Cyclone Roundup: 4-21

By Chris Williams, Publisher
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisMWilliams

Other than a major story regarding Bill Fennelly, it has been somewhat of a quiet Thursday here at Here is your roundup for April 21, 2011.

FENNELLY HONORED: A guy who has done just about everything that there is to do in the sport, Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly, is about to add something else to his extensive resume. It was announce on Thursday afternoon that Fennelly will be the head coach at the USA World University Games that will be held Aug. 14-21 in China. will be catching up with Fennelly here over the next few weeks to discuss this honor. We’ve copy/pasted Iowa State’s press release on this story below.

— COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Iowa State women’s basketball head coach Bill Fennelly has been named head coach of the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team. Fennelly, a three-time gold medal winner as a USA assistant coach, will be assisted by Suzie McConnell-Serio (Duquesne University) and Terri Williams-Flournoy (Georgetown University) at the competition, which is held Aug. 14-21 in Shenzhen, China.

“Being named a head coach by USA Basketball is one of the greatest honors of my professional life,” Fennelly said. “I am humbled and thankful that USA Basketball has given me this opportunity.

“I know we will have a great staff with Suzie and Terri,” Fennelly added. “I think they are two of the best young coaches in the country, and they are even better people.”

Fennelly previously helped the USA to a gold medal and an 8-1 record at the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championships in Thailand; a gold medal and a 5-0 record in the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Argentina; and a gold medal and 3-1 record with the South Team in the 1994 U.S. Olympic Festival. Overall he owns a 16-2 record with USA Basketball.

The coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

“All three coaches have had success on the basketball court, and the committee feels their combined experience will be a tremendous asset to this team and its players,” said Sue Donohoe, NCAA Vice President for Division I women’s basketball and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee.

Fennelly and the staff will hold trials to select the official, 12-member USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team May 22-25 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Following the selection of the team and/or finalists on May 25, the athletes and coaches will return home. Training will resume at the U.S. Olympic Training Center July 31-Aug. 8, prior to the team’s departure for Shenzhen, China and the 2011 World University Games.

The World University Games are held every other year and are organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The games are a multi-sport competition open to women who are currently enrolled in college and have remaining eligibility in 2011-12 or beyond.

USA Basketball women’s teams have participated in 15 World University Games and collected a record seven gold medals, six silvers and one bronze medal. —

OKORO LANDS PITT OFFER: In one quick men’s basketball recruiting update, Pittsburgh offered 2012 St. Raymond’s (New York) prospect Nkereuwem Okoro yesterday. That is according to numerous Internet reports. While this certainly doesn’t enhance Iowa State’s chances to land Okoro, it doesn’t demolish them either. Okoro’s long standing relationship with new Iowa State assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih means a lot and he has consistently listed the Cyclones as his number one choice for months. I still view Iowa State as the leader. I last spoke to Okoro on Sunday. I’ll give him another week to call again for my next update as he is no doubt one of Iowa State’s top recruiting targets at this time. 

FINALLY OFFICIAL: Iowa State sent out the release yesterday stating that Abdelmassih and former Dayton assistant Cornell Mann are now officially on Fred Hoiberg’s coaching staff. In the release, Hoiberg referred to Mann as a "home run hire." In THIS PIECE written by the Des Moines Register’s Randy Peterson, Hoiberg says that Mann is "big time."

Tell us what you really think Mayor.

I love the shape of this new staff. From what I’m hearing, associate head coach T.J. Otzelberger is going to be taking on more of a coaching role than he has seen in the past. I’m sure that Otz will still be out recruiting, but this is an opportunity for him to expand his coaching resume.

I mentioned this in yesterday’s blog but I really believe that Abdelmassih will be a shark on the recruiting trail. Abdelmassih is a grinder. That’s what it takes to be successful in the role he is in. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll get the job done.

As for Cornell Mann, I’ve never met him. I look forward to doing so soon. But when his boss throws out words like "home run" and "big time" to describe him, that’s good enough for me at this point.

CYCLONE GRIDIRON CLUB MEETING: Tron Smith (from Wilson Toyota) and I had the opportunity to meet with a few members of the Cyclone Gridiron Club earlier today. I’m excited about the relationship that our site plans on having with these great people going forward. While I’m so proud of what those men and women have accomplished over the years, I am also somewhat disturbed. These folks volunteer so much of their time and put forth so much effort on an annual basis, yet, the club’s membership is still below 500 people. This makes no sense to me.

Iowa State is a Big 12 program. It needs to be funded with Big 12 money. Over the next few months, you’re going to see a major push from Tron Smith and me to get the Gridiron Club over 1,000 members by kickoff 2011. Stay tuned.


Ames Tribune sports editor Bobby La Gesse caught up with Abdelmassih and Mann, who are both already out on the road recruiting for Iowa State.

A closer look at Cornell Mann out of the state of Michigan.

– More on Jake Knott’s injury…This story comes from Big 12 blogger David Ubben. This is a similar piece to what the Des Moines Register’s Andrew Logue published yesterday, but still some nice national ink for the program.

More tidbits from Ubben in his Iowa State spring recap at

– Austen Arnaud and I recorded our spring wrap-up podcast earlier today. Can’t get enough Cyclone football talk? Check out this week’s podcast by CLICKING HERE.

– The Austin American Statesman reports that Texas big man Tristan Thompson is going pro. Now, the Jordan Hamilton watch begins. STORY HERE.

– Colorado isn’t in the Big 12 anymore, but this guy did play against Iowa State for two seasons. Alec Burks is heading to the NBA. women’s college basketball guru Charlie Creme takes a very early look at his preseason top 25 poll for next year. Iowa State is not included in it.