Serious question. Let's go through the check list:
1. Enter your 4th season in the program? Check
2. Have a team that looks to be ready to take the next step? Check
3. Previously take a midmajor to new heights? Check
4. Said midmajor is looking even better than before under former assistant coach, while current program is stalling/regressing? Check!
Look at Boise State Football: they have never been better since Hawkins has left. Now, check out UNI basketball: won the MVC last year, and have a good chance at winning it again this year.
All I know is this: Iowa State used to go to the tournament every couple of years. McDermott's program in year 4 is looking as bad as McDermott's program in year 1. This was supposed to be the year we go to the dance, with the talent in this group.
This was also supposed to be the year that Colorado was going to win the North, and win 10 games. We all know how that turned out.
We may have the basketball version of Dan Hawkins right here. Maybe Colorado should have hired Chris Peterson, and we should have hired Ben Jacobson. I'm just saying....
I'm concerned with the program right now. First, we just aren't playing good enough basketball. Secondly, is after being whooped up by Duke, McDermott goes off on Colvin on the postgame radio show saying:
“He did some great things on the floor but some of his antics off the floor have got to change. If they don’t change, I am not sure that it is going to work. I am just going to be honest with you. He is a very talented player. But this is a team sport. We’ve got a few guys who don’t understand that all of the time. It is our job to get that through.”
I guess I don't agree with calling out a guy in the media like that, particularly a freshmen. If you aren't happy with a guys' behavior, don't play him. You've got a more than capable backup in Buckley who isn't seeing any kind of playing time at all.
And now we get word that L.A. Pomlee has left the program.
And here we go again. Another cycle of things getting ugly midseason: star players being frustrated, players getting booted, and likely, guys transferring out of the program.
I personally hate what I see on the court from this team. Too much standing around on offense. No one is playing with intensity. We just don't have that mental edge to do any damage. They say a team takes on the personality of the coach. We're in year 4 now. We have a soft team, and that has to reflect on what is, or is not happening from the staff.
People need to take a good hard look at the last few years: when McDermott took over, this wasn't a program in shambles, the way some make it out to be. Rather, it was a program in a down cycle. You could argue that Morgan taking over, the program was in worse shape as the boosters, players, and parents were split on Larry Eustachy. Now we have a program that perpetually sucks. The fans haven't been more apathetic in years, and I honestly am having less fun following this team.
In some ways my heart is broken. I wanted the program to take off, and there's really no excuse for it to not happen by now. There's a lot of season left, but the fundamentals of this team have to change. Does anyone really think something like that can just happen midseason? I'm a much bigger college basketball fan than football fan, and the last time I was excited about my team was 2004 or 2005.
I'm not as much of a basketball expert as McDermott. This is nothing personal against the guy, because he seems like a great person. This is a matter of seeing the team make no improvements. This is about the team playing like gradeschool boys, instead of men. McDermott used to get badass. I remember when he got a T against A&M when we last played them here. I just want to know where that guy went?
Was it the Wesley Johnson transfer? If so, it's probably something that McDermott can never recover from at Iowa State. Once you lose your identity, the program loses it's identity. Once that happens, you have a bunch of talented players underachieving.
Which is why it might not be a bad idea for McDermott to simply walk away, for both sides. McDermott can take a year off, get a fresh start for some smaller D1 program, and run a program the way he intends to. Iowa State can try to find a guy who can recruit Big 12 talent, and understands the type of team you need to have in order to win in this league (getting rebounds and scoring points). With Brackins and likely Gilstrap out the door, there probably wouldn't be a better time than during this offseason.
The head coach needs to be the leader of the program. Do things that are natural to him. McDermott has tried to be a player's coach, and that didn't work out well. Look where we're at now. While we aren't world-beaters, the problem with this team isn't lack of talent. It's lack of direction, execution, and leadership. Over the past few years, it's sadly par for the course.
This team is lacking direction and execution. The direction comes from the staff, and they are failing in that regard. We have a team of scorers being told to slow the game down and try and play defense. That combination just isn't going to work.
The program is a mess, and is not looking at getting better. Disagree? Then answer me this: what does it say about a team if they don't want to play hard for their coach? Because the only difference between this team being good at rebounding and being bad at rebounding is simply playing hard, and giving maximum effort, to which they aren't doing much of.
I'm afraid of what Hilton Coliseum is going to look like
next year the rest of the season.
I'm torn as to whether I should publish this post or not, because this team could very well turn it around, and then maybe I'm looking like a jackass.
But you know what? There's no bigger fan of ISU basketball than I. SB Nation is all about the fan's perspective, and this is mine as of January 8th/9th 2010. The thing about perspective it can always change, and I hope it does for all of us ISU fans.