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  1. #1
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    Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Cyclones’ blind love

    Sight unseen, German who’s sitting out proves popular


    By Eric Petersen
    For The Gazette
    AMES — Iowa State’s most popular men’s basketball player hasn’t scored a point or pulled down a rebound this season.

    He stays home on road trips and watches games from the student section at Hilton Coliseum. Yet Lucca Staiger gets e-mail and Facebook messages by the dozen from classmates and fans he’s never met.

    “They always send me stuff like they feel bad for me or they can’t wait to see me on the court,” Staiger said. “I don’t even know how many. Tons. Every day.” The fan club grows by the day, a phenomenon that even has admiring teammates shaking their heads at the love affair Cyclone fans have for a player they barely know and have never seen in action.

    “He’s one of the most loved players on the team and he hasn’t played one game,” said fellow ISU freshman and roommate Craig Brackins.

    For Staiger, game day is the hardest of them all. The fan favorite couldn’t play if he wanted to.

    The freshman from Baul stein, Germany, is sitting out the season per an NCAA ruling that Staiger’s club team in Germany provided excessive benefits to some of its players. ISU athletics officials did all they could to reverse the ruling, but all appeals were denied.

    Staiger is reduced to cheerleader and practice player, counting the days until next season when he can put on a uniform and play in front of a packed house at Hilton Coliseum.

    “It really hurts,” Staiger said. “And the worst thing is it’s not getting better. It’s the same thing every game. I thought I’d get used to it, but before every game it just hurts.” Staiger, 19, said he “nev er, ever” accepted money and his family and coaches at the Urspring Basketball Academy worked hard to preserve his college eligibility.

    “I think I did everything right,” Staiger said. “I don’t know what I could do if I had to do it over again.” ISU Coach Greg McDermott has been critical of the decision-makers and their inability to see the situation for what it was. This is the first year the NCAA has controlled the process of certifying international players.

    “I didn’t like the way it all went down, but it’s over,” McDermott said. “We have to move on.” Fans have thrown their support behind Staiger. Still, more than a month since ISU’s final appeal was turned down, members of the Cyclone Alley student section chant “Free Lucca” during breaks in games. A Web site by the same name — freelucca.com — has been up and running for months.

    Staiger’s eligibility has been a rallying cry for Cyclone basketball fans.
    “‘Free Lucca’ is around the world,” Brackins said. “We went to Oregon and people where chanting.” Back home in Ames, he’s beloved everywhere he goes. Teammates aren’t just being nice by keeping Staiger company to keep him from sulking.

    “We don’t go nowhere without Lucca. He’s the life of the party,” Brackins said. “He keeps us laughing 24/7. He’s the most positive person I’ve seen.” Had Staiger’s case been finalized earlier in 2007, he might not be here at all.

    Professional teams in Europe would welcome 6-foot5, 210-pound guards who can shoot the lights out. But Staiger dreamed about playing big-time college basketball and getting an education.

    “I could have made money the whole time and I didn’t,” he said. “I could have helped my family out so much. I had offers for $4,000 a month. That’s more than my parents make together.” McDermott’s advice? Stay at ISU or he’d regret leaving. Staiger agreed.


    Iowa State Sports Information
    Iowa State’s Lucca Staiger (left) gets instruction from assistant coach Jeff Rutter during a practice this season in Ames. He is sitting out this season under an NCAA ruling.


    Iowa State Sports Information
    Iowa State’s Lucca Staiger, who is sitting out this season because the NCAA ruled him ineligible, goes up for a shot during a practice session in Ames this season.



  2. #2
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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Great article. It dredges up feelings that were beginning to fade. I feel like a 4 year old wanting to shout, "It's not fair!" What a royal screw-job.

    Props to Cyclone Alley, fans in Oregon, and all Clone fans that rallied for Lucca.


    Forever trying to find a cure for the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    wow. That article is well written, accurate and positive. Please, DON'T pinch me.

    - keep.


    The first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is of all things most shameful and vile. - Plato

    May you only need 39 acres to turn your rig around. - keep

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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    I love Lucca! He is such a great guy, and I'm really sad Rahshon will never get to play with him.



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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Quote Originally Posted by keepngoal View Post
    wow. That article is well written, accurate and positive. Please, DON'T pinch me.

    - keep.

    I agree, good job outta the Gazette and Eric Petersen. He and the Gazette must be trying to readeem themselves for their errors in the past week.

    (This was on the front of the Sports page by the way.)



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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Awesome article - gets the emotions flowing!

    In watching Lucca at practice and before the games...I firmly believe...without Rutter - Lucca is not a Cyclone today. Hats off to him for continuing to build a relationship with Lucca and push him in unique ways in order to keep Lucca interested.

    I took this photo before the game last weekend. It's of Lucca on one end of the court - a break while working with Rutter. On the other end, all of his other teammates are in their warm-ups - shooting around and getting ready for the game. I'm going to have him sign this eventually and then later get one of him actually in an ISU uniform - frame them side-by-side.

    One of him looking at those that can do what he's told not to. And the other, of him doing what others can only dream of.



    A fun mocked-up version...




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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Thanks for posting, SlyCy. I haven't updated the website for a while. It's been getting slammed with a lot of spam lately and the traffic has just about died, and my spirit for fixing it has dwindled. Now I feel revitalized. Time for an update this weekend!



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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    I think Eric wrote the article just to get ISU fans p***ed off again at the NCAA.

    It's working. If nothing happens to OJ Mayo and USC, I'm going to the NCAA Headquarters to get my stapler back.



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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    What ever happened to the billboard idea? was it too expensive?



  10. #10
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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Quote Originally Posted by cybsmydog View Post
    What ever happened to the billboard idea? was it too expensive?
    Yeah, and it never really had any support or traction anyway.



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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    I can't wait to see lucca play next year, and this article just ticks me off even more at the NCAA. It should be the NAH (National Association of Hypocrites)
    Rant over.



  12. #12
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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Great article. It's hard not to love this guy after his decision to stay at ISU after what's happened to him. I can't wait to see him next year!


    Throwing seven different kinds of smoke!

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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    I have heard that since he can't play Lucca spends a lot of time on his shot that is already supposed to be amazing. It would be great if we had someone who could fill it up from deep like Jake did at one time.



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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Quote Originally Posted by CyGal View Post
    Great article. It's hard not to love this guy after his decision to stay at ISU after what's happened to him. I can't wait to see him next year!
    I know we haven't seen him on the court yet, and who knows if what we've seen of him in practice and the Cap City League will translate to big time basketball, but he has a chance to be a legend here. I say this because of the way he has handled himself in the press during this very difficult situation, and the loyalty he has shown us already. He is already going to be a prohibitive fan favorite next year, and if he is as good as advertised, he could be one for the ages due to these circumstances.


    Forever trying to find a cure for the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

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    Re: Cyclones’ blind love (Gazette Lucca article)

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyfan View Post
    I know we haven't seen him on the court yet, and who knows if what we've seen of him in practice and the Cap City League will translate to big time basketball, but he has a chance to be a legend here. I say this because of the way he has handled himself in the press during this very difficult situation, and the loyalty he has shown us already. He is already going to be a prohibitive fan favorite next year, and if he is as good as advertised, he could be one for the ages due to these circumstances.
    Very well said. I agree completely.



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