Some things in sports are alone worth the price of admission: a tight, humming football spiral, a disgusting 12-6 curveball, the snap of a nylon net.
Iowa State freshman Matt Thomas can induce the latter, perhaps better than most players in the country. The No. 58 player in the 2013 recruiting class arrives a perfect fit in Ames with head coach Fred Hoiberg, whose 48.3 percent clip from three-point land led the NBA in 2004-05.
In three varsity seasons with Onalaska High School in Wisc., the 6-foot-3 Thomas shot 35.8, 46.8 and 41.4 percent from downtown, respectively.
Thomas' form is smooth, absent any tics or hitches. He'll continue to work on his footwork, to make sure his base is set before he gets the ball, so he can fire before a charging defender gets in his face. At the college level, defenses will rotate quicker and sounder. And he'll make sure not to unnecessarily fade away from the basket.
As far as shooting fundamentals are concerned, that's all Hoiberg will help Thomas with.
"I ain't tweaking that shot, I'll tell you that," Hoiberg said.
In the Cyclones' win over Augustana Sunday in the exhibition, Thomas missed his first three-point attempt, from the right wing, entering halftime with four points on 1-for-3 shooting.
It didn't take long for him to get going after intermission. Thomas drilled three in the left corner, then hit two more on the left wing. Toss in a layup and three foul shots, and by the time Thomas went to the bench with the game out of reach, he had an eye-opening 16 points to his name."I wouldn't say I was nervous, as a whole team we just got off to a slow start," Thomas said. "In the second half my teammates were getting me open shots and I was knocking them down."
That kind of efficiency — three three-pointers in a little over four minutes without a miss — will make for a delirious Hilton Coliseum, spoiled recently by trigger-happy long-range shooters.
"You can't sit and think about, Oh should I take this shot or should I pass it? You've got to be ready to catch and shoot it," Thomas said.