Summer plans shift to football for McDonough & Lenz

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Hopefully, Jake McDonough and Josh Lenz hadn’t already established summer vacation plans.

 If so, it’s likely their trips will have to take detours to NFL training camps this summer.

 Earlier this week, a number of Cyclone football prospects put their skills on display for more than two dozen professional football teams during the school’s annual “Pro Timing Day”.

 Many of the supposed elite prospects in college football, including Iowa State linebackers A.J. Klein and Jake Knott, get invited to participate in the league’s annual combine event in Indianapolis.  McDonough and Lenz weren’t in that group, so Wednesday’s workouts in the Bergstrom Indoor Facility were their job interview.

 You always hear murmurs among the talent evaluators when a player measures in some task better than expected. McDonough (with 37 reps on the 225-pound bench press) and Lenz (21 reps and a 4.35 reading in the 40) turned heads.

 They may have positioned themselves to get drafted, but certainly cemented invites to camps. McDonough and Lenz – like Knott and Klein previously – have been bookmarked.

 Other Cyclones also impressed and probably earned more opportunities.

 It’s a certainty that if Jake and Josh were scheduled to go on the family vacation this summer, they’ll need to take a pass now.

Return of Ejim & Niang a good start as Hoiberg shuffles personnel.

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When Fred Hoiberg opened training camp last fall, there were lots of questions about replacing double figure scorers Royce White, Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen from an NCAA Tournament team.

ISU had no double-figure scorers on its roster when the season started.

The only other schools in the ’12 tourney field, which lost three twin-digit scorers from the 2011, and made it back to the tournament again were Wichita State, Georgetown, Missouri and North Carolina.

It can be done. The Cyclones will be trying to repeat that act again in 2013-14.

Fresh off its second NCAA Tournament appearance in as many years, the Cyclones are losing double figure scorers in Will Clyburn, Tyrus McGee, and Korie Lucious. Plus, Chris Babb averaged 9.1 points.

The strengths of Hoiberg are many, but assessing, assembling and blending talent is one of them. It will be months before answers emerge in regards to next season.

Hoiberg will be assessing his new recruits, redshirted players and bench players from this year. But, he also starts the process this time by welcoming back double-figure scorers in Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang. That wasn’t the case a year ago.

Hoiberg, the personnel man, will be trying to fit his pieces together as best as he can. His track record is pretty good in this area.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

 

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

The advent of Cyclones.tv and the willingness of coaches to provide occasional access to locker room scenes have provided some really cool videos.

Monday night was one of those times. The difference was that Bill Fennelly’s passion for Iowa State was also shared publicly in a news conference setting.

After spending time discussing strategies in a “great college women’s basketball game” Fennelly was asked if he saw his own image in this team.

After a lengthy silence he said: “if it does, that’s a huge compliment to me, because that’s an amazing group of kids. I loved coaching this team. They gave me something back that I thought I’d lost. To be around them every day and see how hard they worked and the progress they made and the way they cared about one another and the way they wore a uniform that means so much to so many people… amazing.”

Fennelly then said he’d lost a little bit of belief that some people weren’t willing to do things the Iowa State way.

“But, this team did,” Fennelly said.

In the locker room, Fennelly did tell his team that what they did for the school will last a long time. Then, he closed the way he always does.

“Don’t cry because it’s over,” Fennelly said. “Smile because it happened.”

It’s hard not to think that his smile was symbolic for something bigger. It was the confirmation to Fennelly that this team really did understand.

 

It’s your choice to change the way you think about it.

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“If you don’t like it, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit, children’s book illustrator.

Many in the Cyclone fan base are probably heartbroken after Sunday’s last-second loss to Ohio State. This one, unfortunately, has the finality of ending the season.

As you continue to reflect, don’t lose sight of the resiliency and character shown by Fred Hoiberg’s senior-laden club. The Cyclones battled all season and brought great joy.

You can’t change the fact that, to win, the second-seeded Buckeyes benefitted from…

·        a three-point shot at the buzzer from a 29% shooter, who averaged less than one made 3 per game;

·        a boost from a late call that required clarification from the NCAA Officials Chief (CBS analyst Charles Barkley said: “The ref just missed the call, plain and simple.”);

·        and an ankle injury to ISU’s best defender and second-best three-point shooter (Chris Babb), which shelved him for the entire second half.


You can change the way you think about the game result by applauding a terrific effort in a fun-and-memory-filled season.

We can lament what could have been. We can also celebrate what was.

The seniors, especially, who brought this program back to life deserve your appreciation. It was a magical season and the foundation for a spectacular future for Cyclone basketball with the Mayor in charge.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

You might be surprised with the company Iowa State is keeping.

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Are we winning? Are we drawing fans to our games? Are we spending our resources wisely to accomplish the first two things?

Those are the types of questions that college sports administrators ask themselves.

Are we winning? Only 10 schools nationally played in a bowl game this season and received invites this week for their women’s and men’s basketball teams to participate in the NCAA Championship. The schools include: Iowa State, Duke, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Syracuse and UCLA.

The Big 12 was the only conference with three schools on that list. Since Notre Dame football doesn’t have a conference home, the Big East has two schools on the list just like the Big Ten. The Pac-12 and ACC have one each.

Are we drawing fans to our games? In a review of football and basketball attendance averages as a percent of capacity, here is the order of how well the 10 schools are getting fans to their games:  Notre Dame (98.9%), Oklahoma (95.3%), Iowa State (93.9%), Michigan State (91.9%), Michigan (91.9%), Duke (81.2%), Louisville (81.1%), Oklahoma State (78.5%), UCLA (66.6%) and Syracuse (52.9%).

Are we spending our resources wisely to accomplish the first two things? Using the Department of Education’s EADA Reports as a datacenter, here is the money (total expenses) that each school spent in the most-recent year available for the football and basketball programs: Iowa State ($21.3 million), UCLA ($29.1 million), Michigan ($32.4 million), Michigan State ($32.4 million), Notre Dame ($35.1 million), Oklahoma ($35.7 million), Louisville ($37.6 million), Syracuse ($40.2 million), Duke ($41.3 million) and Oklahoma State ($42.3 million).

Taking a snapshot from 50,000 feet, it’s hard to argue anything other than Iowa State is doing some great things and doing them responsibly and without excess.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

“Why do we love Iowa State?” Jay Williams asked. “They score the basketball.”

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During the never-ending analysis of the NCAA Tournament field, ESPN’s Jay Williams blurted out to show host Rece Davis Sunday night, “Why do we love Iowa State, Rece? They score the basketball.”

Yes, the Cyclones do score the basketball. And their ability to do so draws more fans every time it’s showcased.

Early on Selection Sunday during the ACC Championship game between North Carolina and Miami (which was tied at 42 entering halftime), play-by-play man Dan Shulman threw it to commercial saying “Wouldn’t it be great if more games were played at this pace? This is the way the game is supposed to be played.”

When Davis, the ESPN anchor came back from that commercial, he said “A really entertaining first half. Let’s hope the second 20 is as good as the first 20.”

There has been a lack of scoring at the marquee level of college basketball too often this season.

Comparing only the tourney teams from the ACC, Atlantic Ten, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Mountain West and Pac-12, several themes emerge. The Big 12 and ACC have the highest scoring marquee teams and the Big East and Big Ten play grinding styles. In this review, scoring more than 80 was high scoring and failing to score 60 was considered grinding.

Consider these bulleted lists:

·        Number of times a tourney team from the league scored 59 points or fewer in a conference game:  Big East (43 times), Big Ten (42), Pac-12 (19), MWC (17), Atlantic Ten (13), Big 12 (10), ACC (9)

·        Number of times a tourney team from the league scored 80 points or more in a conference game:  Big 12 (30 times), ACC (25), Atlantic Ten (22), Big Ten (17), Big East (13), Pac-12 (10) and MWC (9)

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but the ESPN pundits (above) seem to enjoy seeing scoring. That makes Friday’s second-round game between Iowa State and Notre Dame an intriguing match-up. Which style will prevail?

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Cyclone women’s hoops team is traveling 1,400-plus miles to the “Gonzaga Invitational”

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The Iowa State women’s basketball team didn’t have to wait very long to learn of their post-season opportunity. The Cyclones were the fifth team unveiled in the bracket, slotted as a five seed.

“It happened really quickly and (we) didn’t get the chance to get ready,” Coach Bill Fennelly said.

The early selection gave the team a few more minutes of preparation time and it may come in handy since ISU will be making a 1,466-mile journey to Spokane, Wash., to face Gonzaga.

“Yea, it’s a road game all right,” Fennelly said. “But, we’ve played a lot of tough road games and that’s what this tournament is all about. At 15 of the 16 sites, someone is playing at home and that’s good for the event.”

Gonzaga, which has won 15 consecutive games entering the tournament, had a better record on the road and in neutral games (14-2) than they did at home (15-3) this season.

The Zags are one of two schools (Iowa is the other) in the field to host a first-round match-up as a higher seed. To be fair, the Cyclones got that benefit a season ago.

It’s Fennelly’s 14th NCAA Tournament team and his seventh in a row. But, it never gets old.

“Selection Monday is on my practice card every day,” Fennelly said. “I think about it non-stop.”

Now, that they’re in the focus shifts.

“We’re going to the Gonzaga Invitational,” Fennelly said. “This is what it’s all about.”

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

 

Five key Cyclone seniors left other programs to join ISU and last night they had to be smiling

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The confirmation came at 5:29 p.m. Sunday when Greg Gumbel said, “The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, with Mike Brey in charge, will take on the Iowa State Cyclones from the Big 12.”

It was a certainty the Cyclones would hear their name on the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. That’s the situation when you win 22 games against a schedule ranked 42nd nationally and count numerous victories and near misses against keen competition.

Three years ago, Chris Babb and Anthony Booker transferred to Iowa State with a vision. Two years ago, Korie Lucious, Will Clyburn and Tyrus McGee left programs to join the Cyclones, and they arrived with a belief.

That quintet hoped that ISU, under the direction of Coach Fred Hoiberg, could build a NCAA tourney-worthy team. You can only imagine the satisfaction that Babb, Booker, Lucious, Clyburn and McGee must be feeling today.

·        Babb’s old school (Penn State) has registered a 41-56 record since he left;

·        Booker’s Southern Illinois team recorded a 35-59 mark after he departed;

·        Clyburn’s Utah club was 21-43 in the two years since he moved;

·        Lucious’ Michigan State team is making its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance and was 54-16, but his role is far greater at ISU; and

·        McGee, who attended Cowley County CC, saw his old school post a 42-21 since he moved but the transition to major college Division 1 basketball was a personal goal.


A lot of hard work from a lot of individuals earned the Cyclones their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. For these five, who interrupted their college careers with mid-career moves, it must be especially sweet.

Perhaps, Babb’s Twitter post last night said it best: @Agent2: “2 years playin as a Cyclone, 2 years in NCAA Tournament… Let’s get it.”

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

The “Microwave” nickname kind of works for McGee, but the styles are quite different.

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As conference tournament play continues this week, five Big 12 men’s teams (including Iowa State) should feel pretty good about their resumes entering the NCAA Tournament selection process.

The former Big 8 Conference schools – ISU, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma – have team power ratings in the Top 50 nationally.

It’s against that competition that Iowa State senior Tyrus McGee has excelled this year.

In his eight games against those schools, McGee has connected on an incredible 27-of-48 shots from behind the three-point line. That’s 56.3% from long range.

McGee has made 60-137 of his three pointers in the 23 other games for an accuracy mark of 43.8%. That figure, amazingly, would rank 16th nationally.

McGee’s ability to score quickly and in bunches has led several TV announcers to call him the “Microwave” in reference to former NBA super sub Vinnie Johnson. As a college star at Baylor Johnson was a high-scoring starter, averaging 24.1 points per game in two years.

His “Microwave” nickname emerged when he started coming off the bench in the NBA. What’s interesting is that Johnson took only 327 three pointers (making only 25%) in 984 pro games.

That doesn’t sound like McGee.

He takes and makes 3’s in high volume (hitting six against both Kansas and at Oklahoma). In fact, McGee has made more 3’s this season than the original “Microwave” made in 15 NBA seasons.

The comparison between McGee and Johnson is understandable as both have built reputations for providing an offensive spark off the bench. You can be assured that Fred Hoiberg loves having the luxury of instant offense in McGee just like the Pistons’ Chuck Daly did for the nine years Johnson played for him in Detroit.

But the old “Microwave” and McGee certainly did it in different ways.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

The “Microwave” nickname kind of works for McGee, but the styles are pretty different.

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As conference tournament play continues this week, five Big 12 men’s teams (including Iowa State) should feel pretty good about their resumes entering the NCAA Tournament selection process.

The former Big 8 Conference schools – ISU, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma – have team power ratings in the Top 50 nationally.

It’s against that competition that Iowa State senior Tyrus McGee has excelled this year.

In his eight games against those schools, McGee has connected on an incredible 27-of-48 shots from behind the three-point line. That’s 56.3% from long range.

McGee has made 60-137 of his three pointers in the 23 other games for an accuracy mark of 43.8%. That figure, amazingly, would rank 16th nationally.

McGee’s ability to score quickly and in bunches has led several TV announcers to call him the “Microwave” in reference to former NBA super sub Vinnie Johnson. As a college star at Baylor Johnson was a high-scoring starter, averaging 24.1 points per game in two years.

His “Microwave” nickname emerged when he started coming off the bench in the NBA. What’s interesting is that Johnson took only 327 three pointers (making only 25%) in 984 pro games.

That doesn’t sound like McGee.

He takes and makes 3’s in high volume (hitting six against both Kansas and at Oklahoma). In fact, McGee has made more 3’s this season than the original “Microwave” made in 15 NBA seasons.

The comparison between McGee and Johnson is understandable as both have built reputations for providing an offensive spark off the bench. You can be assured that Fred Hoiberg loves having the luxury of instant offense in McGee just like the Pistons’ Chuck Daly did for the nine years Johnson played for him in Detroit.

But the old “Microwave” and McGee certainly did it in different ways.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow