Jan 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Izaiah Brockington (12) drives the ball to the basket during the second half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State defeated Northwestern 81-78. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
T.J. Otzelberger’s first roster in Ames added its final piece late last week when Penn State transfer guard Izaiah Brockington announced his commitment to the Cyclones.
The 6-foot-4 Philadelphia native brings another veteran presence to the new-look Cyclones and added versatility on both ends after he averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season for the Nittany Lions.
Cyclone Fanatic caught up with Brockington, who will arrive in Ames as a graduate transfer on June 9, on Wednesday to hear more about his commitment to the Cyclones, getting the chance to play alongside fellow Big Ten transfer to Ames Gabe Kalscheur and more.
The entirety of that conversation can be found below in Q&A format. Some questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
CF: What made you want to pull the trigger on committing to Iowa State?
Brockington: I mean, Coach TJ and the whole staff really did a great job of recruiting me. They were actually the first Zoom call that I went on in my recruitment, and just the way that they got everybody on staff organized so fast like it was less than 24 hours, they hit me up and they said they wanted to schedule a Zoom. They had me in the slide presentation, they had everything set up already. It was a great pitch. Just throughout the rest of my recruiting process, multiple guys hitting me up every day. The conversations went away from basketball, eventually, there was there wasn’t much more to say. It was just talking about personal, you know, just life things and things that I’m interested in and stuff like that, you know, really building a relationship with them. That was definitely a bonus. That was definitely big for me. I felt on the basketball side, I felt like, they really were building something special over there. I felt like they had a lot of good experienced guys coming in. They had a lot of promising young guys coming in. I just felt like, this was a team that was ready to make some noise this coming season. I was really excited to be a part of something like that.
CF: How has the staff told you they see you fitting into the roster?
Brockington: They feel like I can come in and be a leader on the team. You know, just like, as a guy who has played at a high major and had success at that level and a guy who has been to the NCAA Tournament and stuff like that, and who knows how important accountability and culture and things like that are. They really think that I could come in and be a leader, and just really show the young guys just is how it is, what you have to do, how hard you have to work, stuff like that. They see me being a good combo guard out there on the wing, who can really get up and down the floor and play fast and everything like that. They said they loved my competitiveness and they feel like that competitiveness and that toughness would would definitely rub off on everybody else, for sure.
CF: You’ve played against Gabe Kalscheur the last two years in the Big Ten while he was at Minnesota. What will it be like for you guys to team up in Ames?
Brockington: I’m really excited to play alongside of him, for sure, after you know, playing against them for a couple of years. I’m definitely excited that both of us can bring that that Big Ten mentality that Big Ten physical toughness that you know is definitely required in that league. He’s a really great player, obviously a great shooter and everything. He was texting me during the recruitment process too where we were just talking about the coaches and the situation. After I committed, we were just like we know that were coming in, and we’re coming in and trying to win immediately and we’re excited about the things that we can do together for sure after playing against each other. Obviously, we have a lot of respect for each other so just excited to be on the same team.
CF: I’m guessing you’ve had a chance to see Tyrese Hunter’s highlight tape. What are your thoughts on him? Have you had a chance to connect with him at all?
Brockington: Yeah, I’ve seen a couple of highlights. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but I’ve definitely seen some highlights because I had heard the name. Recently, I’ve seen some highlights of him. He can play, man. He’s definitely the real deal. He’ll be a great player. I feel like it won’t be as steep of a learning curve as it is for most freshmen coming to college.
CF: How do you think having you and Gabe there as veteran guys who have been through it at the Power 5 level can help him make the adjustment to college?
Brockington: Definitely, I feel we could help him with adjusting to the speed of the game and adjusting to the way that you have to think and the ways you had to process everything, and break things down, like in the game or in practice and stuff. I feel like we can definitely help him and we could show him the work that goes into being a great player in college and stuff like that. We could show them how to be a leader, how to come in and hold guys accountable and stuff like that. I feel it will definitely benefit him, for sure. We could definitely help him in more than a few areas, for sure.
CF: I know you grew up on the East Coast and are a Philly kid. What was your exposure to Iowa State like before they started recruiting you? Was the program really ever on your radar growing up?
Brockington: No, no, yeah, definitely, I feel like being from the east coast, it’s not really like out in the Midwest. I didn’t really pay attention to too much that was going on out there. So this is definitely unexpected. I definitely never saw myself playing out there growing up, but I’m just excited. I’m excited to get out there. Start working with the guys. I’m excited to bring some of that Philly swag and that Philly toughness to Iowa.
CF: How would you describe yourself as a player to someone who has never seen you play before?
Brockington: First and foremost, I’m a competitor. I’m going out there, I’m trying to make a difference and I’m trying to win every single night. I’m really athletic, explosive, I like to get downhill. I feel like that allows me to open up opportunities for myself and opportunities for others. I feel like it opens up my jump shot and stuff like that, but definitely real downhill, transition first kind of guy and then I just play off of my ability to get past guys or create mismatches.