A conversation with: Clayton Custer

Iowa State basketball signee Clayton Custer recently wrapped up his high school career by winning his second state championship at Blue Valley Northwest in Overland Park, Kan. The future Cyclone point guard’s overall win/loss record tells you all that you need to know about his historic high school career. Custer, a 6-foot-1 sharpshooter (averaged 19.1 points per game as a senior) went 94-6 during his four years of prep ball. Custer scored 1,795 points, dished out 368 assists and recorded 208 steals in his 100 varsity games at Blue Valley Northwest. Those are all school records.

Not bad.

Custer, who was recently named the Kansas City Star’s Metro Player of the Year, will arrive in Ames in a few months to launch his career as a Cyclone in the Big 12 Conference. He plans on participating in this summer’s YMCA Capital City League in West Des Moines and is itching to put on a Cardinal and Gold uniform for the first time.

We recently caught up with the future Cyclone for this comprehensive Q&A that touches on everything from his high school career, Custer’s role on next year’s team and thoughts on Fred Hoiberg’s dancing. 


CF: You went 94-6 during your four years of playing high school basketball. I know that you’re a humble guy but now that this stage of your high school career is a thing of the past, when you look back at that, do you have the perspective to reflect on how awesome that statistic actually is? 

CC: If you would have told me that my record would be 94-6 at the beginning of high school, obviously I would have taken that. You have to have a lot of good players around you. You have to have a lot of good coaches and I understand that. I just kind of got lucky and had a lot of good players around me that helped us get to that point. To be honest, we should have gone 96-4 probably. There were four losses that we actually lost. There were a couple that we lost focus and didn’t win. To me, 94-6 is something to be proud of though and I am proud of that.

CF: What was it like for you when you did lose a game though? You obviously never got used to it.

CC: That’s right. And it made it worse was that two of them were in the state championship game, my freshman and sophomore years. Those felt terrible, to end the season with a loss. The drive back home from Wichita was pretty terrible. And two of those losses were to rivals – our little crosstown rival. That made it even harder. Those four losses were really hard to take actually. This year though we lost to our rival and ever since that point, we pretty much ran the table. It was a good learning opportunity for us. You’ve got to realize what to do after you lose and once we did that, we had a lot of success.

CF: Let’s talk about Iowa State. Obviously they had a great season that featured a run to the Sweet 16. When they ran the table in the Big 12 Tournament and won those games in San Antonio, I’m curious as to how that impacted you. Were you a huge fan? Where did you watch the games? What was that run like for you knowing that you will be a part of that next year?

CC: I was front row in my living room for all of those games. Actually, they day that they beat Baylor in the Big 12 Championship was the same day that we won the state championship game. That was a pretty good day. I didn’t actually get to watch that game but yeah, that was a pretty good day when we won state and Iowa State won the Big 12 Tournament. That was pretty awesome. All of the other games I was watching and jumping up and down. I jumped up and down when Naz (Long) would hit those clutch threes and stuff like that. It was awesome to watch but just killed me when Georges (Niang) went down. That was pretty terrible. But I watched everything. It was awesome. The night before the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City I actually went down to the team hotel and hung out with the guys some, which was cool. A lot of people around here didn’t really understand why I was going to Iowa State when I first committed. The people around here don’t really know but as everything king of went on and they kept winning games, I noticed more and more Iowa State shirts in my high school hallways. That was pretty cool.

CF: After watching the run to the Sweet 16, wrapping up your high school career and talking with Coach Hoiberg, what role do you see yourself having on next year’s team?

CC: I think as far as next year goes I am going to be another ball handler. I’ll handle the ball, take care of it and make good decisions. I’ll just do whatever Coach Hoiberg wants me to do. He has talked about me and Monte playing together at times because we can both handle it. He had an unbelievable freshman season. He set that assist-to-turnover record. I’m looking forward to getting with him and learning from him and just learning from the older guys. I think I can make a pretty decent contribution next year.

CF: What did you think of Hoiberg’s  dance moves?

CC: That was hilarious. (Laughter) Yeah man, I don’t know. I texted him later that night and said, ‘Congrats on the win. I’m going to need some dance lessons ASAP.’ It was pretty funny. He’s a cool dude. 

CF: You’re a shortstop on your high school baseball team. I know you are a Kansas City Royals fan. Who is your favorite baseball player and will the Royals finally make the playoffs this year?

CC: I’m not a huge baseball watcher but Dustin Pedroia is probably my favorite player and I do not think that the Royals will make the playoffs?

CF: What? You’re a Royals fan. Everybody thinks that they have a shot at the playoffs. Why not? 

CC: I’ve been burned too many times.