Hi all, thanks for looking. This is a long worded and probably difficult to follow rambling of my tied together thoughts over a few flights across SE Asia and a few drinks (which you need following flights across SE Asia! [Side note - I hear you guys like cheap, high-quality jerseys..]) I'm an Iowa Stater for life. I'll always support the University first, and it's important to remember that during times like this. Loyal son forever true, here! I wanna start off by saying Fred completely destroyed my ISU basketball dreams by leaving, but from his point of view, I can see why going would make sense. All things considered, $25M is total "F*** You" Money. Not that he'd have to worry about his financial future with the contract he had signed this past year, but the top league in the world for professional basketball comes calling and offers you a contract that'll make you one of the highest paid coaches in history, I'd probably decide to leave Ames too. A lot of people were acting like he'd never been out into the rest of the wide world before. C'mon, the guy was in the NBA for 10 years. He's been around. He's not small town Fred anymore, no matter how much he wanted to keep up that perception. Really upset with how it all played out, but nothing I can do to convince him to stay. The coach to follow Hoiberg was always going to have a nearly impossible task at hand. Think about it. He was either going to leave us with championships and an elevated status among college basketball elites, or was going to be a miserable failure and we'd be even further along the dreadful timeline of the post Natty Light era. Just so happens that he left us in a better place but not quite to the heights we all hoped we'd be at. The preseason top 10 team without a coach is likely going to pull it together and (we hope!) be more bound and determined than ever to take the world by storm and show everyone that it's the TEAM that wins championships. That a winning program is never just a coach or one player or simply the university on the jersey. From a standpoint that maybe Fred's mind would be always on the NBA in some fashion or another, perhaps it's just as well that he's gone and our next coach will be totally focused on pushing one of the most talented teams in all of college basketball to the top. I never thought I'd be typing the words I'm glad he's gone so we can move forward, but that's what it has come to. Roster status after this upcoming season leaves a lot to be desired. This is due mostly to the (in my opinion) poor recruiting strategy that the staff chose to take following the departure of Coach Otz to Washington. I think Matt Abdelmassih must have convinced Fred that going after a couple top players in the class and focusing efforts on them would pay off, but I don't think we had quite attained the status that we needed in order to start pulling the 5* talent to Ames. After Otz left, we didn't key in on the same talent that got us to where we are today. We've relied on a couple key players and top transfers to get us here and while I never used to consider the lack of HS recruits a problem, it's pretty obvious that it's going to be a problem for us now. Coach Mann was on some talent from Michigan through all of this, but even then, they are top players and always had offers from the Michigan schools (nearly impossible to beat) and others like L'ville and UNC. Morris is likely to bolt after next season for the draft barring either a terrible season or the announcement that he'll serve as player/coach for the next two years. That leaves Deonte Burton and Matt Thomas as returning seniors. Can you imagine if someone like Hornacek is our next coach, the amount of time that Matt Thomas will have spent with the most elite shooters ever by the time he leaves ISU? I hope that Matt can get it together and prove that he CAN live up to the Ice Man legend that has been expected of him since his arrival in Ames. Burton obviously doesn't have many options so unless he's an All American, he'll be back for 16-17 also. It's a good base to start with, but we are going to need to add some pieces so as to not fall back down the ladder too far. Cooke, the Greek? Tough to say exactly, but you'd expect that Hallice will stick around and be a player assuming that his repaired hips are good to go. Can't really expect much from Tsalmpouris, just have to hope that cheeseburgers and the American college lifestyle are enough to draw him back from Greece. It's too early to put much judgement on him I think. Probably a lot of programs would have RS'd him this past season. That leaves the Nicks. Otz obviously had a hand in the recruitment (both times) of Noskowiak. Babb seems to be a decent player, but I'm not sure that he'll be quite the clutch guy that his brother was. Hope he has as much heart as Chris did though. Looking that over once more is really sort of depressing. We struck out MAJORLY with our prep recruiting and didn't get the impact transfer that can really make us the monster team for this upcoming season. Which is again, why the next coach for the Cyclones is going to have it that much more difficult. I think the fan base will rally around the team and the new coach. As much as Fred gets credit for bringing the magic back to Hilton, I think we always sell ourselves as fans short. We know we get loud and rowdy, but if you go back and watch the OU game in Hilton from this past season you can really sense that the crowd totally poured itself into the players during that 2nd half. (Thanks floor slappers!) In all, we have a solid program for the next season but it's going to be an extremely challenging job for someone to step into. I know the media both local and nationally has talked about what an attractive position it is to step into, but outside of this upcoming season, I disagree. We've still got major disadvantages when it comes to our geography and finances etc.. I think it's clear with our lack of success in big time recruiting that we need to have sustained success to an even higher degree before those disadvantages are outweighed. Plus, the next coach is going to be compared to Fred in every facet. We spent all of last season in the top 25 for the first time ever. We just completed a 2nd straight Big XII Tourney run and we all expect a look at rounds past the Sweet Sixteen next year. Can you imagine walking into that pressure? I hope ISU can get a coach that will take the momentum from last season and drive hard this year into next with the passion that we all have. I do sincerely think that becoming an elite level program is within reach, but will likely take a little longer to achieve because of this setback. The reality is, Fred has setup the next coach to become a true Mayor in their own right: by having to earn the trust and votes of confidence by their performance. They won't be simply granted the title because of their hometown golden boy back story.