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Basketball

Q&A: Hoiberg analyzes two recent signings

Iowa State’s 2014-15 basketball roster is officially complete. That comes off of a manic Monday when the Cyclones signed 7-foot-1 Greek prospect Georgios Tsalmpouris and received a commitment from Oregon State transfer Hallice Cooke. Cooke ultimately signed with the Cyclones earlier this morning. 

There is nobody better to talk to about these now-current Cyclones than head coach Fred Hoiberg. In the middle of Iowa State’s "Tailgate Tour," Hoiberg took five minutes out of his Tuesday morning to have this conversation with CycloneFanatic.com regarding Iowa State’s two latest signees. 

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CF: Let’s start with the signing of Georgios Tsalmpouris. Before we get into his game, was signing an international recruit like that appealing to you from a big picture recruiting standpoint? Do you see that possibly opening up some doors in the future?

FH: Yeah I think so. We have some connections over there. I have worked with a lot of people who are very tight in the international community. That’s something that we got in on Georgios from one of the guys I have worked with put us onto him. We did our research and homework and really went after him with phone calls and emails. We ended up getting him. I think he was a good get. Just looking at the impact that some international players have had on college basketball and then moving onto the next level – I think it is a very good get for us. And, we haven’t had a 7-footer in a long time.

CF: Not only is he a 7-footer but it looks like he can run and shoot too. Guys like that tend to have a place on just about any team, right? 

FH: Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. He is 7-1 and he can shoot. That’s a pretty good place to start. We need to get him stronger. That will be a big focus with him when he gets on campus but he has a great summer opportunity for him playing on the national team. That will get him some great experience.

CF: I know that you need to put weight on him. I read in the press release where you talked about developing him. When he steps foot on campus and you get to roll your sleeves up and get to work, where do you start?

FH: That’s a good question. I think that it is still yet to be determined. Matt and I are going to fly over there in June and get an opportunity to see him and spend some time with him. That will be a good opportunity to get in front of him and talk about what his goals are and maybe some things that he can work on before he gets on campus in the fall.

CF: When it comes to Hallice Cooke, the first thing that stands out to everyone is the 46 percent number from 3-point range last season. He is adamant that he is more than just a 3-point shooter. Just with the way that you like to play basketball, he seems like the perfect guy to add to your roster. Is that how you saw it?

FH: He had a big role on a Pac-12 team as a freshman. That’s great experience to have that ability to shoot that percentage. Not many guys can do that. I think that Tyrus (McGee) led the nation the year before at 46 percent. He has a beautiful shooting stroke with a nice, high release. He can get his shot off of the dribble. He is a true combo-guard. He can play with the ball in his hands and he can play without the ball. That’s what we do. We want guys who can play multiple positions.

CF: He mentioned to me that one of the big reasons he liked you guys was your reputation on being able to develop transfers during the sit-out year. What will be his big goal next season? Is it his body? A particular skill? 

FH: I think that is the big thing, putting on a little weight and putting on some strength. That’s going to be during the sit-out year where he can really focus in that area. I think just tightening up his overall game is the goal. He has a great base. We just need to get him more comfortable in every facet of the game.

CF: In general, your roster is done for next year with the 13 scholarships being spoken for. I know that you can’t talk specifics in recruiting but does that being the case give you a head start for say, 2015 and 2016 and even beyond? Is being done a luxury?

FH: There’s no doubt about that. We are in on some good, young high school kids right now. It is an opportunity to really focus on those guys. July recruiting will be here before we know it. Hopefully we will get a couple of kids on campus in the month of June to get a head start with them. We are in really good shape I think for the next couple of years. Now we really need to start focusing on the young guys.