Iowa State fans waited more than a year to see Cameron Lard step on a court to play a basketball game in Central Iowa.
After months of speculation and questions about his eligibility, Lard arrived in Ames last winter as one of the program’s most highly discussed roster additions in recent memory.
But, even after that arrival, Iowa State fans had to keep waiting. Once the 6-foot-9 forward stepped on the court at the YMCA Capital City League this summer, he made his impact felt immediately.
The effect of that impact was easily apparent on Sunday as Lard, who was named the league’s defensive player of the year, led Sparta Waste Services to a 109-107 win over Doerrfeld Promotions to claim the 2017 YMCA Capital City League championship.
“It (feels) good, man,” Lard, who finished the title game with 25 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks, told Cyclone Fanatic after the game. “Just coming out here to get some run in with my teammates.”
It can be difficult to truly evaluate big men within the CCL setting. There are far fewer high quality frontcourt players than guards and that makes it possible for some gaudy statistics for a post worth his salt.
Lard proved to be worth his salt, and more. Especially on Sunday while leading Sparta without league MVP Marial Shayok, who sat out of the game due to an injury, by his side. At the end of the day, the redshirt freshman got some pretty dang valuable experience after being away from playing in front of crowds for quite some time.
“Just going back and watching highlights and remembering the things that I missed and did wrong,” Lard said about what he gained from playing in the league. “And now being able to get back into the gym and work on it before the season.”
Getting back into the gym will now become Lard’s top priority before school starts and the true lead-up to his official Iowa State debut begins. He enters that phase of preparation with one major goal in mind — and he got some practice at reaching it during the CCL season.
“Bringing home that Big 12 Conference championship,” Lard said. “Again.”
Lewis injured in title game
Freshman guard Terrence Lewis dropped to the court after finishing a layup late in the second half of Sunday’s title game and never returned to action. The 6-foot-6 wing, who dropped 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds before the injury, left the gym under his own power with an ice pack on his left knee, but at this point the severity unknown.