The start of the college basketball season brings out so much excitement, especially here in Ames. Fred Hoiberg has brought the magic back to the program.
I’m no different than many of you reading this. I remember Big Mondays as a kid. Watching the first two games and recording the West coast game so I could watch it the next day. College basketball has always been one of my favorite pastimes.
Every year, the start of the season represents new hopes and dreams. The sound of basketballs bouncing, players calling out screens and the ripple of the nets after a jump shot. In my opinion, there is simply nothing better.
The Cyclones started practice yesterday. Naturally, I headed over to learn about my new team. There are so many things to look forward to. Here is my quick list:
1. Which player will make the biggest stride? Under Hoiberg it seems there is always a player that makes extraordinary strides from one year to the next. In his first season it was Diante Garrett (9.2 ppg to 17.3 ppg) and in 2012-13 it was Tyrus McGee (7.7 ppg to 13.1 ppg). I’m interested to see who it may be this season.
2. The crafty big men: I’m excited to watch Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang and their growth. Both are special guys off the court, as well as on. I love the X’s and O’s of the game and when I spoke to Hoiberg for our prospectus earlier this summer he talked about how much each of them understood the game and their ability to read the defenders. I can’t wait to watch them operate up close.
3. Doc Sadler’s Impact: I’m excited to see Doc work. It isn’t often you get the opportunity to add a coach with over 30 years of experience, including eight as a Division I head coach. He’s been a successful coach at a number of stops and he brings a fire in practice. I am looking forward to seeing the impact he has had on Percy Gibson as well as the other post players.
4. The schedule: This schedule is as impressive as we’ve seen in recent years. When you have Michigan and Iowa coming to town, in addition to the usual Big 12 foes, it is certain to provide some electricity at Hilton Coliseum. We are lucky that in this league you get to see every conference team come to Ames.
5. The newcomers: Eight total and six that are eligible to play this season. When you throw in Sherron Dorsey-Walker, who redshirted in 2012-13, you can boost that number to nine.
Hoiberg brings in a guy like DeAndre Kane that has scored nearly 1,500 points. How often do you get to add that? And to top it off he is eligible immediately. It just doesn’t happen very often. I watched Dustin Hogue closely yesterday at the first practice. His energy is fun to watch. The freshmen and junior college guys also bring something to the table that will be fun to watch. If we have learned anything from Fred’s first three years here it is that he has an ability to put new pieces together and form a very nice puzzle.
6. Ejim’s last stand: How fortunate have we been to get to watch him the last three seasons? This is a special young man that you can all be proud to have on your team. Add to that the fact he is one of the best players in the Big 12 and I’m looking forward to watching one of the hardest working players in the league perform his craft every night.
So tell me Cyclone fans, what are you most excited to see?
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