Three Thoughts on Thursday: What the McKay commitment means

Analyzing McKay’s commitment

Iowa State’s 2013-14 basketball season hasn’t even started yet and here I am on Nov. 7, 2013, shamelessly hyping 2014-15.

What in the name of Troy Davis is wrong with me? (Please be gentle when you answer that.)

The timing of Jameel McKay’s recent pledge to the Cyclones could not have been better. When I write that Iowa State fans have received a lot of bad news lately, that is an understatement. Over the last six months, the sporting gods have delivered one kick to the onions after another to this fine group of Fanatics.

I have been in the Cyclone/Internet game for a while now and I have noticed a significant trend over the years. Recruiting commitment stories are our most read pieces. That’s because unless your team is winning a national title in this very season, your team can always do better. The dream, or carrot, is always hanging out there and begging to be chased. Fans LOVE talking about the future because the future is always going to be brighter than the past or present, right?

That certainly isn’t always the case but when it comes to Fred Hoiberg’s budding basketball program, I sure wouldn’t bet against it.

At the end of this season, Iowa State will lose perhaps its two best players off of this year’s team (Georges Niang might have an argument here – talk to me in three months), DeAndre Kane and Melvin Ejim. That is significant. But if you dig deep into our cool scholarship chart here at, you can see that the pieces are clearly in place for Iowa State to not only be competitive next year, but be really, really good and likely be a factor in the Big 12’s championship race.

Of course, that all depends on the development of Hoiberg’s current roster. 

True freshman point guard Monte Morris needs to show the ability to take over and be “the man” during his sophomore campaign. Matt Thomas needs to be the guy we have all heard about for a year and a half. Niang needs to develop into one of the Big 12’s elite players. 

If all of that goes down the way we all hope that it does, take a look at my extremely unofficial starting lineup for the tip-off of the 2014-15 Big 12 season. 

PG: Monte Morris, So.
SG: Matt Thomas, So.
SF: Abdel Nader, Jr. (or Dustin Hogue, Sr.)
PF: Jameel McKay, Jr.
C: Georges Niang, Jr.

That is a pretty impressive group of individuals with who should be seasoned veterans like Naz Long, Percy Gibson and K.J. Bluford (to name a few) coming off of the bench.

I know, I know. Let’s back the truck up. Let’s slow everything down and enjoy the upcoming season before we wish away the present day. I understand.

But having said that, the McKay commitment could not have come at a better time for a fan base that needed a dose of good news. 

And last but certainly not least; I can’t imagine that the McKay commitment did anything but help Iowa State’s chances with 2014 target Rashad Vaughn. Vaughn, who ranks as the seventh best player in the class of 2014, undoubtedly wants to win. Add him to the lineup that listed above and winning is exactly what that group would do.

A crumbling program…

So about my July pick of TCU winning the Big 12 in 2013…

I’ve been wrong about a lot of crap in my life but this has to be the worst “prediction” I have ever made. Ever!

However in my defense, had you told me about the total depletion of Gary Patterson’s roster that was about to go down, I would have obviously never made gone that route. But it did, and now I look like an idiot (shocking right?).  

Moving on…

Injuries have been the talk of the town all season long in Ames but TCU won’t exactly be at full strength on Saturday either. That is a good for an 1-7 Iowa State team.

TCU’s struggles all started before the season began when Patterson lost a couple of starters, a linebacker and an offensive lineman, who quit the team. Then, the Big 12’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Devonte Fields was lost for the season. Then, the Big 12’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Casey Pachall broke his arm (he’s back and will start against Iowa State).

Elsewhere, TCU could be down a cornerback, two running backs and a wide receiver (among others) this weekend when the Horned Frogs take on the Cyclones.

“Like us a little bit, probably they are a cornered, injured animal,” Paul Rhoads said about TCU in his Monday press conference. “They are going to be awfully hungry for victory. They are going to sense blood in the water and go after it.”

The wounded animal quote is accurate. The “sense blood in the water” stuff is coach-speak. After all, if Iowa State somehow wins on Saturday, TCU will have suffered through its worst football season in 16 years (yeah, that’s right). I just can’t imagine this TCU team being too jacked up about an 11:00 a.m. kick in Ames, Iowa on Saturday, but what do I know? 

Instead of focusing on Iowa State, TCU head coach Gary Patterson has been answering questions about the downfall of his once proud football program all week long.

Based off of how Iowa State has played over the last month, it’s impossible to be confident about Saturday. But Google "TCU football" and you won’t find a single positive story right now. This program is down in the dumps. 

It might be ugly, but unlike the last three outings for the Cyclones, Saturday should be a competitive football game.

Which hoops game to watch on opening night?

Here’s an odd one for you. I’m going to have my eyeballs glued to Georgetown vs. Oregon on college basketball’s opening night, which happens to be this Friday. 


Well for one, I’m an Allen Iverson guy. But secondly (and most relevant to you), Oregon has two Iowa State ties that have piqued my interest. 

Of course, you remember Richard Amardi? He is the former Indian Hills Community College big man who actually signed with Iowa State last fall, only to lose his scholarship when DeAndre Kane became available in the spring.

But the guy who you might not know plays for Dana Altman is former Cyclone commitment Elgin Cook. Cook, originally from Milwaukee, committed to Greg McDermott during his high school days but ended up going the JUCO route. Now, he is in Eugene, with Amardi.

Most of you probably don’t care but to us hoops junkies, a chance to watch two “could have been Clones” play for the same team on opening night is a real thrill (okay – thrill is too strong of a word – it is something to do). 


That our U.S. Cellular/Cyclone Fanatic Radio Show from BenchWarmers in Ankeny will start at 6 p.m. on 1460 KXNO from here on out. Of course, we will have the podcast posted shortly after the conclusion of tonight’s program. If you’ve never come out to a show, tonight’s college football slate gives you as good of a reason as ever to hang out.