Hoops Recruiting: Clyburn to visit, more nuggets

By Chris Williams, Publisher

Out of nowhere, it appears that the Iowa State men’s basketball program will have a fairly active spring recruiting period in 2011. This comes off the heels of Anthony Odunsi’s decision to request a release from his scholarship, which Iowa State granted him on Wednesday.

Where will Fred Hoiberg and his staff go from here? Here are some thoughts.

Will Clyburn to visit

Iowa State is on the transfer trail once again. This time, former Utah Ute Will Clyburn is the man in focus and sources tell me that he’ll be visiting Iowa State next weekend. As a junior, Clyburn averaged 17.8 points (third most in the Mountain West) and 7.8 rebounds per game. His former head coach, Jim Boylen, was fired on March 13 and because of that, Clyburn has elected to transfer.

You have to like Iowa State’s chances here. Iowa State associate head coach T.J. Otzelberger has had a relationship with Clyburn ever since he was a high school prospect in Romulus, Mich. Iowa State has recruited in Romulus before, as that’s where former Cyclone Dominique Buckley came from. Clyburn played JUCO basketball in Marshalltown, where he was a teammate to former Cyclone DeMarcus Phillips.

A source is also telling me that Clyburn’s phone has been ringing off the hook since he got his release from Utah. I’ve heard that nearly 20 BCS schools had contacted him as of Wednesday afternoon.

I realize that many fans are likely tired of Iowa State recruiting one-year transfers. To be honest, I kind of am too. But I think that in the case of Clyburn, he is too good to pass up, especially when you factor in the history between these two parties. Besides his impressive game, the best thing about this 6-foot-7, 200-pound wing is that he comes with virtually no baggage at all. There’s no need to worry about past legal problems, academics or anything else here. Clyburn simply wants to end up at a place where he is comfortable. That’s why I like Iowa State’s chances.

But who knows? Recruiting is a wild game. With a guy this talented, anything could happen.

What if?

Let’s get hypothetical for a minute. What if Clyburn does sign at Iowa State? If that turns out to be the case, here is a very early projected starting lineup for the 2012-13 squad. Note that the following roster only includes players that have signed with Iowa State.

G: Korie Lucious, Sr. G: Chris Babb, Sr. G/F: Will Clyburn, Sr. F: Melvin Ejim, Jr. F: Royce White, Jr.


G: Tyrus McGee, Sr. G: Tavon Sledge, So. G: Bubu Palo, Jr. (walk-on) F: Anthony Booker, Sr. F: Calvin Godfrey, Jr. C: Jordan Railey, Jr.

That is a pretty impressive compilation of talent. Obviously a lot can and will change between now and then and also, that is a VERY tentative starting lineup that could go in multiple directions. When you add McGee to the combination of Lucious, Babb and Clyburn, that backcourt could be scary good.

But wow, we are WAY ahead of ourselves here. Time to head back to reality.

The 2011 scholarship situation

With Odunsi and Elgin Cook never making it to Ames and the departure of Eric McKnight, Iowa State now has two scholarships available to use this spring. I anticipate both of them being used. As I stated above, I think that Clyburn will take one of them, where like Korie Lucious, he would be forced to sit out the 2011-12 season.

The other hot name that has been popping up all over the Internet over the past few weeks is Olu Ashaolu, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward who recently got his release from Louisiana Tech. Ashaolu will be able to play next season as a senior, as this is an identical situation to that of Jake Anderson a year ago.

Ashaolu is a legitimate prospect who would likely thrive at a place like Iowa State. He averaged 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game last season. But like Clyburn, he is a very hot commodity. I haven’t been able to track anybody in the Ashaolu camp down, but this will be a tough recruiting battle for Iowa State to win in my opinion.

Other nuggets

–       I’d love to see Iowa State land one of the prospects I mentioned above, along with a four-year guy who is worthy of a scholarship. The only problem to that is that finding low-baggage high school players during this time of year is sometimes a tough thing to do.

–       Remember that Fred Hoiberg still has to hire an assistant coach to replace Elwyn McCroy, who left the program just over a week ago. One would imagine that this will go down within the next week or two.

–       Back to Odunsi to wrap things up. I hated to see this kid go for numerous reasons. At 6-foot-3, 200-pounds, Odunsi’s body is Big 12 ready. He’s a smart kid who by all indications is a quality young man. I think that he would have meshed well with the infusion of transfers in the program. Odunsi’s reason for not attending Iowa State was that he didn’t feel he would get enough playing time as a freshman. Iowa State recruited Sledge, McGee and Lucious after Odunsi committed.