College basketball’s early signing period tipped off on Wednesday across America. Four players inked with Iowa State. Head coach Fred Hoiberg was nice enough to take a few minutes out of his day to outline the class that currently consists of two high school guards and two JUCO posts.
To view Iowa State’s press release on the class, CLICK HERE.
Here’s that exclusive interview from Cyclone Fanatic.
CF: Matt Thomas’ recruitment seems similar to that of Georges Niang’s last year. Here’s a guy who your staff identified as a priority early, made the offer and then watched the rest of the nation take note. What’s the key to getting in on a player like this early?
FH: I think that Matt was always known as a shooter. I think the one thing that we recognized pretty quickly about Matt was his overall game. He’s not just a shooter. He can put the ball on the floor. He has a good mid-range game. He posts up against some smaller players that he plays against. He can defend. When we saw him early, obviously we love shooters. That’s a huge part of our offense but he is so much more than that. We could tell that at a pretty early stage when we started recruiting them. We got in there early and that is always important. It was the same thing with Georges. We were the first high-major school to offer and he remembered that. With Matt, we had been involved with him for a long time. We saw several 6 a.m. work outs last year when his high school was working out in the morning. That all goes a long way at the end of the day.
CF: I have talked with some scouts and read pieces that indicate Matt is one of the top shooters to come out of the high school ranks in years. Being that you are know for your shooting background, what would you say to that?
FH: He has a flawless stroke. From what I’ve seen, I would say that he is the best shooter in the entire class of 2013. His release is perfect. He’s got a nice, high release. He has textbook form. Any time that you have a guy like that who can space the floor like he does, it makes it tough and gives your ball handlers an opportunity with driving lanes. Every thing that we have coming in, with Monte Morris who I think is going to be a tremendous player at the point spot – I think that he can play both guard spots because of his size. I think those guys will complement each other very well and it gives us a really nice one-two punch for the future.
CF: That’s where I wanted to go next – Monte Morris. I’ve seen him talked about as a point and a combo-guard. Where do you see him fitting in at Iowa State?
FH: I want to say this about both guys: They both led their teams to undefeated seasons where they won state championships last year. That’s very important, when you can lead your team to a championship. That is huge. The thing that Monte does such a good job of and he was on one of the top AAU teams in the country last year that won the Adidas 64 event out in Vegas, he shared the lead-guard responsibilities with Derrick Walton, who is going to Michigan. That is the thing that I really like about Monte is how well he played with the ball and how well he played off the ball. He is 6-foot-3 and I think he is still growing. He’s got big feet. He’s got big hands. He handles the ball very well. He makes simple plays and sometimes that gets a little bit lost. When a guy ups the ball, throws the ball at him. When a defender helps, he makes the easy, instinctive pass. That’s the thing that you love about Monte, just how good his instincts are. And he can really score it. He can get in. He’s got good athleticism around the rim. He can hit the 3 as well.
CF: Onto the JUCO guys, I haven’t seen either play yet but from how they’ve been described, the word energy comes to mind. Is that an accurate word to describe Richard Amardi and Dustin Hogue?
FH: Yeah, starting with Dustin. He is an elite athlete. He has great size and can play both forward positions. He’s actually built a lot like Melvin Ejim. He’s got length. You can put him in the post and he’s got a very good mid-range game as well. The thing I am most excited about with Dustin is I think he has the ability to be a lock-down defender.
CF: The thing that stands out about Amardi is his 6-foot-9, 225 pound frame. How would you compared Amardi and Hogue? Are they similar?
FH: I don’t if I would say they are similar. I will say this though about Richard. Richard can handle it. He’s got some good moves to get going when he is on the post. He’s an above-the-rim type of player who really fits into our up-tempo system.