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Basketball

MONDAY MUSINGS: More on the 2016-17 Cyclones

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Here I am, back at the Cyclone Fanatic home office in my basement in beautiful Bondurant.

I hate the offseason.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s nice to see my family and all of that good stuff, no doubt. But my body was involuntarily twitching last night while watching Syracuse beat Virginia at the United Center. I was having some serious Clone withdrawals and still am today. 

Spring football is okay, but it’s not the season. Big difference. 

Regardless, I have a few things on my mind that I indeed need to muse about this morning. Let’s go.

1) First of all a quick plug, we will have our final Cyclone Fanatic Radio Show of the season tonight from 6-7 on 1460 KXnO. Jared Stansbury, Brent Blum, Rob Gray and I will look forward at the future of Iowa State basketball. What lies ahead next year? Will that be a Tournament team? Check it out and of course if you can’t listen live, I’ll post the podcast later tonight.

2) I believe that Iowa State paid for it in a big way this year, but the 2016-17 season is looking a heck of a lot brighter than it did, say a year ago at this time. The re-addition of Naz Mitrou-Long will obviously be huge.

After the game on Friday, Monte Morris told me that if he comes back (which I believe that he will), Iowa State should have one of the best backcourts in the country next season. I totally agree. Combine Morris with Long and Matt Thomas and you have a plethora of experience, talent and leadership.

Don’t sleep on Donovan Jackson either. Junior college guards are generally a toss-up but I firmly believe that this kid is a legitimate Big 12 player. Lon Kruger wanted him. Lon Kruger is in the Final Four. If Lon Kruger wanted the guy, he can play ball at Iowa State.

Hallice Cooke is a big wildcard to me. All season long, I compared the former Oregon State Beaver to Matt Thomas as a freshman. You can see that he has the talent. We all know that he can shoot. But Cooke, as we saw during his wide-open fast break turnover vs. Virginia in the second half, simply never had the confidence to be a factor in the Big 12 throughout his sophomore season. Perhaps another offseason in Ames will change that? 

3) What about the frontcourt? Yeah, that’s what everybody keeps asking me. Right now, it looks thin, that’s for sure.

There’s no doubt that the Cyclones will be a guard-oriented team, regardless of what happens in the offseason. That’s key though. After the Virginia game, Steve Prohm was pretty straightforward with me when I talked to him about recruiting. Iowa State will add another post (or two) to the equation over the next two months. That’s a guarantee. 

4) Fans, let the coaches worry about scholarships. There is always stuff going on that you don’t know anything about. Guys will transfer. It’s a part of the game these days.

5) Apparently the Des Moines Register’s Randy Peterson mentioned Hawaii’s Stefan Jankovic as a possible addition to Iowa State next season as a grad transfer. I did some digging on this last night and here’s what I’ve got: There’s a connection there between Jankovic and Naz Long (played on the same AAU team) so Iowa State has that going for it. However, think about it guys. This is a 6-foot-11, 235-pound forward who averaged 15.6 and 6.6 last season. This kid is going to have plenty of options – many that are much sexier than Iowa State.

Do the Cyclones have a shot? Of course.

Will Iowa State make a run at him? Yep.

Is this thing a slam-dunk? Far, far from it.

6) One final hoops note, fans of the Chicago Bulls are absolutely killing Fred Hoiberg right now. I went to the game on Wednesday night and talked to a lot of them casually – just asked about Freddy. Yikes. Not good.

I also spoke with some of the Chicago media: They blame the front office for giving Fred a team full of past-their-prime, stiff veterans to work with.

One guy speculated that the Bulls would end up signing Harrison Barnes in the offseason. How cool would that be? The Mayor, HB, Dougie McBuckets…

Oh baby. 

Fred is a good coach who is currently in a bad situation. I just hope the situation isn’t so bad that it buries him along the way. Those Chicago folks aren’t exactly patient.

Taking all emotion out of this and I could also call this karma for Bulls management: Why exactly did they fire Tom Thibodeau again?