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  1. #1
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    SI/Athlon's preview

    SI.com - 2007 NCAA Basketball Preview

    Last season’s finish was one Greg McDermott knew was coming in his first, short-handed go-around as Iowa State’s head coach. Now, with a handful of recruits who fit McDermott’s system and three key players returning from a group that most would say overachieved to get to 15–16, the Cyclones could have something going.
    The schedule is challenging, though that’s the sign of a coach believing his team can compete with the big boys despite its youth.
    “I’ll be disappointed if we are not better,” McDermott said. “This is really a critical year for us to at least take a step forward and show we are getting better. So far everything points to signs that we are moving in the right direction.”
    Senior big man Jiri Hubalek and last year’s surprise, versatile forward Wesley Johnson, will be leaned on heavily in the early going after top scorer Mike Taylor was kicked off the team just before the start of fall classes.
    ISU was the Big 12’s worst scoring (63.6 ppg) and shooting (40.8 percent) team a year ago. Those numbers are sure to rise with more scoring options, particularly in a backcourt that now has size and depth with the addition of several newcomers.
    “Our progress will be largely dependent on how quickly we can develop some of our freshmen,” McDermott said. “Three or four of them are going to have to play significant minutes.”
    FRONTCOURT

    Old and new form ISU’s front line. Hubalek became a force once he figured out that the place for him was not out around the three-point line. The 6-foot-11 center’s scoring around the basket complements Johnson, an inside-outside threat who splashed onto the scene as a freshman. Johnson, who was second in the Big 12 to Texas’ Kevin Durant with 11 double-doubles, should only improve with added weight and strength to what was a 195-pound frame.
    The hope is that highly touted freshman Craig Brackins becomes a big-time player right away. The power forward was one of the nation’s top 20 recruits out of prep school and will get the chance to prove his game early on.
    Iowa transfer Alex Thompson, who took advantage of his year off by improving his game, is expected to contribute heavily to his hometown Cyclones.
    The team’s best defender, Rahshon Clark, wants to close his career on a high note. The high-flier is trying to become more than a spot-up three-point shooter and guy who gets to the offensive glass for putbacks.
    BACKCOURT

    Taylor was more of a problem than a solution and coaches finally had to let go of their best offensive player for the good of the team. The talented, yet troubled guard had multiple run-ins with police in his year in Ames and couldn’t be trusted to act properly.
    “Unfortunately, Mike fell short of the goals that were set for him,” McDermott said.
    Freshmen Diante Garrett and Marcus Brister are going to get a quick introduction to the Big 12 with Taylor and the only other two scholarship guards gone from last year’s team. Garrett has NBA pedigree from his father, Dick, and needs only to grow into his body to become a star.
    German import Lucca Staiger should provide the outside threat the Cyclones lacked last season, shooting only 32.4 percent from distance.
    Walk-on Sean Haluska -- whose brother Adam led the Big Ten in scoring last season at Iowa after transferring from ISU -- comes from one of the top junior colleges in the nation and can also fill it up from the outside.
    FINAL ANALYSIS

    Everything has changed for the Cyclones with Taylor’s dismissal from the team. There is depth, but zero experience in the backcourt, which rarely is a good thing.
    McDermott has proven he can win when he’s got his kind of players to work with; he took Northern Iowa to three straight NCAAs before moving across the state for a bigger challenge and paycheck.
    Some scorers will have to emerge from this big batch of newcomers. After a year without many able bodies or options, McDermott will be able to mix and match lineups in search of what gives ISU the best chance to win.
    “This season I think we’ll have great competition at every spot and we can throw some different looks on the floor,” McDermott said.



  2. #2
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    Re: SI/Athlon's preview

    Good read. I CANNOT WAIT for b-ball!


    Just in case you didn't know... I'm a girl.

  3. #3
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    Re: SI/Athlon's preview

    Looks like a pretty good preview.



  4. #4
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    Re: SI/Athlon's preview

    that gets me pumped for b-ball
    GO CYCLONES



  5. #5
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    Re: SI/Athlon's preview

    The best time of the year is fast approachin'.....can't wait.


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  6. #6
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    WARNING!!!Please read the following

    before you read the 1st thread! The article gives more than lip service to Haluska and Thompson........... who alot of the experts on here know are horrible and McDermott must resign if they see more than 2 minutes a game.



  7. #7
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    Re: SI/Athlon's preview

    My favorite thing about ISU is seeing Hilton on it's feet down the stretch of a big time game. Nothing gets me more pumped.


    @RandomGeoFacts

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