2007 Iowa State Cyclones Basketball Preview
Last year under first-year coach Greg McDermott (15- 16 in one year at Iowa State, 236- 143 in 13 years overall), the Iowa State Cyclones (15- 16 overall, 6- 10 Big 12) finished seventh in the Big 12. This season looked more promising our college basketball predictions with four starters coming back and some fine new players. But then McDermott let top scorer Mike Taylor go due to discipline problems. After three encounters with police and an arrest, coach McDermott opted for regulation over chaos and team over individual. His decision may, in the long run, help the Cyclones become winners.
The Cyclones defense was good, allowing 65.4 PPG, which was fourth in the Big 12. But they were 12th in scoring (63.6 PPG) and 12th in assists (11.7 APG). The team’s 14.8 TPG ranked them eighth. Rebounding was also an issue that affected the college basketball odds, as the Cyclones finished seventh at plus-1.7.
Senior center Jiri Hubalek (11.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 44.5 FG%) is a sound post player, while sophomore Wesley Johnson (12.3 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 44.5 FG%) is an inside-outside threat. There are a whole lot of freshman on the team and a lot is expected immediately from the highly ranked Craig Brackins, who ably plays the perimeter and the post. Senior forward Rahshon Clark (6.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 39.8 FG%) has the power to use the air and defend.
The Cyclones are extremely inexperienced in the backcourt and unlikely to be one of our free March Madness picks. Expect freshmen Diante Garrett and Marcus Brister to be asked to contribute immediately. Garrett, who is highly rated, will be the point guard, while Brister can play either point or shooting guard. Senior Mark Currie and sophomore Brock Johnson return to offer experience.
McDermott proved to be a no nonsense guy and that can go a long way with any team. With a solid incoming class and some fine returning talent, look for the Cyclones to be better than they were last year. But in order for that to happen, McDermott, who no longer has Taylor in the backcourt, will need to bring along inexperienced players quickly. The March Madness bracket is extremely unlikely but the NIT could be in the offing.