Freshmen’s effort pleasing Hoiberg


Fred Hoiberg’s roster at the start of this season had four players with Div. 1A experience.

The tallest of those returnees – Jamie Vanderbeken – has missed the last two games and is questionable for tonight’s match-up at Texas.

Vanderbeken’s absence has meant that 6-foot, 4-inch Diante Garrett has been the biggest non-freshman available to Hoiberg in the last week. He is, of course, the Cyclones’ point guard.

When Hoiberg said in the pre-season he wanted to build his club around Garrett’s assets, he probably wasn’t referring to height.

However, with strong efforts from true freshmen Calvin Godfrey, Jordan Railey and Melvin Ejim last week, the Cyclones outrebounded the Big 12’s top rebounding team (Texas A&M) in College Station. The Aggies are ninth nationally in rebound margin.

"Right now, our front line is a three-man rotation with three freshmen," Hoiberg said Monday. "In our situation, (the three freshmen) have been thrown into the fire right away and (it will) be huge for these guys’ careers moving forward."

Hoiberg noted the improvement of his trio of rookies with special accolades for Ejim.

"He has been awesome the last week," Hoiberg said of his 6-6 power forward. "Melvin has been bringing great energy. Sometimes, young guys need a little time to learn that."

The next step in the progression takes place tonight when Godfrey, Railey and Ejim face fifth-rated Texas, which ranks 16th nationally in rebound margin.

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