Iowa State men’s hoops has a distinct history in Hawaii. This year’s Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic will mark the eighth trip to Hawaii in school history for the Cyclones, who are 12-7 all-time in the nation’s 50th state.
You probably recall the last trip to Hawaii didn’t end well. Prior to that, however, Iowa State had quite a bit of success, winning six in a row and 10 of their last 12 on the islands.
ISU’s first trip to Hawaii came in Johnny Orr’s fifth season in Ames, which was the late great Barry Stevens’ senior season and Jeff Hornacek’s junior campaign. A young Jeff Grayer was also on that Cyclone squad.
Destination tournaments were in their infancy and the ‘84-85 tournament was a star-studded affair, as evidenced by the photo above that was found in this Jan. 7, 1985 Sports Illustrated issue. Stevens is shown on the left along with several future NBA players (Washington’s Detlef Schrempf and Chris Welp, Georgia Tech’s Mark Price, Arkansas’ Joe Kleine). The picture doesn’t even include Hornacek or future No. 2 pick Len Bias of Maryland as well as a number of other players that eventually had NBA careers.
Iowa was also in the 1985 tournament. In a strange twist, the Hawkeyes were playing in the Freedom Bowl so Pete Taylor and Eric Heft actually called the three Iowa games for WMT, while filling in for Ron Gonder.
One mystery of the tournament is the fact that Barry Stevens wore No. 40 in the three tournament games. So something must have happened to Stevens’ No. 35 jersey between the time the Sports Illustrated photo was taken and the first game.
Iowa State went just 1-2 in the tournament, falling to a pair of NCAA Tournament teams in No. 11 Washington and in overtime to Arkansas before beating Cornell handily. The 1984-85 season still ended up being memorable for the Cyclones as they earned the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1944. In the first game back from the trip, Stevens scored a then-Hilton Coliseum record 47 points against Morgan State before breaking the ISU career scoring mark in the next game against Abilene Christian.
1984-85 – Rainbow Classic, Lahaina, Hawaii
Lost to No. 11 Washington, 72-59
Lost to Arkansas, 84-79 (OT)
Def. Cornell (N.Y.), 81-59
1990-91 – Maui, Invitational, Lahaina, Hawaii
Def. Chaminade, 115-82
Lost to No. 13 Syracuse, 83-67
Lost to Santa Clara, 78-62
1994-95 – Big Island Invitational, Hilo, Hawaii
Def. Illinois State, 88-71
Def. VCU, 66-59
Lost to Purdue, 88-87 (OT)
1999-00 – Big Island Invitational, Hilo, Hawaii
Def. Hawaii-Hilo, 108-72
Def. Arkansas, 77-71
Lost to No. 1 Cincinnati, 75-60
2000-01 – Yahoo! Sports Invitational, Laie, Hawaii
Def. Troy State, 66-56
Def. BYU, 77-71
Def. No. 24 Mississippi, 73-68
2005-06 – Rainbow Classic, Honolulu, Hawaii
Def. South Florida, 83-74
Def. Northwestern State, 81-77 (2OT)
Def. Colorado State, 87-80
Lost to Hawaii, 60-59