Morgan, Sundvold Talk to Staple

New Iowa State head men's basketball coach Wayne Morgan has made his pitch and must have done some convincing on JUCO transfer signee Damion Staple, who has been questioning his initial decision to sign with former men's basketball coach Larry Eustachy.

Now it appears the 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward will take one more trip to Ames before deciding his future, this after some convincing from Morgan and assistant coach Bob Sundvold Thursday. The Cyclone coaches then agreed to honor whatever decision Damion Staple makes.

"Damian agreed to let Coach Sundvold and Coach Morgan come in here and talk to him today," said Southeastern Illinois head coach Todd Franklin. "It was basically like a recruiting visit. They talked to him about the program and what's going on. They agreed to respect what his decision is after this weekend, and if he's not interested in coming to Iowa State they'll grant him his release."

Staple's hurt feelings will be the most difficult to overcome. The Kingston, Jamaica, native felt he was slighted during ISU's recent controversy that ultimately ended in Eustachy's resignation.

But in no way is Staple upset at the two coaches from Eustachy's staff that visited with him Thursday.

"Coach Morgan and Coach Sundvold didn't really need to soothe anything over on their end, because Damian has no hard feelings towards them," Franklin said. "He just is a guy that has to trust the people he is dealing with. He has nothing else other than the people that are in front of him. That's the biggest hurdle they're going to have to cross.

"He's had some hurt feelings from how things were handled. It wasn't very good. They wouldn't call him back for two and a half weeks. He didn't do anything wrong. It makes it very difficult, but he is trying to be open with it a little bit."

If the Cyclones are able to persuade Staple to rejoin the mix, they would retain at least four of the five recruits signed for the 2003-04 season. Since Morgan took over as head coach, East Coast preps Will Blalock, Reggie George and Curtis Stinson have confirmed they'll be coming to Ames.

Tacoma (Wash.) Community College swing-man Justin Holt, however, could become a casualty of the NCAA Clearinghouse.

Staple, who earned second-team All-American honors this season after averaging 15.3 points and 8.6 rebounds, is a former teammate of Cyclone point guard Tim Barnes.

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