The last 10 years have produced some up and down moments for the Iowa State men’s basketball program. From Larry Eustachy to Greg McDermott, the decade brought Iowa State basketball fans some incredible victories, and some crushing defeats.
It’s now time for me to unveil my all-decade team, for Iowa State men’s basketball. Here were the rules that I slapped down before creating the roster.
1 – The 1999-2000 Cyclones were not eligible, including Marcus Fizer. Those Cyclones only played for Iowa State over the course of a few months in the decade.
2 – The criteria is simple. Who were the best players? This is not a popularity contest. It’s fielding the best team, by position for Iowa State over the past 10 years.
The Starting Lineup 1 – Jamaal Tinsley – Tinsley is one of three Cyclones in history to record a triple-double. His came on Jan. 8, 2000 against Missouri. Tinsley averaged 14.3 points per game during the 2000/2001 campaign while earning All-Big 12 and All-American honors as well from numerous publications. Tinsley averaged 2.60 steals a game in 00-01, a number that is best in Iowa State history. His 98 steals in 2000 rank first all-time as well.
Why a starter? – Is there really anything to debate here? The 2001 Big 12 Player of the Year and first-team All-American goes down as one of the best in Iowa State history.
2 – Curtis Stinson – Along with Tinsley, Stinson is one of three Cyclones in history to record a triple-double. Stinson’s was on Feb. 5, 2006 against Colorado. Stinson led Iowa State in scoring for three seasons in a row (2004-2006). Stinson is ranked sixth all-time in career assists at Iowa State with 448. Stinson is fourth all-time in steals at Iowa State with 200.
Why a starter? Because Stinson didn’t have any fear. In 2005, Stinson’s Iowa State team started off 0-5 in Big 12 Conference play. The 2005 Cyclones taught the program how to win on the road again with upsets over second-ranked Kansas and 20th ranked Texas. Those conference road victories (which Iowa State hadn’t experienced in over three years) eventually placed the Cyclones in the NCAA Tournament. In this poll, swagger counts. That places Stinson in my starting five.
3 – Wesley Johnson – This won’t be a popular pick, but think about it. During the 2000’s, Wesley Johnson was Iowa State’s best small forward. Johnson averaged 12.3 points a game during his two seasons as a Cyclone while grabbing 6.1 rebounds per contest as well.
Why a starter? Two words…raw talent. His separation with the Cyclone program was messy to say the least, but it is impossible to argue against Wes Johnson, the basketball player. NBADraft.net currently lists Johnson as the third pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
4 – Craig Brackins – One of the most gifted players in Iowa State history. Brackins averaged 20.2 points a game as a sophomore (08-09). His 42-point performance in a loss to Kansas was a coming out party nationally. Brackins decided to pass on the NBA for another year in Ames. Watch and see how that plays out for the possible lottery pick.
Why a starter? – Brackins is a 6-foot-11 player who can do it all. NBADraft.net lists Brackins as the 16th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. His 42-point performance against the Jayhawks and 38-point night against Houston are two of the top 15 scoring games in Iowa State history.
5 – Jared Homan – Averaged 9.0 points per game in his career, while scoring 13.6 a game during his senior season (04-05). Homan started 97 games during his four years at Iowa State. Homan’s 225 career blocked shots are the most in Cyclone basketball history. Homan holds three of the top five spots for blocks in a season at Iowa State. Kelvin Cato’s 118 in 1997 may never be touched.
Why a starter? – Because Homan gave his basketball teams attitude. Homan, a small-town boy out of Remsen, refused to back down from anybody and his teams seemed to adopt that mentality. Since Homan’s departure, Iowa State’s basketball program has struggled to fill that void.
Sixth-man – Jake Sullivan – Sullivan started 115 games in his four-year Cyclone career. Jake averaged 14.7 points per game over the course of those four seasons. His best scoring year was as a junior, when he averaged 17 points a game. Sullivan was best known for his ability to shoot the 3-point shot. He was a career .424 3-point shooter, hitting 270 shots from behind the arc. That’s the best career 3-point percentage in Iowa State history. Sullivan is seventh on Iowa State’s all-time scoring list, recording 1,810 points in four years.
Kantrail Horton – Averaged 10.7 points and 5.4 rebounds during the 00-01 season. Started all 66 games during the course of his two-year Iowa State career. Horton holds an Iowa State record for most minutes played in a game (53), against Missouri on Jan. 13, 2001.
Jackson Vroman – Averaged 13.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during his two seasons in Ames. Vroman was the 31st overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.
Tyray Pearson – Pearson led Iowa State in scoring during the 2002 season at 18.7 points per game.
Will Blalock – Averaged 15.4 points per game during the 05-06 season and 11.6 points per game over the span of his three-year career in Ames. Blalock recorded 464 assists. That number ranks Blalock fifth all-time in school history. Blalock is sixth all-time in steals at Iowa State, with 177.
Honorable Mention – Rahshon Clark, Paul Shirley and Mike Taylor.