By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
College basketball is a guard’s game. It’s a good thing that Fred Hoiberg is loading up on them in Iowa State’s 2011 recruiting class. For the second week in a row, Hoiberg has added a point guard to his arsenal.
Glen Head, New York’s Tavon Sledge took his official visit to Iowa State last weekend and he has verbally committed to Hoiberg and the Cyclones.
“Coach Hoiberg is the primary reason that he is coming to Ames,” said Mike Moore, Sledge’s AAU coach (Odom/Rich Soil). “Sending a kid to Iowa State and knowing that this kid is going to be involved with Fred is a no-brainer. It wasn’t even close. It wasn’t going to happen any other way.”
It wasn’t Hoiberg’s NBA history that lured Sledge to commit to Iowa State. It was all about Hoiberg’s reputation of being a high character human being.
“When a kid is being recruited and when you are involved in that kid’s life, you want to make sure that the kid is going to a program that from the top, has integrity,” Moore said. “It is about honesty, character and all of the things that we try to do with our own children.”
Of course, Hoiberg’s NBA background didn’t hurt in this instance either.
“Him being and NBA player and being in a front office was just a bonus,” Sledge told CycloneFanatic.com. “I love playing basketball. Just knowing that he is my coach and that he can help me get better is a great opportunity.”
Hoiberg and assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger were both primary recruiters of Sledge.
Don’t tell him he’s too small
According to most recruiting services, Sledge is only 5-foot-9. He’s actually grown up to 5-foot-10 though according to Coach Moore.
“We’re hoping that he is in the middle of a growth spurt,” Moore said. “They call him a 6-foot-4 guard stuck in a 5-foot-10 body. That’s what they say here in New York. He plays bigger than his size. He brings so much to the table on both ends of the court. His size has never been an issue.”
Sledge has used that “you’re too small” criticism as a chip on his shoulder for years. Work ethic is why Sledge will play in the Big 12 in 2011.
“Most people think that height is all that you need to be a successful basketball player,” Sledge said. “I believe that heart plays a big part in the sport. That’s all that you really need as a player. No matter how tall you are, if you are working hard, you will get better every day. It doesn’t matter how tall you are.”
According to his Rivals.com profile, Sledge chose Iowa State over St. John’s, UTEP and West Virginia.
With his commitment, Sledge joins three other members in Iowa State’s recruiting class of 2011 that is listed below.
Tyrus McGee – 6-foot-2 combo-guard out of Cowley County C.C.
Elgin Cook – 6-foot-5 forward out of Milwaukee Hamilton
Anthony Odunsi – 6-foot-3 guard out of Travis High in Fort Bend, Texas