Monday, January 23, 2012

Turning Point for ISU Athletics?

With the recent success of ISU men's basketball I couldn't help but take a step back and look at how this 2011-2012 academic year is progressing.


It started with a football season that was destined for at best mediocrity and a below .500 record.  What turned out doesn't appear to be much better with the final record reading 6-7.  However, for a team that was favored it just TWO games all year long this is monumental.  Add in a thrilling victory over Iowa, some domination over Texas Tech and a victory over the #2 team in the nation and ISU football now has several monkeys off their back.

Maybe more important for future success was the publicity ISU got throughout the end of the season because of Paul Rhoads.  As with any successful coach, other schools will come calling.  Rhoads answered those calls with a 10-year extension.  An almost unheard of length for a college football coach.  ISU has had consistency before at the head coach position in Dan McCarney.  He brought ISU from the dead to having a pulse.  It looks like Rhoads is now primed to take this program to being recognized nationally.  If you have any doubts check out some of the offer lists of this recruiting class.  This kid, Gary Simon, will choose on National Signing Day between Arkansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State.  That is significant.  Sure, ISU is still going to arm wrestle with some MAC schools over a few recruits.  Almost every BCS program does.  However, athletes are beginning to take notice of what is going on in Ames.  They see a passionate coach that doesn't appear to be leaving any time soon, possibility of early playing time and a chance to take down the big boys on ESPN.  ISU hasn't got this much publicity since the year of Seneca.  Even then, their publicity was short lived.  The key for ISU going forward is consistency.  This means making bowl games every year, knocking off an upset a year and periodically sneaking up to 8 or 9 wins.  ISU has consistency in the coaching staff, a very, very young offense and a wizard calling the shots on defense.  Football may never look back.


Pollard took a calculated risk in hiring Fred Hoiberg just a season ago.  As an ISU legend he was a popular hire with the fan base.  If anyone would get the support of the fan base it would be Freddy.  Fred  had ZERO coaching experience when he was hired.  Although at times it has reared its ugly head, Fred has also shown, in my opinion, what is even more important: the ability to recruit talent.

Many were skeptical of Hoiberg bringing in transfer players.  Afterall, there was a reason that they were leaving their former schools.  That didn't stop Hoiberg from bringing in a former 19th ranked recruit, a player with two Final Fours under his belt and two other significant contributors.  As if that wasn't enough for him he brought in the point guard from a Final Four team and the second leading scorer in the Mountain West behind Jimmer Fredette.  According to multiple Hoiberg quotes Clyburn has the most NBA potential out of anyone on the team.

It does appear as though he has slowed down on the transfer front, but he is competing with the big boys for the diaper-dandies now.  Hoiberg has a stigma to him that is hard to ignore.  The guy has the looks and style to steal any mom's heart.  He has the NBA contacts and sales pitch to steal an 18 year olds heart.  There is just something to be said for having a plethora of NBA scouts in the stands every home conference game.

Young basketball players are selfish now.  They want to shoot, they want to score the want to get into the league.  Hoiberg is offering every kid this opportunity.  I am a firm believer in the thought that the smartest coach on the floor is the one with the best players.  Hoiberg is growing as a coach, but his knack for recruiting is hard to ignore.

As we sit here six games into the conference season, ISU has hope once again of making it into the NCAA tournament.  This is how it is supposed to be at ISU right?  Even the last time ISU made the tournament they started 0-5 in the conference.  ISU is 4-2 with close losses to two separate top-10 teams.  The point of the matter is that once again ISU is looking toward post-season play.  Hilton Magic is coming back slowly and recruits are looking towards Ames, Iowa as place to spend their collegiate career.

I realize there is more to ISU than just football and men's basketball.  Let's be real.  Those two sports run the athletic department at a majority of universities.  What I enjoy most about these teams is they put a product on the field and court that I can be proud of.  Their style of play is fun to watch and I am filled with optimism once again.  I am not asking for a National Championship (give it a year or two), but I enjoy watching every game knowing there is a chance to win, not just cover the spread.  ISU has long been the underdog and for the first time in a while it appears they are biting back.


  1. There are more people on the football bandwagon than the basketball, but everyone should recognize what ISU is doing on both. I could say more, but realize that ISU has coaches that are ALL IN for Iowa State, and it can mean nothing but good things in the future.

  2. How bout that Kansas game? It was good seeing some offensive rebounding and a little more to the offense then just handing the ball to the rolls royce and seeing if he can draw a foul and maybe knock down a free throw. Looked to me like they actually had a bit of confidence about em too and felt like they are suppose to win these games and not just hoping to win em. I don't think I've actually looked forward to the basketball games since the days of Stinson, Blalock, and the great Rahshon Clark!