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.
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.
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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.