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  1. #1
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    The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Just a (not so) quick look, following a disappointing game, at what next season's team could look like.

    (1) Craig Brackins 6’10" Junior
    Craig gets parentheses, because whatever he says right now, there is at least some chance that he’ll go pro, and not be around next season. That said, if he is around, I would anticipate CB being even better, not the least a little stronger, and able to exert his will a little more consistently.

    2. Diante Garrett 6’4" Junior
    If Craig is gone, this will be Diante’s team, and I’m looking forward to seeing his offseason areas of improvement. For example, if he raised his bench press a hundred pounds last offseason, can he raise it another fifty? Upper body strength will help him finish at the rim, and I expect him to continue to improve his court vision with more recipients for his passes. Next up? Smoothing out that outside shot.

    3. Marquis Gilstrap 6’6" Senior
    I know you’re all shocked at this , but I do expect Marquis to start from Day One. Not only because he’s a more mature senior, or because his skill set fits the teams needs so well, but because he has such a bountiful skill set in the first place. Penetrating, shooting, slashing, rebounding, even a little passing, he’s going to be an immense help to this team. People wonder if GMac can change his "system" to accommodate Harrison Barnes, he’ll have every opportunity (and incentive) to a year before Harrison would ever arrive.

    4. Justin Hamilton 6’11" Sophomore
    Justin Hamilton is raw as a basketball player, but I’m impressed with his collection of base skills and his work ethic. There are three things that I think will be crucial to his improvement in the off season, all involving his physical attributes. Bulk is good, but I think that Justin needs to improve his quickness and explosion, flexibility, and upper body strength, so that he can finish emphatically going to the hole. Game savvy will come with experience, but he needs to get in top basketball playing condition.

    Given his late arrival to the game, if Justin can come anywhere close to matching Cole Aldrich's frosh to soph improvement, I'll be ecstatic.

    5. Jamie Vanderbeken 6’11 Senior
    Like the last two on the list above him, Jamie’s time in the weight room in the off season will be crucial. I’m not saying that he’s going to have a starting role, but as a potential double digit scorer at 6’11", he has a lot of positive qualities to offer. Especially if he can add ten, fifteen or twenty pounds of muscle, and still run as well.

    6. Lucca Staiger 6’5" Junior
    Much like the last two, Lucca’s physical conditioning, along with improving his ballhandling, will be a rather immense key. Otherwise, with the addition of Gilstrap and Christopherson, he might find his minutes substantially diminished.

    7. Chris Colvin 6’2" Freshman
    Another guy that I’m not saying will start, but I really can’t see him not being in the playing rotation. I just don’t know how good he’ll be as a freshman. I do know that he can add a substantial degree of badly needed ballhandling, defense and penetration, but how soon that materializes is quite an issue—for all I know, he could star from Day One, or have a career track that matches Diante Garrett (worst case scenario). Somehow, given his intense level of prep competition, I think that Chris will demonstrate at least a slightly steeper learning curve.

    8. Scott Christopherson 6’3" Sophomore
    I don’t really know how to put my finger on Scott’s skills. I want to say either that he’ll be a new and improved version of Brian Petersen, or that he’s everything Wes Eikmeier is supposed to one day be—a scrappy, hustling gym rat who can shoot. Only with the benefit of physical maturity. In either case, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Scott plays an important role for the ’09-10 Cyclones.

    9. L.A. Pomlee 6’8" Fr.
    Yes, I know that L.A. is a green bundle of athleticism. I don’t know, honestly, whether he’ll be in the rotation a year from now, especially if CB returns for his swan song. However, I do think that L.A. will represent a huge asset that the Cyclones don’t have right now…help for Craig inside when the Cyclones face teams with big, athletic forwards—like Missouri. The good thing for L.A. is that if he is pushed into a starting role, at least with Gilstrap’s arrival and Hamilton’s continued improvement, he wouldn’t be pressured to be an offensive focal point, and could concentrate on defense and rebounding—he could offer an awful lot of energy inside. And however long (or short) his apprenticeship, I think that we’re all going to be very glad that L.A. Pomlee is a Cyclone—and I mean that not only if brother Tavian signs with his brother’s team.

    10. Charles Boozer 6’3" Junior
    I’ve watched Carlos Boozer, over the past several games, grow by leaps and bounds, so much so that I can hardly recognize the same player from his freshman year. Oh, I mean that the splash-the-bottom-of-the-net shooter is still there, somewhere, but hard work and defense has now become his primary focus. I like that, and I expect to see Charles on the floor a lot next year. Indeed, I start to wonder just where hard work and the future is going to take him, what his ceiling might truly be.

    11. Dominique Buckley 6’2" Soph
    I know the staff likes Buckley because, even though he might not be explosively quick, he’s still a smooth point guard with all of the requisite skills. He’s begun to get minutes, the schedule says that he’ll make adjustments to the speed of the Big XII game, and be an effective player next season.

    12. Wes Eikmeier 6’3" Soph
    It’s become obvious that, much like Diante Garrett a year ago, Wes Eikmeier needed a redshirt year. Perhaps he still does, and that’s my guess, that with a welter of candidates on the wing next year he’ll spend it redshirting. Unless, of course, he proves to be a miracle worker in the weight room, and comes into fall drills as Jeff Hornacek revisited. At this point, I really don’t have an answer.

    13. Clinton Mann 6’6" Soph
    I don’t have a crystal ball, but I see one future for Clinton, with L.A. available—a redshirt of his own. If he has the physical attributes, his skills are going to need time, even if he one day matures into a defensive stopper on the wing. Of course, for all I know, that could be next season in any case.

    By Position

    Two Guard
    I’m listing this one first, because to me it offers such a kaleidoscope of possibilities. After all, there’ll be a five hundred pound gorilla occupying the other wing spot, leaving everyone to fight over leftover minutes. One candidate will be Lucca Staiger, bounced out of that ostensible "three" slot by said gorilla. On the other hand, with ballhandling and penetration at a premium, Lucca will have to step up his game big time, and I’m not sure that he’s going to be able to—at least, not enough to start. Though there’s always a role for a shooter.

    No, my first candidate would be Scott Christopherson, just because I expect him to add a lot of heart, hustle, and scrappiness, let alone shooting, ballhandling and passing. This is my candidate to lead the team in floor burns. He may not play forty minutes a game, but I don’t think he’ll have too—there are plenty of others clamoring for playing time.

    The other major contender among returnees (to me) would be Charles Boozer, whom I’ve been gratified to watch begin to blossom from a one dimensional shooter-wannabe to much more of an all around player, with hustle, hard work, and defense—and he’s starting to show his stroke as well. I think that in the end, the major minutes will come down to Christopherson and Boozer, but at this stage, that’s really no more than a feeling, even a W.A.G.

    The wild card in the equation, of course, is incoming frosh Chris Colvin, who, with a point guard already established and blossoming, may steal some of the minutes on the wing. After all, that would allow him to utilize his explosiveness, ballhandling and passing abilities without the pressure of being the primary ballhandler right off the bat. Indeed, it certainly appears that he has the requisite athleticism and skills for a dual point guard system on a running, explosive team.

    And yes, in case you haven’t noticed, all of the above would seem to be bad news for Wes Eikmeier, even considering the minutes available in relief at the three spot. Unless, of course, he happens to grow attached to PB&J sandwiches in the offseason.

    And in case anyone was wondering about any implied criticism of Lucca, if he does improve his ballhandling and penetration skills, he'll fend off all comers. A win-win scenario for the Cyclones.

    Wing (Three)
    Just in case I raised any questions in your minds, I’ll answer them here. Yes, I think that Marquis Gilstrap will prove to be the proverbial five hundred pound gorilla, like CB this season, he plays as much as he wants, and his foul situation dictates. And not just a shooter and slasher, Marquis can pass and attack the boards as well. Oh, I don’t necessarily expect him to go thirty-nine minutes a game, as Diante and Craig have all too often, but even a reasonable relief isn’t going to give Lucca (or any other wing) all that much time on the court. And thus the jumble at the Two spot. But still, isn’t depth a wonderful thing?

    Power Forward (Four)
    Assuming he’s here, this position belongs to Craig, another Five Hundred Pound Gorilla. Now that I think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sets against some teams where Craig is the effective "center", with Marquis at the Four. But that’s sheer guesswork. Again, if he’s around, I would expect Craig to average twenty ppg and double digits rebounding, even if he has help sharing the load—because there will be that many more opportunities, and fewer defenders free to collapse on him.
    That said, if Craig does go pro (and thus Mac losing the best returning player on the team a fourth year in a row), it will leave the minutes to some combination of L.A. Pomlee and Jamie Vanderbeken—or else, the best player Mac can dredge up to sign after Craig announces come March. Not a good situation—unless Jamie and L.A. spend a lot of time in the weight room this offseason.

    Otherwise, those two players will soak up a handful of reserve minutes, and rotate in as well at the…

    Center (Five)
    To all intents an purposes, this slot could belong to Justin Hamilton. If he works hard, if he develops his situational awareness, if he’s a little stronger, a little quicker, a little more explosive—let alone confident. Those are all pretty big "ifs".
    I’d like to see them all answered emphatically, but my best guess at the moment would be Justin, Jamie and L.A. scrambling for some jumble of minutes. Which leaves us with the player who is fast becoming the third Five Hundred Pound Gorilla at…

    Point Guard
    I’ve watched with marvel as Diante Garrett has continued to improve, not only from last season, but as this season has progressed. He’s still learning to establish his will, in fits and starts, but I have no doubt that he will continue to grow in that area. My one hesitance about his game as a pure point guard was his vision, his ability to find slashing teammates rather than taking the ball to the rack every time himself, but that worry has been alleviated the past several games, as I’ve seen Diante make some remarkable passes.

    The last major remaining question mark is his outside shot, but if he makes strides with that and as he has the rest of his game this off season, while continuing to build strength, Diante is starting to look like a star in the making.

    When Chris Colvin signed, I thought the freshman might brush the upperclassman aside, or push him to the wing, but I no longer feel that to be the case—if anything, Diante will allow Chris a gentle transition to Big XII basketball. Chris, at the same time, will offer Diante another ballhandler against pressing teams. Along with Dominique Buckley, we should suddenly have effective depth in the backcourt—as well as everywhere else.




    Paul Rhoads' players never quit.
    (They just disappear offseason)


  2. #2
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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Nice write up

    2 things IMO

    You don't want to redshirt Mann, b/c that just ties up his scholarship for 5 years. Have him stay here for 4 years, say thank you, and use it for somebody else

    JVB is the only player on our team that I don't really care if he gets stronger. Sure it wouldn't hurt, but his style of game doesn't need a lot of strength. Defensively it would help, but not so much for his offensive game



  3. #3
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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Nice write-up.

    Any expectations for W-L? (you know I couldn't resist )

    1. With CB
    2. W/O CB



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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    CB - 18
    w/o CB - 13
    From watching results this year and watching the team improvement.


    Let my Fred's Posse Ride: Georges, Naz, Hogue, Bryce, Nader, Monte, Matt, and McKay.

  5. #5
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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Thanks for the write-up and bringing at least a little sanity to the men's bb discussion. I think we have the talent as they become juniors and seniors to win in the big 12.

    It would be nice to see no defections this year for a change, and give us a chance to judge the coach"s ability to grow a team before more people on this site throw him under the bus.



  6. #6
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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    nice job. You put alot of work into writing about a team that will ******* suck.



  7. #7
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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by cyco2000 View Post
    Nice write-up.

    Any expectations for W-L? (you know I couldn't resist )

    1. With CB
    Counting the NCAA tourney wins?

    Or just the improved possibilty of HB signing with the good guys? There's a big "W" right there.

    Seriously, there are too many variables for me to make a serious prediction--Colvin and Pomlee two of the biggest.

    If everything works out perfectly, 23 wins (and I haven't seen next year's schedule), a W.A.G.

    If CB goes pro, but Hamilton and Pomlee combine for 17-18 rpg, 18.




    Paul Rhoads' players never quit.
    (They just disappear offseason)


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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by zmanzbo View Post
    nice job. You put alot of work into writing about a team that will ******* suck.
    You have to be kidding me? Why even post that?



  9. #9
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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    [quote=zmanzbo;887358]nice job. You put alot of work into writing about a team that will ******* suck.[/quote]
    Wait--you haven't seen my post about Iowa yet, so how did you know?




    Paul Rhoads' players never quit.
    (They just disappear offseason)


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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by zmanzbo View Post
    nice job. You put alot of work into writing about a team that will ******* suck.
    Nice job, you put a lot of work into a sentence that ********************************** sucked.



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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aclone View Post
    Just a (not so) quick look, following a disappointing game, at what next season's team could look like.

    (1) Craig Brackins 6’10" Junior
    Craig gets parentheses, because whatever he says right now, there is at least some chance that he’ll go pro, and not be around next season. That said, if he is around, I would anticipate CB being even better, not the least a little stronger, and able to exert his will a little more consistently.

    2. Diante Garrett 6’4" Junior
    If Craig is gone, this will be Diante’s team, and I’m looking forward to seeing his offseason areas of improvement. For example, if he raised his bench press a hundred pounds last offseason, can he raise it another fifty? Upper body strength will help him finish at the rim, and I expect him to continue to improve his court vision with more recipients for his passes. Next up? Smoothing out that outside shot.

    3. Marquis Gilstrap 6’6" Senior
    I know you’re all shocked at this , but I do expect Marquis to start from Day One. Not only because he’s a more mature senior, or because his skill set fits the teams needs so well, but because he has such a bountiful skill set in the first place. Penetrating, shooting, slashing, rebounding, even a little passing, he’s going to be an immense help to this team. People wonder if GMac can change his "system" to accommodate Harrison Barnes, he’ll have every opportunity (and incentive) to a year before Harrison would ever arrive.

    4. Justin Hamilton 6’11" Sophomore
    Justin Hamilton is raw as a basketball player, but I’m impressed with his collection of base skills and his work ethic. There are three things that I think will be crucial to his improvement in the off season, all involving his physical attributes. Bulk is good, but I think that Justin needs to improve his quickness and explosion, flexibility, and upper body strength, so that he can finish emphatically going to the hole. Game savvy will come with experience, but he needs to get in top basketball playing condition.

    Given his late arrival to the game, if Justin can come anywhere close to matching Cole Aldrich's frosh to soph improvement, I'll be ecstatic.

    5. Jamie Vanderbeken 6’11 Senior
    Like the last two on the list above him, Jamie’s time in the weight room in the off season will be crucial. I’m not saying that he’s going to have a starting role, but as a potential double digit scorer at 6’11", he has a lot of positive qualities to offer. Especially if he can add ten, fifteen or twenty pounds of muscle, and still run as well.

    6. Lucca Staiger 6’5" Junior
    Much like the last two, Lucca’s physical conditioning, along with improving his ballhandling, will be a rather immense key. Otherwise, with the addition of Gilstrap and Christopherson, he might find his minutes substantially diminished.

    7. Chris Colvin 6’2" Freshman
    Another guy that I’m not saying will start, but I really can’t see him not being in the playing rotation. I just don’t know how good he’ll be as a freshman. I do know that he can add a substantial degree of badly needed ballhandling, defense and penetration, but how soon that materializes is quite an issue—for all I know, he could star from Day One, or have a career track that matches Diante Garrett (worst case scenario). Somehow, given his intense level of prep competition, I think that Chris will demonstrate at least a slightly steeper learning curve.

    8. Scott Christopherson 6’3" Sophomore
    I don’t really know how to put my finger on Scott’s skills. I want to say either that he’ll be a new and improved version of Brian Petersen, or that he’s everything Wes Eikmeier is supposed to one day be—a scrappy, hustling gym rat who can shoot. Only with the benefit of physical maturity. In either case, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Scott plays an important role for the ’09-10 Cyclones.

    9. L.A. Pomlee 6’8" Fr.
    Yes, I know that L.A. is a green bundle of athleticism. I don’t know, honestly, whether he’ll be in the rotation a year from now, especially if CB returns for his swan song. However, I do think that L.A. will represent a huge asset that the Cyclones don’t have right now…help for Craig inside when the Cyclones face teams with big, athletic forwards—like Missouri. The good thing for L.A. is that if he is pushed into a starting role, at least with Gilstrap’s arrival and Hamilton’s continued improvement, he wouldn’t be pressured to be an offensive focal point, and could concentrate on defense and rebounding—he could offer an awful lot of energy inside. And however long (or short) his apprenticeship, I think that we’re all going to be very glad that L.A. Pomlee is a Cyclone—and I mean that not only if brother Tavian signs with his brother’s team.

    10. Charles Boozer 6’3" Junior
    I’ve watched Carlos Boozer, over the past several games, grow by leaps and bounds, so much so that I can hardly recognize the same player from his freshman year. Oh, I mean that the splash-the-bottom-of-the-net shooter is still there, somewhere, but hard work and defense has now become his primary focus. I like that, and I expect to see Charles on the floor a lot next year. Indeed, I start to wonder just where hard work and the future is going to take him, what his ceiling might truly be.

    11. Dominique Buckley 6’2" Soph
    I know the staff likes Buckley because, even though he might not be explosively quick, he’s still a smooth point guard with all of the requisite skills. He’s begun to get minutes, the schedule says that he’ll make adjustments to the speed of the Big XII game, and be an effective player next season.

    12. Wes Eikmeier 6’3" Soph
    It’s become obvious that, much like Diante Garrett a year ago, Wes Eikmeier needed a redshirt year. Perhaps he still does, and that’s my guess, that with a welter of candidates on the wing next year he’ll spend it redshirting. Unless, of course, he proves to be a miracle worker in the weight room, and comes into fall drills as Jeff Hornacek revisited. At this point, I really don’t have an answer.

    13. Clinton Mann 6’6" Soph
    I don’t have a crystal ball, but I see one future for Clinton, with L.A. available—a redshirt of his own. If he has the physical attributes, his skills are going to need time, even if he one day matures into a defensive stopper on the wing. Of course, for all I know, that could be next season in any case.

    By Position

    Two Guard
    I’m listing this one first, because to me it offers such a kaleidoscope of possibilities. After all, there’ll be a five hundred pound gorilla occupying the other wing spot, leaving everyone to fight over leftover minutes. One candidate will be Lucca Staiger, bounced out of that ostensible "three" slot by said gorilla. On the other hand, with ballhandling and penetration at a premium, Lucca will have to step up his game big time, and I’m not sure that he’s going to be able to—at least, not enough to start. Though there’s always a role for a shooter.

    No, my first candidate would be Scott Christopherson, just because I expect him to add a lot of heart, hustle, and scrappiness, let alone shooting, ballhandling and passing. This is my candidate to lead the team in floor burns. He may not play forty minutes a game, but I don’t think he’ll have too—there are plenty of others clamoring for playing time.

    The other major contender among returnees (to me) would be Charles Boozer, whom I’ve been gratified to watch begin to blossom from a one dimensional shooter-wannabe to much more of an all around player, with hustle, hard work, and defense—and he’s starting to show his stroke as well. I think that in the end, the major minutes will come down to Christopherson and Boozer, but at this stage, that’s really no more than a feeling, even a W.A.G.

    The wild card in the equation, of course, is incoming frosh Chris Colvin, who, with a point guard already established and blossoming, may steal some of the minutes on the wing. After all, that would allow him to utilize his explosiveness, ballhandling and passing abilities without the pressure of being the primary ballhandler right off the bat. Indeed, it certainly appears that he has the requisite athleticism and skills for a dual point guard system on a running, explosive team.

    And yes, in case you haven’t noticed, all of the above would seem to be bad news for Wes Eikmeier, even considering the minutes available in relief at the three spot. Unless, of course, he happens to grow attached to PB&J sandwiches in the offseason.

    And in case anyone was wondering about any implied criticism of Lucca, if he does improve his ballhandling and penetration skills, he'll fend off all comers. A win-win scenario for the Cyclones.

    Wing (Three)
    Just in case I raised any questions in your minds, I’ll answer them here. Yes, I think that Marquis Gilstrap will prove to be the proverbial five hundred pound gorilla, like CB this season, he plays as much as he wants, and his foul situation dictates. And not just a shooter and slasher, Marquis can pass and attack the boards as well. Oh, I don’t necessarily expect him to go thirty-nine minutes a game, as Diante and Craig have all too often, but even a reasonable relief isn’t going to give Lucca (or any other wing) all that much time on the court. And thus the jumble at the Two spot. But still, isn’t depth a wonderful thing?

    Power Forward (Four)
    Assuming he’s here, this position belongs to Craig, another Five Hundred Pound Gorilla. Now that I think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sets against some teams where Craig is the effective "center", with Marquis at the Four. But that’s sheer guesswork. Again, if he’s around, I would expect Craig to average twenty ppg and double digits rebounding, even if he has help sharing the load—because there will be that many more opportunities, and fewer defenders free to collapse on him.
    That said, if Craig does go pro (and thus Mac losing the best returning player on the team a fourth year in a row), it will leave the minutes to some combination of L.A. Pomlee and Jamie Vanderbeken—or else, the best player Mac can dredge up to sign after Craig announces come March. Not a good situation—unless Jamie and L.A. spend a lot of time in the weight room this offseason.

    Otherwise, those two players will soak up a handful of reserve minutes, and rotate in as well at the…

    Center (Five)
    To all intents an purposes, this slot could belong to Justin Hamilton. If he works hard, if he develops his situational awareness, if he’s a little stronger, a little quicker, a little more explosive—let alone confident. Those are all pretty big "ifs".
    I’d like to see them all answered emphatically, but my best guess at the moment would be Justin, Jamie and L.A. scrambling for some jumble of minutes. Which leaves us with the player who is fast becoming the third Five Hundred Pound Gorilla at…

    Point Guard
    I’ve watched with marvel as Diante Garrett has continued to improve, not only from last season, but as this season has progressed. He’s still learning to establish his will, in fits and starts, but I have no doubt that he will continue to grow in that area. My one hesitance about his game as a pure point guard was his vision, his ability to find slashing teammates rather than taking the ball to the rack every time himself, but that worry has been alleviated the past several games, as I’ve seen Diante make some remarkable passes.

    The last major remaining question mark is his outside shot, but if he makes strides with that and as he has the rest of his game this off season, while continuing to build strength, Diante is starting to look like a star in the making.

    When Chris Colvin signed, I thought the freshman might brush the upperclassman aside, or push him to the wing, but I no longer feel that to be the case—if anything, Diante will allow Chris a gentle transition to Big XII basketball. Chris, at the same time, will offer Diante another ballhandler against pressing teams. Along with Dominique Buckley, we should suddenly have effective depth in the backcourt—as well as everywhere else.
    Good job doing your homework. Im impressed.



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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aclone View Post
    Counting the NCAA tourney wins?

    Or just the improved possibilty of HB signing with the good guys? There's a big "W" right there.

    Seriously, there are too many variables for me to make a serious prediction--Colvin and Pomlee two of the biggest.

    If everything works out perfectly, 23 wins (and I haven't seen next year's schedule), a W.A.G.

    If CB goes pro, but Hamilton and Pomlee combine for 17-18 rpg, 18.
    I know--too early to tell, just couldn't go without asking!

    I'd like to see the freshmen getting more experience this year. They're going to need it.



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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by cyco2000 View Post
    I'd like to see the freshmen getting more experience this year. They're going to need it.
    Well, L.A. isn't playing, Dominique has started seeing the floor again the last two games, Wes's biggest need is time in the weight room (and rebuilding his shattered confidence), and Justin is seeing plenty of time. Clinton I can't see being on the floor much right now.

    In the meantime, the sophs (Boozer, at least) are seeing incresed playing time, which I guess is just going to have to do.




    Paul Rhoads' players never quit.
    (They just disappear offseason)


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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    I hope Chris Colvin is the next Derrick Rose out of Chi-town. Everyone debates if he's a true point guard, or a power guard, Rose was both, hopefully Chris will be both.



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    Re: The '09-10 Squad (long)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aclone View Post
    Just a (not so) quick look, following a disappointing game, at what next season's team could look like.

    (1) Craig Brackins 6’10" Junior
    Craig gets parentheses, because whatever he says right now, there is at least some chance that he’ll go pro, and not be around next season. That said, if he is around, I would anticipate CB being even better, not the least a little stronger, and able to exert his will a little more consistently.

    2. Diante Garrett 6’4" Junior
    If Craig is gone, this will be Diante’s team, and I’m looking forward to seeing his offseason areas of improvement. For example, if he raised his bench press a hundred pounds last offseason, can he raise it another fifty? Upper body strength will help him finish at the rim, and I expect him to continue to improve his court vision with more recipients for his passes. Next up? Smoothing out that outside shot.

    3. Marquis Gilstrap 6’6" Senior
    I know you’re all shocked at this , but I do expect Marquis to start from Day One. Not only because he’s a more mature senior, or because his skill set fits the teams needs so well, but because he has such a bountiful skill set in the first place. Penetrating, shooting, slashing, rebounding, even a little passing, he’s going to be an immense help to this team. People wonder if GMac can change his "system" to accommodate Harrison Barnes, he’ll have every opportunity (and incentive) to a year before Harrison would ever arrive.

    4. Justin Hamilton 6’11" Sophomore
    Justin Hamilton is raw as a basketball player, but I’m impressed with his collection of base skills and his work ethic. There are three things that I think will be crucial to his improvement in the off season, all involving his physical attributes. Bulk is good, but I think that Justin needs to improve his quickness and explosion, flexibility, and upper body strength, so that he can finish emphatically going to the hole. Game savvy will come with experience, but he needs to get in top basketball playing condition.

    Given his late arrival to the game, if Justin can come anywhere close to matching Cole Aldrich's frosh to soph improvement, I'll be ecstatic.

    5. Jamie Vanderbeken 6’11 Senior
    Like the last two on the list above him, Jamie’s time in the weight room in the off season will be crucial. I’m not saying that he’s going to have a starting role, but as a potential double digit scorer at 6’11", he has a lot of positive qualities to offer. Especially if he can add ten, fifteen or twenty pounds of muscle, and still run as well.

    6. Lucca Staiger 6’5" Junior
    Much like the last two, Lucca’s physical conditioning, along with improving his ballhandling, will be a rather immense key. Otherwise, with the addition of Gilstrap and Christopherson, he might find his minutes substantially diminished.

    7. Chris Colvin 6’2" Freshman
    Another guy that I’m not saying will start, but I really can’t see him not being in the playing rotation. I just don’t know how good he’ll be as a freshman. I do know that he can add a substantial degree of badly needed ballhandling, defense and penetration, but how soon that materializes is quite an issue—for all I know, he could star from Day One, or have a career track that matches Diante Garrett (worst case scenario). Somehow, given his intense level of prep competition, I think that Chris will demonstrate at least a slightly steeper learning curve.

    8. Scott Christopherson 6’3" Sophomore
    I don’t really know how to put my finger on Scott’s skills. I want to say either that he’ll be a new and improved version of Brian Petersen, or that he’s everything Wes Eikmeier is supposed to one day be—a scrappy, hustling gym rat who can shoot. Only with the benefit of physical maturity. In either case, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Scott plays an important role for the ’09-10 Cyclones.

    9. L.A. Pomlee 6’8" Fr.
    Yes, I know that L.A. is a green bundle of athleticism. I don’t know, honestly, whether he’ll be in the rotation a year from now, especially if CB returns for his swan song. However, I do think that L.A. will represent a huge asset that the Cyclones don’t have right now…help for Craig inside when the Cyclones face teams with big, athletic forwards—like Missouri. The good thing for L.A. is that if he is pushed into a starting role, at least with Gilstrap’s arrival and Hamilton’s continued improvement, he wouldn’t be pressured to be an offensive focal point, and could concentrate on defense and rebounding—he could offer an awful lot of energy inside. And however long (or short) his apprenticeship, I think that we’re all going to be very glad that L.A. Pomlee is a Cyclone—and I mean that not only if brother Tavian signs with his brother’s team.

    10. Charles Boozer 6’3" Junior
    I’ve watched Carlos Boozer, over the past several games, grow by leaps and bounds, so much so that I can hardly recognize the same player from his freshman year. Oh, I mean that the splash-the-bottom-of-the-net shooter is still there, somewhere, but hard work and defense has now become his primary focus. I like that, and I expect to see Charles on the floor a lot next year. Indeed, I start to wonder just where hard work and the future is going to take him, what his ceiling might truly be.

    11. Dominique Buckley 6’2" Soph
    I know the staff likes Buckley because, even though he might not be explosively quick, he’s still a smooth point guard with all of the requisite skills. He’s begun to get minutes, the schedule says that he’ll make adjustments to the speed of the Big XII game, and be an effective player next season.

    12. Wes Eikmeier 6’3" Soph
    It’s become obvious that, much like Diante Garrett a year ago, Wes Eikmeier needed a redshirt year. Perhaps he still does, and that’s my guess, that with a welter of candidates on the wing next year he’ll spend it redshirting. Unless, of course, he proves to be a miracle worker in the weight room, and comes into fall drills as Jeff Hornacek revisited. At this point, I really don’t have an answer.

    13. Clinton Mann 6’6" Soph
    I don’t have a crystal ball, but I see one future for Clinton, with L.A. available—a redshirt of his own. If he has the physical attributes, his skills are going to need time, even if he one day matures into a defensive stopper on the wing. Of course, for all I know, that could be next season in any case.

    By Position

    Two Guard
    I’m listing this one first, because to me it offers such a kaleidoscope of possibilities. After all, there’ll be a five hundred pound gorilla occupying the other wing spot, leaving everyone to fight over leftover minutes. One candidate will be Lucca Staiger, bounced out of that ostensible "three" slot by said gorilla. On the other hand, with ballhandling and penetration at a premium, Lucca will have to step up his game big time, and I’m not sure that he’s going to be able to—at least, not enough to start. Though there’s always a role for a shooter.

    No, my first candidate would be Scott Christopherson, just because I expect him to add a lot of heart, hustle, and scrappiness, let alone shooting, ballhandling and passing. This is my candidate to lead the team in floor burns. He may not play forty minutes a game, but I don’t think he’ll have too—there are plenty of others clamoring for playing time.

    The other major contender among returnees (to me) would be Charles Boozer, whom I’ve been gratified to watch begin to blossom from a one dimensional shooter-wannabe to much more of an all around player, with hustle, hard work, and defense—and he’s starting to show his stroke as well. I think that in the end, the major minutes will come down to Christopherson and Boozer, but at this stage, that’s really no more than a feeling, even a W.A.G.

    The wild card in the equation, of course, is incoming frosh Chris Colvin, who, with a point guard already established and blossoming, may steal some of the minutes on the wing. After all, that would allow him to utilize his explosiveness, ballhandling and passing abilities without the pressure of being the primary ballhandler right off the bat. Indeed, it certainly appears that he has the requisite athleticism and skills for a dual point guard system on a running, explosive team.

    And yes, in case you haven’t noticed, all of the above would seem to be bad news for Wes Eikmeier, even considering the minutes available in relief at the three spot. Unless, of course, he happens to grow attached to PB&J sandwiches in the offseason.

    And in case anyone was wondering about any implied criticism of Lucca, if he does improve his ballhandling and penetration skills, he'll fend off all comers. A win-win scenario for the Cyclones.

    Wing (Three)
    Just in case I raised any questions in your minds, I’ll answer them here. Yes, I think that Marquis Gilstrap will prove to be the proverbial five hundred pound gorilla, like CB this season, he plays as much as he wants, and his foul situation dictates. And not just a shooter and slasher, Marquis can pass and attack the boards as well. Oh, I don’t necessarily expect him to go thirty-nine minutes a game, as Diante and Craig have all too often, but even a reasonable relief isn’t going to give Lucca (or any other wing) all that much time on the court. And thus the jumble at the Two spot. But still, isn’t depth a wonderful thing?

    Power Forward (Four)
    Assuming he’s here, this position belongs to Craig, another Five Hundred Pound Gorilla. Now that I think of it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see sets against some teams where Craig is the effective "center", with Marquis at the Four. But that’s sheer guesswork. Again, if he’s around, I would expect Craig to average twenty ppg and double digits rebounding, even if he has help sharing the load—because there will be that many more opportunities, and fewer defenders free to collapse on him.
    That said, if Craig does go pro (and thus Mac losing the best returning player on the team a fourth year in a row), it will leave the minutes to some combination of L.A. Pomlee and Jamie Vanderbeken—or else, the best player Mac can dredge up to sign after Craig announces come March. Not a good situation—unless Jamie and L.A. spend a lot of time in the weight room this offseason.

    Otherwise, those two players will soak up a handful of reserve minutes, and rotate in as well at the…

    Center (Five)
    To all intents an purposes, this slot could belong to Justin Hamilton. If he works hard, if he develops his situational awareness, if he’s a little stronger, a little quicker, a little more explosive—let alone confident. Those are all pretty big "ifs".
    I’d like to see them all answered emphatically, but my best guess at the moment would be Justin, Jamie and L.A. scrambling for some jumble of minutes. Which leaves us with the player who is fast becoming the third Five Hundred Pound Gorilla at…

    Point Guard
    I’ve watched with marvel as Diante Garrett has continued to improve, not only from last season, but as this season has progressed. He’s still learning to establish his will, in fits and starts, but I have no doubt that he will continue to grow in that area. My one hesitance about his game as a pure point guard was his vision, his ability to find slashing teammates rather than taking the ball to the rack every time himself, but that worry has been alleviated the past several games, as I’ve seen Diante make some remarkable passes.

    The last major remaining question mark is his outside shot, but if he makes strides with that and as he has the rest of his game this off season, while continuing to build strength, Diante is starting to look like a star in the making.

    When Chris Colvin signed, I thought the freshman might brush the upperclassman aside, or push him to the wing, but I no longer feel that to be the case—if anything, Diante will allow Chris a gentle transition to Big XII basketball. Chris, at the same time, will offer Diante another ballhandler against pressing teams. Along with Dominique Buckley, we should suddenly have effective depth in the backcourt—as well as everywhere else.
    I just wanted to quote this long-*** post


    Exaggeration is a BILLION times worse than understating.

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