By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
This season was supposed to be an appetizer. Cyclone fans were only supposed to get a small taste of the juicy prime rib dinner that Fred Hoiberg and his staff were preparing to serve up in 2011-12.
But out of nowhere, those blasted Cyclones are 14-4 (1-2), with a legitimate chance to play postseason basketball, somewhere.
During his weekly Monday press conference, Hoiberg gave reporters a very small, but interesting peak of what his transfer-charged lineup could look like next season.
“I envision lineups where we will go small with Chris Babb at the four,” Hoiberg said. “We’ll space it with those guys and put a guy like Royce White in the post. It will be a tough lineup to play against. We’ll have mismatches on the other end but I like three vs. two on that end of the floor.”
Forty minutes of hell in Ames?
Seniors Diante Garrett, Jamie Vanderbeken and Jake Anderson are the current Cyclones set to not be around next season.
Is DG a pro?
Within the Big 12 Conference, he ranks sixth in scoring first in assists, third in steals and second in minutes played. He’s a different player than the guy we’ve seen throughout the last three seasons in Ames. But is Diante Garrett a pro?
“Diante has the size. He has the quickness. He has the stamina. His defense has been great,” said Hoiberg, who would know.
Just look at Saturday’s 72-57 win over Baylor for proof about DG’s defensive growth. At one point in the game, Garrett approached Hoiberg and requested to guard the Big 12’s leading scorer, LaceDarius Dunn.
“We put him on him and he did a tremendous job of slowing him down,” Hoiberg said. “His shooting has really improved this year. You can’t back off him and dare him to shoot because he’ll make you pay.”
Garrett is now averaging 17.6 points and 6.1 assists per game for Iowa State. Garrett’s 525 assists rank fifth all-time in Cyclone basketball history. Garrett needs two more assists to rank in the Big 12’s top 10 career-assists chart.
He might not be a lottery pick, but Hoiberg thinks that DG has a shot to play in the Association.
Garrett has the flu
According to Hoiberg, Garrett came down with a case of the flu on Monday morning.
“We can’t afford to be getting sick but I know how much DG likes to play basketball,” said Scott Christopherson. “My guess is that when it comes time to play the game, he’ll be back to his normal self.”
Christopherson injury update
If Scott Christopherson’s elbow was bothering him on Saturday against Baylor, he did a nice job of hiding it. Christopherson went 5-of-8 from long range in the win to score 17 points.
“I got that shot before the game and it kind of numbed up my elbow, which kind of allows my elbow to have that full range of motion that I am used to having,” Christopherson said on Monday morning. “Yesterday, I woke up and it was a little sore. It was a little sore today. I anticipate that we will be able to get it ready to go for Wednesday and hopefully it will be as close to 100 percent as it can be.”
Christopherson is Iowa State’s second leading scorer this season, with an average of 14.4 points per game. His 3-point percentage is currently right at 50 percent, going 54-of-108 from long range through 17 games.
Hoiberg on the Big 12
Fred Hoiberg’s choice for the Big 12’s biggest surprise shouldn’t shock you. Colorado’s 3-0 start to league play has opened quite a few eyes around the nation.
“We just got done watching the Colorado vs. Oklahoma State game and man, they are playing with confidence,” Hoiberg said. “They are out there firing shots. They are going out there without any fear. They are playing a fast, up-tempo, exciting style of ball that Tad Boyle has brought to Colorado.”
“Other than that, everybody is bunched up. You have a couple teams at the top who are undefeated but then you have a lot of teams where we are right now. This is an important week for us with these two road games and the two coming home.”