With all of this football-stuff going on, and in some ways heating up, it's hard to believe that we're just under a month away from the first college basketball game of the year! Cyclone media day was yesterday, and below is a way for those of you who haven't been keeping up with everything to get up to speed, without taking up too much of your time!
So here we go:
We lost a bunch of guys from last year. Not really anything too new, as under the previous staff we would average 7 new guys per year. Diante Garrett (SR), Jamie Vanderbeken (RSR), Scott Christopherson (RJR), and Bubu Palo (RFR) are back. Everybody else is new.
Brackins is in the NBA, Gilstrap is out trying to make a professional basketball team somewhere, Boozer is gone due to personal issues, Hamilton, Oliver, Buckley, Colvin, and Dendy left for a slew of other reasons.
Many new players. Some are eligible this year, one is waiting on an NCAA appeal, while others have transferred into the program and are waiting to play until 2011 (denoted with a *).
Melvin Ejim (F, FR) - Ejim comes from Brewster Academy and is the most touted of the four freshmen entering at ISU. At media day, Hoiberg talked about Ejim having a Big 12- Body and having the ability to play the 3 and the 4.
Calvin Godfrey (F, FR) - Godfrey comes from Robbinsdale, MN. Hoiberg has noted the guy's energy and ability to grab the offensive boards
Jordan Railey (C, FR) - Railey is straight outta Beaverton, OR. Sounds like he will need to continue to add weight. Sounds like another Justin Hamilton.
Jake Anderson (G, RSR) - Jake transfers from Northern Illinois and can play right away due to the whole grad-school . He's the 18th leading scorer in NIU history, and was an All-MAC Second Team Player Last Year
DeMarcus Phillips (G, JR) - Originally from Milwaukee, Phillips transfers in from Marshalltown C.C.
Eric McKnight (F, FR) - McKnight comes from Raleigh, NC. Sounds like he's more of a long term play, as he needs some time to develop.
* Royce White (F, FR) - You've probably heard all about White. But if you haven't, he's from Minneapolis, was Mr. Basketball in Minnesota in 2009, originally went to Minnesota. Got into some trouble, left the team, and transferred to Iowa State. He's a one-and-done player assuming he can continue to stay out of trouble and do a good job in school. He's waiting on appeal from the NCAA to determine whether he can play this season, but he will most likely have to redshirt this year.
* Chris Allen (G, SR) - Transferred from Michigan State. He's a three point shooter who has had the experience of playing for 2 Final Four Teams, and 1 Sweet 16 team. He got into some trouble with the team, or had some kind of an issue with Izzo. Not exactly sure.
* Chris Babb (G, JR) - Transferred from Penn State. Started a majority of games for Penn State last year. Another proven outside shooter.
* Anthony Booker (F, JR) - Transferred from Southern Illinois. Rated in the Top 50 of Rivals Recruits in 2008. Served as a reserve for the SIU squad the last two years.
If you do the math, we've got 10 guys eligible for sure for 2010. This won't be a very deep team, and we will likely see everybody that is eligible on the court this year.
Media Day Takeaways, My Projected Lineup, and Season Outlook After The Jump!
Things We Learned From Big 12 And ISU Media Day:
The Cyclones were the unanimous pick for 12th in the Big 12 during Media Day. Not a surprise, as it's a team with little experience, and mostly unproven players. The good news is you can see all of the talent that is sitting out during 2010. 2011 has a chance to be a special year.
We do not know much about style of play, as Hoiberg is a brand new coach. What we did learn from media day, is that Hoiberg is going to want to run early in the season, but realizes to be competitive in Big 12 games, they will need to play a slower tempo to try and limit possessions.
There was a lot of mention of floor spacing, but floor spacing is always important in basketball, and doesn't really get into the specifics of what the team is doing. I think that the media failed in a big way with not having asked any type of follow questions to that during the Hoiberg press conference.
We also know that Diante Garrett is going to be the centerpiece of the offense. Hoiberg talked about Diante's confidence, and Diante is going to be a player that is going to be score-first, instead of pass-first like in the past.
My Projected Lineup:
It's still too early, but in my mind, I think this is the direction they go, at least early in the season:
G: Diante Garrett
G: Jake Anderson
G: Scott Christopherson
F: Melvin Ejim
F: Jamie Vanderbeken
With a young team, I think you have to go with experience. Ejim would be the only starter to not have experience, but I do not think there's much doubt this guy is going to play, and play a ton. It's going to take some time to see which guys get in the rotation, and we are going to see various combinations of players on the floor at the same time. I would think we'd see some Godfrey, Ejim, and Vanderbeken all on the floor at the same time. Bottom line, we're going to see everybody play. Early on, I'd guess we will see Bubu Palo, Jordan Railey, and Eric McKnight the least, but it's tough to play an entire season with only 7 guys.
Obviously we will know more after the Exhibition Game on November 5th
2010 is going to be a rough year, and on paper, it's between us and Nebraska for last in the Big 12. The good news is that the game isn't played on paper. I don't think being counted out is that bad of a thing for this team. There isn't going to be a ton of pressure, and it should give the staff and players some time to develop. As long as the guys play hard and improve, it's going to be tough to do a lot of complaining during the season this year. There's no way I could come up with a projected record for this team, but it would be nice to see a couple of conference wins.
Overall, I'm happier with the direction of the team. It's going to be more guard oriented, and in due-time, I think they will play a brand of basketball that will be fun to watch, regardless of outcome.
Vanderbeken is the best shooter on the team, and I'm looking forward to seeing how DG has improved over the summer and early part of the fall. With losing Brackins and Gilstrap, I have to believe we will take a step back with our rebounding, but we won't really know until we see the new guys play.
There are just so many unknowns to go out there and make an informed guess on what this team will look like, what the strengths/weaknesses will be, and how many games they will win this year.
I plan to revisit the Season Outlook after taking in the Exhibition, and it will probably be a lot more meaningful and informative. From here through March, expect to see basketball stories from myself on here. Sometime in the next week or two, I will get into some of the statistical analysis that's being done, and what I look at to analyze players and the team. I'm also guessing we will get some Royce White news any day, and when that comes out, we will put something on here as well.
Like it or not, basketball season is right around the corner, and I'm excited to get the season started!