Posts Tagged ‘Scott Christopherson’

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

Advertisements

Brackins shoots (and shoots) his way out of slump

February 25, 2010

AMES — It was 90 minutes before tip-off Wednesday and who was out on the Hilton Coliseum floor getting extra shots up in advance of Iowa State’s game with Nebraska?

It was Craig Brackins, who had hit just 18 of his previous 68 field goal attempts. The all-Big 12 forward has been doing all he can to break out of this slump. 

“Some guys hide when they struggle and some guys attack it,” Coach Greg McDermott said following ISU’s 78-74 victory. “Right now (attacking) is what he’s doing.”

Whatever he did — it worked. Brackins finished with 21 points — 14 in the second half and 11 down the stretch — to go with 10 rebounds. He hit 7 of his 12 shots from the filed.

“Craig is a great player and rose to the occasion,” said guard Scott Christopherson, who added 17 points of his own and was key in helping snap a six-game losing streak.

Brackins talked earlier in the week about doing more extra work after practices and on his own. He stayed true to his word.

“I made sure I had extra shots,” Brackins said.

The victory puts ISU into a tie for 10th place in the Big 12 Conferenece standings with Colorado, who happens to be its opponent Saturday afternoon.

For a few days at least, the Cyclones can bask in the feeling of a win and quell some of the talk that McDermott’s job may be on the line.

ISU notched McDermott’s 17th Big 12 victory Wednesday night. It was his sixth over Nebraska.

Christopherson not letting mono slow him down

February 23, 2010

AMES — Scott Christopherson’s body is saying one thing. His mind is telling him another. 

The Iowa State guard continues to play hard while fighting off mononucleosis. Christopherson hasn’t been the same since contracting the virus early in the Big 12 season, but has refused to give in mentally.

“I don’t want to be sick and I’m not going to tell myself I am,” Christopherson said recently. “Am I 100 percent? No. But I’m going to go into every game thinking I am because there’s no point in not… Everybody is fatigued and their knees hurt and their body aches. As far as I’m concerned I’m just like everybody else.”

Christopherson scored a career-best 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting last week in a loss to Oklahoma State.

He’s taking one for his short-handed team, which is down to eight scholarship players going into Wednesday night’s game agianst Nebraska at Hilton Coliseum.

Christopherson again will likely log 30-plus minutes for the Cyclones, who come in with an overall mark of 13-14 and 2-10 in league games.

“The effort he’s giving when he shouldn’t really be playing is incredible,” said Coach Greg McDermott. “There aren’t many guys that would play through what he’s playing through. Somehow he’s finding enough energy on game day.”

===================

McDermott indicated Monday he still is not ready to welcome forward LaRon Dendy back into his good graces.

Dendy was gone from the team for a full week — and two games — to attend his great grandmother’s funeral in South Carolina. Dendy returned days later than expected and without a good explanation.

He did not play in last Wednesday’s loss to OSU and saw four minutes of action last Saturday against Texas A&M.

“He and I met (Sunday) and talked through some things,” McDermott said. “I like the progress he’s making. We’ll gradually work him back into the lineup.”

Dendy is averaging 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds a game. He’s tried to keep his head up, teammates say.

“He’s working extra hard and is doing what he has to do to get back some more minutes,” said Craig Brackins.

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.

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.”

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.”

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?

DEPTH PERCEPTION

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.

NBA DOWN ON BRACKINS?

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 www.nbadraft.net 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.

Two games in, Cyclone men showing big promise

November 16, 2009

There’s a lot to be excited about if you’ve seen or read about the start to Iowa State’s men’s basketball team.

Coach Greg McDermott is onto something here.  He’s finally got an abundance of talent and is figuring out how best to deploy it. This group still is very much a work in progress, but you can see there is athleticism, skill and depth to build on.

Decisive wins over Idaho State (88-68) and Chicago State (72-50) — while not unexpected — showed some of what this team has to offer.

The numbers are already taking shape:

— 80 points per game

— Field goal percentage of 48.3

— 3-point field goal percentage of 51.6 (16 of 31)

— Eleven players averaging 9 minutes a game or more

All-Big 12 Conference forward Craig Brackins is averaging 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds, well below his averages from a season ago.  He’s cool with that.

“As long as we win I don’t care,” Brackins said.

Transfer Marquis Gilstrap shrugged off a bad start Sunday night against Chicago State to finish with 11 points and 15 rebounds, six on the offensive end.

Another first-year player, LaRon Dendy, had 16 points and 7 rebounds in his Cyclone debut agianst Idaho State, then injured his knee in practice the following day and will sit out the next two weeks.

Point guard Diante Garrett has 12 assists and just two turnovers so far. Against Idaho State Garrett had seven assists, no points and no turnovers. McDermott was thrilled.

“If that’s not a sign of that progress he’s made in two years of how to run a team and how to play the point guard position… he’s really grown as a point guard,” he said.

What’s very encouraging going into Tuesday night’s game at Drake is the scoring efficiency of ISU’s reserves.

Dendy, Scott Christopherson, Charles Boozer and Jamie Vanderbeken are a combined 23 of 32 (71.9 percent)from the field. Nine of their 12 shots from 3-point distance have been good.

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.

Competition already hot for Cyclone guards

July 7, 2009

You won’t see Dominique Buckley – or any other Iowa State guard – wasting away their summer by the pool or on the couch playing video games.

Too much is at stake.  If he wants to see the court next season, Buckley needs to take advantage of every waking moment.

“It’s a whole new atmosphere from last year to this year,” said Buckley, who played in 25 games last season as a freshman, averaging 1.3 points and 0.8 assists. “Nobody wants to lose. Nobody wants to sit on the bench. We all want to play and we all want to win games.”

The Cyclones finally have some depth in the backcourt with two-year starter Diante Garrett, starting shooting guard Lucca Staiger, junior Charles Boozer, Buckley, Marquette transfer Scott Christopherson and touted freshman Chris Colvin.

Competition for playing time will be fierce, and already is this summer during workouts, pickup ball and Capital City League games.

“We are in a position as a coaching staff where we have some choices to make,” said Coach Greg McDermott. “Who ends up separating themselves from that group is going to be up to them.”

Buckley has spent all but one week this spring and summer on campus.

The Detroit native has been taking summer classes and improving his skills. Jumping rope, defensive slides, balance, running, shooting, ball-handling – he’s done it all in working on his overall game.

“I really don’t have anything else to do except sleep, eat and go to class I might as well work on it when I can,” Buckley said. “Summer is a time to get better.”

The 6-2, 205-pound sophomore had a slow start to his first season, then earned his way into the rotation by season’s end.

Buckley has played well since season’s end and clearly is improved.

“I’ve been very pleased with his development,” McDermott said.

Garrett has focused his offseason work in the weight room. He came to ISU as a 160-pound freshman and now is just under 185. His goal is to tip the scales at over 190 pounds.

The point guard is at his best getting into the lane and creating offense for himself and others off the dribble.

“I’ve been in the weight room all summer. I’m getting a lot stronger,” Garrett said. “I think that will help out even more than getting in the gym and getting 1,000 jumps shots up a day.”

Staiger returns as the Cyclones’ leader in 3-pointers made last year.

Boozer provides an energy boost off the bench with his defense and hustle.    

Christopherson looks to be a well-rounded player with toughness and scoring ability.

Colvin is a talented prospect with good all-around skills that could work at either guard spot.  

This will be McDermott’s deepest ISU team yet, which means playing time will be well-deserved – at every position.

“Everyone wants to play. Unfortunately there are only five guys that step on the court,” Colvin said.