Iowa State Basketball – Updated Roster Check

With 4 open scholarships coming into the spring signing period, it was expected to be a wild ride to see what the roster would look like for Iowa State basketball. Some crazy twists and turns have left the Iowa State with more open scholarships still to give and many people scratching their heads.

Michael Jacobson, formerly of Nebraska, is the latest to make his commitment to Iowa State. He joins Marial Shayok from Virginia as sit out transfers for next year. 5th year grad transfers Jeff Beverly from Texas San Antonio and Hans Brase of Princeton will be eligible to play right away next season.

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All told, pretty standard. But during this time ISU has lost out on 2 scholarship players that will look for new opportunities. That’s where some of the craziness comes in. First, Ray Kosongo asked for his release after sitting out last season as a transfer from Tennessee. Then, news Friday came out that one of 3 incoming freshmen, Darius McNeill has asked out of his letter of intent, just weeks before he was set to arrive on campus. With the news and with Iowa State expected to let McNeill out of his letter of intent, Iowa State still has 2 scholarships available to give for next year. The prevailing notion is that they are looking to add another guard, preferably a scoring guard. Perhaps they will find a 5th year grad transfer or a JUCO player to fit that bill.

Here is the roster as it looks today without McNeill:

Seniors: Donovan Jackson (G), Hans Brase (F), Jeff Beverly (F)

Juniors: Nick Weiler-Babb (G/F)

Sophomores: Soloman Young (C), Jakolby Long (G)

Freshmen: Cameron Lard (F), Lindell Wigginton (G), Terrance Lewis (F),

Sit out transfer: Marial Shayok (Senior in 2018-19), Michael Jacobson (Junior in 2018-19)

Open Scholarships: (2)

 

Trent Condon provides updates and commentary for the Marty and Miller TV program. You can watch “Marty & Miller” Weekdays from 3:00-6:00 on Mediacom 22 and stream at martyandmiller.com or by downloading the “Marty & Miller” app. Trent also hosts “Jimmy B & TC” weekdays from 12:00-3:00 on 1700 KBGG.

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The Ever Changing Cyclone Basketball Roster

By: Trent Condon

After another successful year, culminating with a Big 12 Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance, Iowa State has a year of retooling to their basketball roster. Departing seniors Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long, Deonte Burton and Matt Thomas leave a roster in a state of flux.

Iowa State came into the spring signing period with 4 open scholarships. They went hard after JUCO All American Shakur Juiston (committed to UNLV), JUCO guard Daryl Edwards (LSU), 5th year grad transfer Elijah Brown (Oregon) and transfer Ed Morrow (Marquette). After missing on these top targets, they zeroed in and received commitments from Marial Shayok, a sit out transfer from Virginia along with 5th year grad transfers Jeff Beverly from Texas San Antonio and Hans Brase of Princeton.

Image result for hans brase Hans Brase

Another scholarship became available yesterday when it was announced that Ray Kasongo, a transfer from Tennessee that sat out last season, would be leaving the program.

As it currently sits, Iowa State still has 2 scholarships available. Head Coach Steve Prohm has shown his willingness to continue to look at the transfer market. The guess here is that they will look for another transfer to come in and be eligible to play next season. Along with the aforementioned transfers, the Cyclones will bring in a freshman class that includes 5* Guard Lindell Wigginton along with small forward Terrance Lewis and guard Darius McNeil.

Lindell Wigginton shoots a game against Tennessee Prep Academy during the Marshall County Hoopfest (Photo: Jim Brown, USA TODAY Sports)  (Lindell Wigginton, Photo: Jim Brown, USA TODAY Sports)

Here is the roster as of today:

Seniors: Donovan Jackson (G), Hans Brase (F), Jeff Beverly (F)

Juniors: Nick Weiler-Babb (G/F)

Sophomores: Soloman Young (C), Jakolby Long (G)

Freshmen: Cameron Lard (F), Lindell Wigginton (G), Terrance Lewis (F), Darius McNeil (G)

Sit out transfer: Marial Shayok (Senior in 2018-19)

Open Scholarships: (2)

Plenty of pressure will be on the newcomers to produce at a high level early. Lindell Wigginton finished as the leading scorer at Oak Hill Academy and saw his star rise with strong performances late in the season. He’ll share the point guard responsibilities with senior Donovan Jackson and they will play together a lot. 5th year grad transfer from mid-major schools have been a mixed bag for Iowa State.  Darrell Bowie and Merrill Holden didn’t produce at the level many expected last year for ISU. The hope is that Beverly and Brase can provide some scoring pop for the front court. What kind of leap can Nick Weiler-Babb have after shaking the rust off last season? And the greatest unknown; what will Cameron Lard be for Iowa State.

Image result for cameron lard Cameron Lard from the Iowa State Daily

It will be a new look team in 2017-18. Steve Prohm has brought in plenty of talent and the middle of the pack appears to be open in the Big 12 next year after Kansas, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas and TCU. Can the newcomers come together early enough to get enough wins in the non conference? And what will the expectations be in the fan base after 6 consecutive NCAA Tournament bids? Plenty of questions to ponder this summer.

Trent Condon provides updates and commentary for the Marty and Miller TV program. You can watch “Marty & Miller” Weekdays from 3:00-6:00 on Mediacom 22 and stream at martyandmiller.com or by downloading the “Marty & Miller” app. Trent also hosts “Jimmy B & TC” weekdays from 12:00-3:00 on 1700 KBGG.

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Iowa Wide Receiver Group Dealt Another Blow

On Friday, the University of Iowa announced that wide receiver Jerminic Smith was no longer part of the football program. Back before the open practice in West Des Moines, it was announced that Smith would not be going through spring drills to work on academics. It appears that respite didn’t help.

The wide receiver position was already incredibly thin. This adds another major blow. Smith had 23 catches for 314 yards and 2 touchdowns a year ago and had a breakout game as a freshman when he caught 4 passes for 118 yards against Illinois. Going into his junior season, much was expected for Smith in a depleted group. The questions grow about the group going forward.

Image result for jerminic smith iowaReese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The only scholarship wide receiver that has caught a pass at the D-1 level is Matt Vandeberg. He was injured a year ago during practice after the Rutgers game with a foot injury. The injury returned and he needed another surgery during the spring. The question remains if Vandeberg will be able to recapture the speed and route running needed to be as productive as he was before the foot injuries.

Image result for matt vandeberg iowa Matt Vandeberg, via The Gazette

After Vandeberg, walk on Ronald Nash is the only wide receiver to catch a pass in an Iowa uniform. Devonte Young played last season as a true freshman, but didn’t catch a pass. Nick Easley is a walk on that is on the spring two-deeps, but is moving in from Iowa Western Community College.

It may be a season where freshman are relied upon at a big level. In the past, Iowa has had some success with freshman including James Cleveland and Dominique Douglas. Iowa is going to have to find some players that can contribute early out of a freshman group that includes Brandon Smith (6’3 198 lb, Lake Cormorant, MS), Max Cooper (6′, 175, Waukesha, WI), Henry Marchese (6’3, 190 Lincolnshire, IL), Ihmir Smith Marsette (6’2, 175 Newark, NJ) & Trey Creamer (6′, 175 Cartersville, GA).

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To compound the issues, Iowa will be looking at a new starting quarterback in 2017. Nathan Stanley was thought to have a leg up heading into spring practice, but it appears to be a 2 man race with him and Tyler Wiegers. Iowa is also installing a new offense with their new offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz. Add it all together and the concerns on who will be catching the football next year are big.

brian-ferentz-kirk-ferentz-0109.jpgUSA Today

Catch the “Hawkeye Swarm” with Marty Tirrell, Dr. Steven Fuller and Trent Condon during the 5:00 o’clock hour on the Marty & Miller program on Mediacom 22. You can watch “Marty & Miller” each weekday from 3:00 – 6:00 pm on Mediacom and stream the show at martyandmiller.com or on the “Marty & Miller” app.

 

Next Year’s Big Ten Basketball Schedule Craziness

By: Trent Condon

In November of 2012, it was reported that Maryland and Rutgers would be joining the Big Ten, making the conference 14 members. Neither brought much to the table in terms of football prestige, but they did add value in terms of revenue with the New York City and Washington, DC television markets. The Big Ten, in conjunction with the Big Ten Network (BTN) wanted to get the network into those markets on the basic cable/satellite packages. In those terms, mission accomplished. But in order to appease these new members and grow the advertising for BTN, the conference has made moves towards the east. Last season the conference basketball tournament was in Washington, DC and next year they will play the tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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A few issues have arisen because of the move next season to MSG. The first is the timing of tournament. Because the Big East still controls the building the week before the NCAA Tournament, the Big Ten will have to play their tournament a week earlier. That means that they will be playing their conference tournament during the same time as the Missouri Valley, MAC and Horizon leagues. It also means that teams will be off for as much as 2 weeks before they play their 1st game in the NCAA Tournament. You have to assume that coaches won’t be excited about trying to shake the rust off in the opening round of the Big Dance.

Another problem that has come up is the regular season schedule for 2017-18. With a week chopped off the schedule because of the early start of the conference tournament, the Big Ten had to find a way to get the 18 game schedule in. Rob Dauster of NBC Sports has an article talking about what the Big Ten will do. http://collegebasketball.nbcsports.com/2017/05/04/big-ten-to-begin-league-play-first-weekend-of-december-in-2017/

The league will play 2 conference games during the 1st weekend of December. Teams will play one home conference game and one road game. The games will be played either Friday/Sunday or Saturday/Monday. Dauster said, “during the final week of November and the first week of December — which will be three weeks after the start of college basketball season and upwards of a month before any other high-major conference starts their league play — the Big Ten will force teams to play one of their most important non-conference games AND their first two league games within the span of six or seven days.”

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The Big Ten is giving up being the lead in to the NCAA Tournament selection show, putting teams at a disadvantage with a long lay off before the Tournament and putting 3 big games early in the season all to get the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden. Everything is for sale. As always, just follow the money for the real reasons for these crazy moves.

 

Trent Condon provides updates and commentary for the Marty and Miller TV program. You can watch “Marty & Miller” Weekdays from 3:00-6:00 on Mediacom 22 and stream at martyandmiller.com. Trent also hosts “Jimmy B & TC” weekdays from 12:00-3:00 on 1700 KBGG.

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Missouri Valley Conference Expansion

A month ago Missouri Valley Conference member Wichita State announced that they were leaving the conference after 72 years to join the American Athletic Conference. It’s the 2nd big blow to the conference after the loss of Creighton to the Big East 4 years ago. Wichita and Creighton are national basketball brands that brought a level of prestige to the conference that can’t be replaced. After the loss of Creighton, the MVC brought in Loyola of Chicago. It appears that the conference is looking to add Valparaiso.

Valpo brings basketball pedigree and have made the NCAA Tournament 9 times since 1996. In 1998, Bryce Drew hit a buzzer beater to knock out Ole Miss as the Crusaders advanced to the Sweet 16. The Crusaders play in the Athletics-Recreation Center, with a capacity of 5,432. It has a fan base that is known to travel well, something sorely needed after losing the fan bases of Creighton and Wichita. With the conference still holding their conference tournament in St. Louis, they need a fan base that will make the trip each year.

Murray State is another program that is hoping for an invite from the MVC. Other programs mentioned include Nebraska-Omaha, UW-Milwaukee, Missouri-Kansas City, Belmont, Oral Roberts, North Dakota State and South Dakota State. It appears that Doug Elgin would like to keep the conference at 10 members. I believe when you look at a program continuing to build, North Dakota State makes a lot of sense. It has a fan base that travels. In football, 10s of thousands of people have flocked to Texas for the national championship game yearly. When they played Kansas in Minneapolis in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, many thought they outdrew the Jayhawk fans. It is a growing fan base, that is willing to travel. It is a school that has an endowment of $138 million. And the oil boom in North Dakota has given many disposable income.

An expansion to 12 teams make sense. You’re cutting the revenue pie a couple of extra ways, but growing the conference is important with these defections. I’d propose a 2 division line up, playing your division mates in home in homes in basketball while playing the other division teams with 3 single plays and 3 more home and homes. That is 19 conference games.

North Division

Bradley

Drake

Loyola

* North Dakota State

Northern Iowa

* Valpo

South Division

Evansville

Illinois State

Indiana State

Missouri State

* Murray State

Southern Illinois

 

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Notre Dame finishes season vs USC

Jay_Wegman
By: Jay Wegman
South Bend, IN

 

The Irish had another heartbreaker last week against Virginia Tech. It followed the storyline of most games this season. Notre Dame has a lead. The game came down to the wire.  Finally, they lose in dramatic fashion. The team played well against a talented team in VA Tech. This group may just be too young to know how to win just yet. The inexperience of this fighting Irish team has shown time and time again late in games.

 

Notre Dame now travels to play USC. This is a tough matchup. USC struggled early but has been playing well recently. They knocked off top 5 ranked Washington.  USC has an explosive offense that can hurt teams on the ground and through the air. Their defense proved it can play by holding Washington’s QB Jake Browning in check. On the other hand, the Irish don’t have a lot to play for. A bowl bid isn’t likely even with a win. Deshone Kizer may be playing in his last game in a Notre Dame uniform. The future first round pick is likely to go after this season.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This game is more just another experience builder for this young team. A win would be a big confidence booster going into next season. Overall, this game doesn’t look promising. Notre Dame’s defense will struggle against the high powered offense of USC. This season needs to be thrown away from the minds of Irish fans and looked at as way to develop the young but talented team for next year. GO IRISH!
Jay Wegman is a freshman at Notre Dame University. He writes on the Irish at MartyandMiller.com.

Notre Dame heads to San Antonio to face Army

Jay_Wegman
By: Jay Wegman
South Bend, IN
Notre Dame suffered another agonizing loss this past weekend.  The team traveled to Jacksonville to face off against Navy.  The Midshipmen’s triple option offense proved too much for the young inexperienced Irish defense.  The Irish ended up losing 27-28.  The theme of close losses continues unfortunately and Notre Dame sits at a disappointing 3-6.
Image result for Notre Dame Navy 2016
This week the team will play another military team in Army.  They’re 5-4 and looking to become bowl eligible.  Army is a lot like Navy in how their offense is run.  The run game is strong due to the option.  It may be an advantage that Notre Dame just played arguably the best triple option team in the country, but the defense didn’t look great against it.  They gave up 320 yards with a 5.7 yards per carry.  Those are scary stats for a team facing another option offense.  On a positive note, Deshone Kizer looked stellar.  He had 3 touchdowns and ran a very efficient offense.  This game will be close (per usual).  My prediction is that Notre Dame having just seen the option offense will be slightly more disciplined and Kizer will carry this team to victory.  Go Irish!
Image result for army football
Jay Wegman is a freshman at Notre Dame University. He writes on the Irish at MartyandMiller.com.

Waterlogged Notre Dame Football

Jay_Wegman
By: Jay Wegman
South Bend, IN

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team is under water — both literally and figuratively. The Irish stand at 2-4 after losing a waterlogged game on Saturday to North Carolina State, 10-3. The game was played despite conditions that bordered on unplayable. In fact, the game did not produce even one offensive touchdown. The scoring was limited to a field goal by each team and a blocked punt touchdown by the Wolfpack.

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The Irish continue to hurt themselves with costly mistakes. Beyond the continued poor play on special teams, the Irish ended a last last minute drive deep in NC State territory when the center snapped the ball early to an unprepared DeShone Kizer. The defense has struggled all season but on Saturday the offense was also ineffective. The Irish were 1 for 15 on 3rd down. The passing game was a dismal 9 completions in 26 attempts.

 

The Irish return home this week but things do not get much easier. They take on their long rival the Stanford Cardinals, 3-2, Saturday night at Notre Dame stadium. If the Irish hope for any chance to qualify for a bowl game, they will need a win on Saturday night. As of Wednesday, Stanford standout Christian McCaffrey was listed as questionable due to an injury against Washington State. Details of any specific injury was not divulged instead generically describing McCaffrey as “pretty beaten up”.

Image result for christian mccaffrey notre dame getty images

 

This weekend is a huge opportunity for the Irish to turn around what to date has been a disappointing season.

 

Go Irish!

 

Jay Wegman is a freshman at Notre Dame University. He writes on the Irish at MartyandMiller.com.

Notre Dame Football blog

South Bend, IN

By: Jay Wegman

 

The Irish have stopped the bleeding.  After back to back disappointing losses to Michigan State and more embarrassingly Duke, Notre Dame found a way to win.  Finally going on the road after three straight home games to Irish traveled to play Syracuse.  This game was a shootout.  The first 10 minutes were action packed with scoring from both sides.  This continued throughout most of the first half.  It seemed like both sides could score at will.  This showed continuing themes of the Fighting Irish’s season.  A lot of offense and not a lot of defense.  A surprising thing about this game was the fact that Syracuse was without three of its starting offensive lineman.  You would think the Irish defense would dial up some blitzes and test this new unit.  However, the Irish still struggled to get pressure consistently throughout the first half. The defense did play much better the second half.  Even though they probably couldn’t have played any worse.  They didn’t give up any points for a span of about 22 minutes and allowed their offense to increase their lead from 6 to 23.

 

This lead was big enough for fans to rest easy for once.  Until the Irish can learn to trust their young and inexperienced secondary they will continue to struggle to get pressure.  This results in opposing quarterbacks to have all kinds of time to pick apart the defense resulting in these high scoring shootout type of games.  Hopefully, this team continues to get better and the offense can start to put games away instead of scoring just to keep them in it.

This week the Irish will travel to play North Carolina State.  The starting time has been announced and kickoff will be at noon.  Notre Dame has some good news and some bad news in this upcoming game.  The good news is running back Tarean Folston will return after turning his ankle in Thursday’s practice prior to the Syracuse game.  Coach Brian Kelly confirmed he will still be an intregral part of the offense and the running game.  The bad news is another blow to the defense.  Cornerback Nick Watkin’s would have likely gotten plenty of time at cornerback after dealing with a shoulder injury throughout the beginning of the season.  An X-ray last Friday was going to show if the bone growth was complete and if he would be healthy enough to start playing again.  However, the results showed his bone growth is not complete and will require additional surgery.  This will sideline him for the rest of the season most likely.  This takes away a possible starter from a position that is thin and struggling.  This week’s NC State game will probably have a similar storyline to every game this season.  A lot of offense and a struggling defense.  Notre Dame will put up points but then struggle to get pressure and the young secondary will give up big plays.  Tackling will be an issue as it has been for the entire year.  Hopefully, the defense can stand tall and allow the offense to get a sizable lead.  This team can still turn it around and make a good bowl.  GO IRISH!