Basketball Blog: 2011 and beyond

By Chris Williams, Publisher

On Monday, Tavon Sledge committed to Iowa State and with that, the 2011 Cyclone recruiting class should pretty much be complete. That is unless the program experiences a massive amount of attrition over the course of next season, which seems unlikely when taking a close look at the roster.

Sledge is only 5-foot-9 but I’m of the opinion that he wouldn’t have gotten offers from Bob Huggins, Tim Floyd and Steve Lavin if he can’t play a little round ball. For the record, I have never seen him play in person.

My favorite thing about Iowa State’s 2011 class is the fact that it is loaded with guards in Sledge, Tyrus McGee and Anthony Odunsi. The 2010 class was more frontcourt oriented.

I’ve seen Odunsi play in person. He’s not a strong offensive player but can be a lockdown defender at the next level. The best comparison I can make for Odunsi is current Cyclone, Melvin Ejim. No, their games aren’t the similar (they play different positions) but everything else is. They are two of the smartest prospects I have ever interviewed and most importantly, both of their bodies are Big 12-ready right now. The fact that Hoiberg and his staff won’t have to wait two years for these two to develop physically is a major plus.

The same can be said with Tyrus McGee, who will likely be Iowa State’s starting point guard when the 2011 season rolls around. I know, I know. That’s a long ways away but yes, I am already thinking and writing about it. That’s one of the perks of running a website with the word “fanatic” in its title.

Sledge will be in a good position when he gets to town because of McGee. With his size, Sledge really can’t play anything other than point guard. He’s not going to have to step in and start in the Big 12 from day one. McGee will take a lot of pressure off of him and Iowa State will be able to use the New York native in spots that will make him successful at first. By the time years three and four roll around for Sledge, he could be one of the most exciting guards in the league.

Don’t sleep on Elgin Cook either. This 6-foot-5, Milwaukee Hamilton small forward is the 78th ranked prospect in America according to ESPN’s latest rankings.

Here is my estimated, way too early look at what the 2011 Cyclones could look like.


PG: Tyrus McGee (Cowley County C.C. G in 2010, originally committed to Tulsa out of high school)

SG: Chris Allen (averaged 8.4 PPG for Michigan State last season)

SF: Melvin Ejim (the 2010 Gatorade New Hampshire Player of the Year)

PF: Royce White (’s19th ranked prospect in the class of 2009)

C: Anthony Booker (’s43rd ranked prospect in the class of 2008)


R: Chris Babb, G (Started 23 games for Penn State last season. 3-star prospect out of high school in 2008 class)

R: Scott Christopherson, G (Averaged 7.9 points and made 45 3-pointers for ISU last season)

R: Tavon Sledge, G ( ranks him as a 3-star prospect in 2011)

R: Anthony Odunsi, G (Chose Iowa State over an offer from Vanderbilt)

R: DeMarcus Phillips, G (the 2008 Wisconsin high school player of the year)

R: Elgin Cook, F (’s 78th best prospect in 2011 class)

R: Calvin Godfrey, F (Godfrey’s 230-pound frame should make an immediate impact at Iowa State)

R: Eric McKnight, F (’s 41st best power forward in 2010 class)

R: Jordan Railey, C (Chose ISU over a handful of west coach mid-major schools)

Keep a couple of things in mind when looking at that lineup above.

1) That is my standard lineup for that roster. I also think that the staff could elect to go small in certain situations where I’d project a lineup of: McGee, Allen, Babb, Ejim and White.

2) Obviously, that group up above accounts for 14 players. That is not possible, as per NCAA rules, you can only have 13 scholarship players in a program at one time. The first thing I’d say to fans worrying about that situation is to relax. Big 12 basketball coaches get paid a lot of money to do their job and they know how to count to 13. They know a lot more than we do. It will work itself out. The second thing I’d say is that I love the fact that Hoiberg went out and got an “extra” player. I’ve covered Iowa State basketball since 2003 and I have a hard time thinking of a year where at least a little bit of attrition didn’t occur. Is Hoiberg being proactive? That’s what it looks like to me. That or he might know something already.


–       According to my calculations, Iowa State currently has two scholarships to give in the 2012 recruiting class. Obviously, this is very unofficial as things change very quickly in college basketball.

–       Minnesota guard prospect Joe Coleman has committed to the Gophers. Coleman visited Iowa State earlier this year.

–       Remember the name Chris Colvin? This is old news now but in case you missed it, the former Cyclone guard will be playing ball at Palm Beach Community College this winter. That’s a sad deal. Colvin is crazy-talented. Hopefully a year it the JUCO ranks will get him ready for the show once again.

–       I just bought Athlon’s annual college basketball preview last week. I’m about halfway through it at this point. As you’d expect, the publication picks Iowa State to finish last in the Big 12. I can’t really argue with that.

–       Colorado’s basketball team intrigues me for the upcoming season. The Buffs have both Alec Burks and Cory Higgins coming back but new coach Tad Boyle will need to get his feet wet at a high-major level. Athlon picks Colorado to place sixth in the Big 12.