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Basketball

MAILBAG: Hoops recruiting & other offseason questions

These days, there is no offseason.

Since I began doing this (or something like this) back in 2004, the months April – August have changed dramatically. Back in the day, there used to be nothing to do other than kill time previewing football. Now, a guy can make an argument that these months are just as busy as the season.

Because of that, you guys rightfully brought it with a quality amount of questions in our first mailbag of the offseason. For the first time in CF history, I offered the mailbag up to Twitter. Let’s start there with a question from my main man @Cade4ISU.

From Twitter 

@Cade4ISU writes: Why has Iowa State’s recruiting so far (outside of Babb/Noskowiak) been so quiet?

CW: Be patient, grasshopper. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that I fully expect Iowa State to get more involved in the transfer market in the coming weeks. A number of guys Iowa State might be targeting probably haven’t been released from their current schools, which means any contact with them is a no-no. Secondly, with Matt Abdelmassih out and T.J. Otzelberger in, Iowa State’s recruiting landscape just took a 180 right before a live period began. The staff is probably still zeroing in on exactly what it wants to do. In a week (and perhaps just a few more days), we will all likely know a lot more about what’s going on inside the offices of the Sukup Practice Facility.

@tronzanious writes: Now that St. John’s has "Slice," odds of Diallo? 

CW: I think I’ve made it pretty clear over the last week or so that I don’t think Cheick Diallo will end up in Ames. My guess is that the big man will commit to Kansas or Kentucky but recruiting is weird, especially at that level, so stay tuned. 

@rlhaaland writes: When do we expect all the ISU basketball scholarships to be filled? What’s the JUCO/transfer timeline?

CW: It’s hard telling because of a lot about what I wrote up above, but I’d guess we will have a pretty good idea as to what is going on within the next month. Gun to my head, probably sooner.  

@megamanxzero35 writes: Do you think Otz was pitched having lots of head coach-like responsibilities to get him back? Especially hearing about Hoiberg’s health issues this past year.

CW: Honestly, T.J. was already doing a lot of that the last time he was at Iowa State. At that time, Fred was a rookie and T.J. had been in Ames since 2006 and knew his way around. I believe what Otzelberger said on the day that it was announced he was coming back. He and his family moved to Washington, had a nice experience but sincerely missed Iowa State while away. The kicker here is T.J.’s family. His wife is one of the all-time greats to play for Bill Fennelly. They recently had twins and want their kids to experience Iowa State. 

Let’s head to the Cyclone Fanatic forums…

Nate_no88 writes: Why are all of the Chicago TV stations so sure Fred will be their coach next year?

CW: I guess I’m not aware of the specific reports you are talking about but I do know how media works. When one rumor picks up steam, everybody jumps on it. I don’t know if Fred will end up in Chicago or not but he sure didn’t seem like a guy wanting to make a move when he emotionally spoke about his heart condition last week. The Chicago connections make sense though. It’s in the Midwest. He played there. There’s the Gar Forman connection. Etc.  

Cincyclone writes: How good are ISU’s chances with Boucher despite jumping in late?

CW: At this point, I’d say it is a long shot. I’m hearing that Boucher wants to start right away, which he wouldn’t be able to do at Iowa State. I’m not sure this is a great mix but as always, recruiting is a fluid deal so stay tuned.  

WastedTalent writes: Do coaches know about, or talk to, transfers before it’s public knowledge that they are transferring? I know it’s a violation if coaches talk to a player while he’s on scholarship at another school, but at what point is that player no longer a part his former team? I guess I’m curious to know if Fred and other coaches find out a player is transferring at the same time as we do? 

CW: The transfer (player you’re talked about) has to be released from his scholarship before another school is legally able to talk to him. So even if you (a coach) know that a guy plans on leaving and it’s essentially public knowledge, you can’t actually pick up the phone and call him until it is official. This, again, is a reason why I think Iowa State is being fairly quiet on the trail right now. There are guys out there who will transfer, but haven’t been released yet. That’s my guess anyway.

Huntt25 writes: Cyclone MBB should be pretty good in 15-16, with a chance to be great. Sadly, it’s the last year for some Cyclone greats, and could be the last year for Morris as well if the NBA comes calling. Will the Cyclone program sustain success in MBB beyond the Morris/Niang/Long era?

CW: The opportunity is certainly there. I won’t go as far to say that Iowa State is a national brand at this point (it isn’t) but at the very least, people now know who the Cyclones are. The foundation has been set for success beyond next year. I’ll tell you this: The attitude in that basketball office isn’t to “rebuild” in two years. The attitude, as we’ve seen with the Nick Babb commitment, is to gather recruits to be able to compete for another NCAA Tournament berth once Niang, McKay and Long are gone.

Greatshu writes: Your thoughts on Cy’s House of Trivia? What was your toughest question of the night?

CW: I love Cy’s House of Trivia. It’s always one of my favorites days/nights of the year. It’s a genius marketing move by Iowa State and is run in a first-class manner. As for the questions, man, I can’t name one. The overwhelming majority of them are way too difficult for this hack blogger to answer correctly.

Luth4Cy writes: Is it safe to say tight ends and the offensive line are the only weaknesses on offense? 

CW: Iowa State was 2-10 last season and 3-9 the year before. I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen a consistent Cyclone offense on the football field. No, it isn’t safe to assume anything with this group. It’s time to prove it. I do however understand your greater point. Sam Richardson should be the man this year, right? Great. Again, please prove it. Iowa State has three running backs – none of whom have taken meaningful Big 12 snaps. Again, prove it. The offensive line…Prove it. The wide receivers…I’ll give you that. It’s a quality group. But Randy Moss wouldn’t have been Randy Moss on a crappy offense. I really, really hope that the offense gets going. But I’m just at the point where I need to see some progression before I believe it. You’re right though, in a sense that in year two under Mark Mangino, the pieces appear to be in place for major progress. 

Coolerifyoudid writes: Who’s our rushing leader this year?

CW: I hope it’s a running back, so give me Tyler Brown. However, I suspect Mike Warren will be right up there with him.

How many hours of sleep can you get by on these days?

CW: Haha. Anymore, two or three is fine with me.

Fitzy writes: Any chance Trever Ryen gets in on some punt or kick return situations this fall?

CW: He looked good on Saturday, didn’t he? Yeah, it’s possible especially on punt. I think that Jomal Wiltz is the special teams ace but punt return all comes down to trust. I’m not sure where the staff is at with either man at this point. This is a good question for fall camp though, so thanks for asking.

BCoffClone125 writes: Loved the podcast last week with Jeff Woody. Are you planning on doing more in-depth podcasts like this in the future with other knowledgeable Cyclones (i.e. Bruns, Arnaud, etc.). Also, something like this for basketball season would be great as well! 

CW: Thank you very much and I’m glad that you enjoyed the podcast. One of my greatest passions in this business is the long form interview. I want to do a lot more of these during the offseason. For instance, I’m going in tomorrow (Wednesday) to interview T.J. Otzelberger. You’re right about in-depth. That’s the goal of these pieces. Go inside Iowa State athletics. Get you guys the inside scoop and also, I want you to get to know these newsmakers/analysts more.

Ketelmeister writes: How many wins does Paul Rhoads need to keep his job? 

CW: It’s April 14. You want to go down this road already? That’s depressing, but ok. A number is hard to come up with. I’m not sure if it is a “get six or you’re fired” situation. I mean, if Iowa State starts 5-0 and drops its last seven, then that’s a problem. Make sense? I think momentum will be key. How are the fans doing? Is the team showing promise? That sort of thing. For Paul’s sake, getting to six should be the goal though. 

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