Monday Musings: Lipsey and Watson’s development, Pro Day, NCAA second weekend and more

Feb 21, 2023; Austin, Texas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Tamin Lipsey (3) shoots over Texas Longhorns guard Arterio Morris (2) during the second half at Moody Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first off-season edition of Monday Musings for 2023.

Could this weekend have gone any worse for Iowa State fans? The men’s basketball debacle against Pitt on Friday. The women’s basketball disappointment against Toledo on Saturday. Then David Carr came up one match short in his pursuit of a national title later in the evening on Saturday.

If I were to rank my favorite weekends since I’ve been around Iowa State, this one would almost certainly slate somewhere near the bottom.

Anyway, let’s muse.

*** Xavier hammered Pitt on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16 and scored nearly 90 points. Does that confirm Friday was more of an Iowa State problem than something Pitt caused?

It doesn’t really matter either way, but there’s no doubt the Panthers saw a different type of beast in the round of 32. The Musketeers had seven more points at halftime on Sunday (48) than the Cyclones in their entire game on Friday (48-7).

Upon further consideration, it still doesn’t feel much better.

*** T.J. Otzelberger gave us some insight into the offseason early Saturday morning when he met with a small group of reporters. You can find some of those details here, but I saved a few notes from that conversation for today.

First, on the development of Tamin Lipsey, and where he’ll need to make strides before his sophomore season as Iowa State’s floor general. The first order of business is continuing to work on his body now that he understands the rigors of the Big 12.

“Look for this year, everything that he accomplished, even with playing whatever 33, 34 games, with his body and the minutes that he played, we need to do a great job making sure that in the offseason, that from a strength and conditioning, flexibility standpoint, that we’re taking care of his body and doing what he needs to do,” Otzelberger said. “You hear so many times guys hit this freshman wall or go through these challenges and Tamin powered through that, and was able to be really effective for us in heavy minutes.”

The second priority will be something Iowa State fans are glad to hear, and that’s working hard on his jump shot in order to prevent teams from guarding him the way they did for basically the last month and a half of the season.

“Certainly, for him, he’s gonna get in the gym and continue to work on shooting the ball from the perimeter,” Otz said. “The next step for him is going to be his confidence in that shot. We have belief in him. We’re going to continue every day to work diligently and Tamin is an unbelievable worker, but that’s a step I know he’ll want to take now that he’s seen what defenses are going to do and how they’re going to play him. I know that he’ll live in that gym and find ways to make people pay if they choose to guard in certain ways.”

Lipsey is already so good at basically everything else on the floor that his inability to shoot the ball becomes an even bigger detriment. It takes away from his ability to do all the things he’s good at.

Good on teams for recognizing that and taking advantage of it, but that can’t be the case in his second year with the program. He has to take strides forward as a shooter if he wants to be a better player in year two.

He will already enter next season with All-Big 12 potential. He’ll start knocking on bigger doors than that if he can find confidence in his shot from the perimeter.

*** The next most intriguing development to follow this offseason will be Demarion Watson’s. The lanky wing from Minneapolis boosted his stock significantly over the last few weeks of the season.

Watson’s work on the defensive end proves his sky-high potential in that area. His long arms make him a threat to block shots all over the floor and he’s rangy enough to guard just about anyone you put in front of him.

He’s also one of the program’s best cutters without the basketball offensively, but, again, there has to be an improvement on the jump shot so he can become an even bigger threat on the offensive end.

“He really embraced defensively, coming in and giving us a guy that can have a lot of length in terms of disrupting shots, reversal passes, being impactful on the glass,” Otz said. “He’s extremely coachable and he wants to get better. He really embraced the defensive side of things and started to gain a lot of confidence in being a lockup type of defender. Almost watching Gabe (Kalscheur) and saying, ‘Hey, I want to try to be something like that.’ The next step in the progression is similar to Tamin with that perimeter shot, right? It’s getting in the gym. It’s confidence. It’s defining the job. Then it’s repping it out and putting the time in. Both of those guys are extremely coachable. They’re awesome high-character guys, so I know that they’re going to do the work and I’ll always believe in the guys that do the work.”

This guy’s stock is going to explode if he’s able to put a consistent jump shot on display sooner rather than later, and I mean really explode. He has an NBA-type of ceiling if he can find the right buttons to push in the offseason.

*** A quick shout out to Cyclone legend Ashley Joens as the book closes on her career in Ames. She’s a truly special player who redefined greatness for Iowa State women’s basketball. I look forward to seeing her name and number in the rafters at Hilton Coliseum.

*** The Big 12 put two teams in the Sweet 16, and it is hard to argue those two teams weren’t deserving of this all year long.

Texas is playing as well as any team in the country right now. Rodney Terry very well might get that squad to the Final Four. He’s proven he should be the full-time head coach whether he gets them to Houston or not.

How cool is the Kansas State story? Watching Jerome Tang coach his team just brings a smile to my face. You can tell he’s having more fun than anybody else in his profession.

On Sunday, prior to K-State’s win over Kentucky, they had a segment with Tang where they asked him three things he’d like to learn about. He said, “Cryptocurrency, how to save the environment, and TikTok.”

Someone let Coach Tang know that TikTok probably has some answers to the crypto and environment conversations, but I’m not sure he wants to dive that deep into TikTok.

*** Iowa State football pro day is coming up on Tuesday. Is Will McDonald going to run the 40? That will be the biggest storyline to come out of Ames if he does. Either way, this will be another great opportunity to showcase for the NFL squads.

*** I love the Big 12’s new Pro Day format coming in 2024. Holding an event for all the Big 12 schools at The Star in Frisco, Texas, will make it easier for every Big 12 player to get in front of pro scouts, and I’d imagine this will be replicated by nearly every other league in the coming years. Give pro scouts an opportunity to see more than one school’s guys and you’re going to get some big-time decision-makers in the building.

This is a perfect example of Brett Yormark’s Big 12. Looking for inefficiency and then fixing it in a way that pushes the envelope.

*** I have Alabama, Creighton, Tennessee, Kansas State, Houston, Texas, Arkansas and UCLA in my Elite Eight after the first weekend. I’ll take Alabama, Kansas State, Texas and UCLA to advance to Houston and the Final Four.

Alabama is going to win the national championship.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.