Williams Blog: Depth an issue, no panic in Ames

By Chris Williams

Two months ago, depth was the last thing that I imagined the Iowa State men’s basketball team would be concerned about in mid-January. I actually would have guessed that finding playing time for certain qualified Cyclones would have been the problem.

That is now not the case.

Let’s review what has gone down over the past few weeks.

Jamie Vanderbeken has gotten dinged up in about every way possible since the summer. The team is now attempting to get him a medical red-shirt.

L.A. Pomlee was recently dismissed from the team.

Chris Colvin was suspended until February.

Finally, on Saturday, we learned that Charles Boozer would miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL.

So that means that the Cyclones will have only eight active scholarship players until Colvin comes back.

So now the question is, are eight players enough for Iowa State during the thick of the Big 12 season? With the recent roster happenings, is there a chance that Colvin’s suspension will be lifted? According to Greg McDermott, the answer is no.

“I said one game not one month didn’t I,” McDermott joked with reporters. “No, I didn’t. Obviously, we would love to have Chris right now but that takes precedence, like I said when I first announced his suspension. Winning games isn’t as important as getting him straightened out. So far, he has been fabulous. His actions on the bench, his interactions with his teammates, his attitude and approach in practice. It is almost as if there has been the weight of the world lifted off of his shoulders. He wasn’t handling the pressure of having to play very well. He didn’t know how to express himself when adversity struck him. Hopefully, this will be a growing experience for him. It has been so far and I’d like to see it continue.”

What other options does Iowa State have? Not many. Antwon Oliver was my first thought but McDermott told reporters that the Wisconsin native isn’t ready to have his red-shirt pulled.

“He is not ready to play right now both physically and mentally,” McDermott said. “When you’re red-shirted, you are in a little bit different world. Your goals are different and your preparation is different on a daily basis. We can get by with these guys it is just that our margin for error is a little bit slim right now.”

Is former Ames High point guard Bubu Palo an option? Not from what I have heard.

The Cyclones will have to go with eight for a while. That’s no reason to panic either.

I like this call by McDermott, especially if none of your red-shirts are close to being ready for Big 12 competition. That’s the thing. It’s not like you’re burning a shirt to come out and get reps against Tennessee State.

Iowa State has a solid eight to play and the best part is that none of these guys foul a lot. Having said that, Chris Colvin’s presence would be awfully handy right now. Diante Garrett has played 37 minutes in each of Iowa State’s last two games.

Boozer still weighing options

We know that Charles Boozer will not play again for Iowa State this season with a torn ACL. Where he’ll go from here as far as treatment is still a mystery.

“We have to wait for the swelling to subside before surgery," McDermott said. "He and his family are talking. Obviously with his brother’s situation, they have access to some of the best doctors in the United States. Whether they choose to do that or use our medical staff who I think does a terrific job, is a decision that the family will make and that is something that they are discussing right now.”