Hey basketball junkies. Your time has come.
The Iowa State men’s basketball team will begin their exhibition season on tonight when Black Hills State of the NAIA comes to Ames. Black Hills State is certainly no division one roster, but they’re actually a very good team in their perspective level of play. The Yellow Jackets return three All-Americans from last year’s roster that recorded 30 wins and reached the National Semi-Finals.
On Friday, the Cyclones will wrap up their exhibition season at home against UNC-Pembroke.
Here are some notes as to what I’ll be looking for tonight in Hilton
1 – The point guard play…has Dominique Buckley made strides since his awesome end to last year? What about Chris Colvin? Where is he at right now? Has Diante Garret made the type of progress during this off-season that we saw between his freshman and sophomore years? If he has, I really think he could be one of the top points in the league. We need to see that progress though.
2 – I’m anxious to see Justin Hamilton play. Coach McDermott’s eyes lit up when talking about Hamilton during media day. His work ethic is off the charts and Hamilton has raw, previously untapped talent that is extremely rare to see in division one basketball. As a freshman, Hamilton averaged 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. He won’t be asked to score a whole lot more with the addition of Gilstrap on this year’s team. I’d sure like to see that rebound number up above five though. Hamilton’s weight is now at 260 pounds.
3 – Scott Christopherson – I think he is going to be a huge surprise to many this season. I don’t think he’ll be a 15 PPG surprise, but a guy who can hit some big shots. The guy is a lights out shooter but rumor has it his defense is coming around as well. I want to see him challenge Lucca Staiger for a starting spot at the two at some point down the road. This is nothing against Lucca. I’m just a firm believer that competition within a roster is a major positive. Plus, it’s really hard for me to imagine a night where both of these guys are “off.” I’m impress with Christopherson’s dedication to playing hard defense. Scott Christopherson is a mature basketball player. A team can’t have enough of those.
4 – Speaking of surprises, Laron Dendy is a man who will more than likely turn some heads in 2009. He’s known as being an awfully mean defensive threat. During media day, Dendy told me that his favorite thing to do on the basketball court is block shots. A swat or two should excite Hilton Coliseum. Time to prove it on the hardwood young man. I’m excited to watch Laron Dendy play. 5 – L.A. Pomlee – What’s the deal here with the 6-foot-8 red-shirt freshman? Has he made enough progress over the course of a year to prove himself able to contribute to this team at any point this year? I really have no idea. I hope so. He should get quite a bit of playing time during the exhibition season. Pomlee is now at 240 pounds and it’d be nice if he could work a few defensive minutes this season.
Also: Bill Fennelly’s Iowa State women’s basketball team began their exhibition season with a victory on Sunday afternoon in Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State routed Dubuque 99-57 in a game where seven Cyclones finished in double figures. Jessica chroll, a freshman led the Cyclones in scoring with 18 points. The Cyclones will be in action again next Sunday as Minnesota Crookston comes to town. Tip-of is schedule for 2 p.m.