with a 56-53 win at Nebraska, snapping a 16-game Big 12 Conference road losing skid.

Three months earlier — just days apart — it was the Cyclone football team leaving town with its first win at Memorial Stadium since 1977 and ISU’s volleyball team winning its first overall match against the Huskers in 75 tries.

As was the case with football, it wasn’t pretty, but the Cyclones finished strong.

They got the job done defensively down the stretch, holding Nebraska down and forcing tough shots for the offensively challenged Huskers.

ISU survived this one despite shooting 39.3 percent on FGs and having Craig Brackins score just six points.

Brackins, who along with juniors Diante Garrett and Lucca Staiger got his first conference road victory, did pull down 11 rebounds and dish out three assists.

Seven different players had at least six points, led by Marquis Gilstrap’s 15 to go with 12 rebounds.

Next up is a game at Texas Tech on Wednesday. That’s another very winnable road game. Is two in a row too tall a task for this crew?


It wasn’t long ago that depth was thought to be a strength of this team.

Not anymore.

The Cyclones are down to eight scholarship players after Saturday’s news that reserve guard Charles Boozer will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Boozer was hurt in Wednesday’s loss to No. 1-ranked Texas.

He would have been an important player off the bench for Coach Greg McDermott over the last half of the season.  Instead, he joins Jamie Vanderbeken (ankle) on injured reserve and is the fourth player in the last 10 days to become unavailable.

Forward L.A. Pomlee was dismissed and freshman point guard Chris Colvin is on suspension until at least February.

ISU managed themselves fine agianst Nebraska, but are going to find more difficult tests in the next two months.  Right now the help off the bench consists of Scott Christopherson, LaRon Dendy and Dominique Buckley.

McDermott, from all indications, is not considering pulling the redshirt off true freshman Antwon Oliver.


The newest issue of ESPN the Magazine includes a not-so-flattering blurb about Brackins’ pro prospects.

In hoops analyst Doug Gottlieb’s notes column, Gottlieb quotes an unnamed NBA scout on Brackins: “He’s wildly overrated.” Gottlieb says league evaluators are seeing the 6-10 big man as “a face-the-basket 3 trapped in a 4’s body without enough athleticism to create his own shot.”

Brackins was a sure first-round NBA Draft pick last June but decided to return to ISU for his junior season.

A mock draft at has Brackins going No. 16 to Minnesota.  It also has former Cyclone Wesley Johnson, now at Syracuse, at No. 2 overall behind Kentucky’s freshman point guard John Wall.

Snowstorm strands Cyclones in Windy City

January 7, 2010

Iowa State’s men’s basketball team is stuck in the downtown Marriott hotel in Chicago today, thanks to a huge winter storm that’s making travel difficult in the city and in much of the Midwest.

Five to 10 inches of snow is set to fall in the Chicago area tonight and into Friday.

The Cyclones, hammered by fifth-ranked Duke, 86-65, Wednesday night at the United Center, are scheduled to play North Dakota State at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hilton Coliseum in their non-conference finale.

The team’s bus won’t be starting up till tomorrow, at the earliest, which could put the NDSU game in peril.

“Our hope is that this lets up and we can get out of here sometime tomorrow,” Coach Greg McDermott said Thursday during the Big 12 coaches’ conference call. “Our plan will be that whenever this weather breaks to get on the road and at least get back. I’m not sure what the weather is like back in Iowa but it’s not great here in Chicago.”

Ames was hit with about six inches of snow Wednesday.

Forecasters in Chicago predict the heaviest snow will come tonight and tomorrow morning, which is when the winds will pick up and make travel even more difficult.

Players were left to occupy themselves in their hotel rooms.

Point guard Diante Garrett posted on his Twitter account that he was watching TV and watching teammate Lucca Staiger do sit-ups. McDermott said the team is will not be able to practice today.

“We’ll get the guys out of the hotel and maybe go across the street to a movie or something and then tonight we’ll watch some film both of last night and of North Dakota State,” McDermott said. “Hopefully at some point in time tomorrow we get back on the practice floor.”

Duke’s team flew out late Wednesday night after the game and apparently reached home safely.