Women's Basketball

Bill Fennelly on NIL, NCAA Transfer Portal and the state of his roster

Since the end of the NCAA basketball tournaments just three weeks ago, the off-season in college basketball has been far from quiet.

It’s hard to go anywhere college basketball is talked about online and not see the acronym of NIL or mentions of the transfer portal dominating the page. Just check our forums.

We caught up with Bill Fennelly earlier this week, where he touched on the subject and gave us an update on his team’s roster for the upcoming season.

The common theme is the year-to-year approach that collegiate coaches have been transitioning to in recent years.

“The portal is a unique thing,” Fennelly said. “Roster management has become borderline impossible in the modern world. You do it year-to-year and hopefully what you get is what we got with (Beatriz Jordao) and (Nyamer Diew).

Iowa State has seen the turnover already.

Aubrey Joens is transferring out, as is Maddie Frederick. A two-time NAIA player of the year Stephanie Soares is coming in.

“It is going to change,” Fennelly said. “People leave and people come in. The system has been created. We’ve taken the stance of, ‘We need to put together the best team we can for 2022-23.’ That’s what we’re trying to do and hopefully, as this process continues, everyone will be more aware of how hard this is and everything that goes with it.”

Fennelly hopes that this subject is emphasized.

He hopes fans take a similar approach that he is. The players in the Cyclones’ uniforms should be the fans’ favorite – it’s just that the number of unique players year by year is going to grow.

“I really think that will be something that fans of teams are going to have to learn,” Fennelly said. “With the possibilities that kids can leave (schools) without sitting out and all of the NIL discussions – I hope what happens, and I’m not naïve to think this will happen, is that the fans say, ‘Whoever’s on my team – that’s who I’m rooting for.’”

Fennelly’s roster for the upcoming season isn’t necessarily complete yet, either.

Despite signing a transfer and earning the fifth commitment to the next incoming recruiting class in the past two weeks, he and his staff still have their eyes on the portal.

“One thing I’m learning quickly is that you’re never done recruiting,” Fennelly said. “We are continuing to recruit. We’re trying our best to add more pieces to 2022-23. It really doesn’t do me any good to comment on 2023-24 because the world is always changing. We’re trying to add a couple of pieces to next year’s team.”

Iowa State has two scholarships available for the year.

The staff won’t fill them just to fill them, but if a player in their portal could be of help to the Cyclones, expect Iowa State to reach out.

“I don’t know if we’ll use both (scholarships) and who’s available,” Fennelly said. “The portal stuff is ongoing and there’s still some movement to be had there. It will be a fit for us. We’re not in the portal to rebuild our whole team. We’re not remodeling the house, we’re just fixing up a room.”