AMES — Don’t get too excited thinking a down year by Craig Brackins is going to kill his draft prospects and keep him at Iowa State for another year.
Coach Greg McDermott still thinks the 6-10 forward is NBA bound at season’s end.
“He hasn’t said that for sure, but that’s my feeling,” McDermott said Monday.
“There still aren’t many skilled 6-10 power forwards floating around that can do what he can do. You don’t see the kind of same type of defense in the NBA that you see in college basketball. When Criag hasn’t been double-teamed, he’s scored.”
Brackins is averaging 16.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game — down from the 20.2 ppg and 9.5 rpg he put up last year as an all-Big 12 first-team player.
He’s been streaky this season and is in a major slump over the last four games, shooting 18 for 68 (26.5 percent) from the floor.
“I probably shoot 200 to 300 shots a day. Maybe I’ll try 400 or 500,” Brackins said. “Maybe what I’m doing is not enough. I’ve worked twice as hard this year than last year and I’m still a little off.”
New to the draft game this year is a May 8 deadline for early entries to pull their name out and still retain their eligibility. Prospects used to be able to go later into the process before having to do that.
April 25th is the deadline players have to declare for the draft.
Brackins — and 6-7 wing Marquis Gilstap, if he is granted a sixth year of eligibility — should have their plans figured out by then.
“They’ll make some decisions shortly after the season is over,” McDermott said. “I don’t think either one of them is in a situation where they are going to drag this out.”
Gilstrap, who is averaging 14.4 points and 9.3 rebounds, could be awarded another season if the NCAA rules in favor of ISU’s appeal. He could also decide to turn pro.
Gilstrap and his girlfriend have a young child together and are expecting another in June.
“His priority is feeding his family and he’s going to make a decision that’s in the best interests of his family,” McDermott said. “Nobody can question him on that.”
Either way, the Cyclones are moving forward as if they won’t have either Gilstrap or Brackins back next season. The late signing period opens in mid-April.
Cyclone Fanatic.com reported Monday that ISU has offered Marshallltown Community College wing Will Clyburn.
“You recruit with the assumption they’re not coming back and if they do, you still have time,” McDermott said. “It’s not like we’ve got anybody committed there.”