ISU Keeps Little Cyclone in Ames

Growing up in Ames and following the Iowa State basketball program his entire life, Ross Marsden always dreamed of becoming a Cyclone. But the 6-foot-10 junior also knew he'd be wise to test the waters, and entertained scholarship offers from Iowa and Wisconsin, in addition to the one made by ISU.

The Little Cyclone apparently had seen all he needed Wednesday afternoon when he announced his future intentions at a press conference in his high school.

"I'm happy with it and it feels right to go Iowa State," said Ross Marsden, who averaged nearly 12 points and six rebounds a game for Ames. "Coach Morgan and his staff have done a great job with the program this last year. Their improvement from last year to this year was amazing, and just the convenience of being in Ames is nice.

"Plus, my parents can come watch me play whenever they want to. Living in Ames all of my life, I've always been a Cyclone fan. Now I'll get to continue that."

The transition ISU made from the Larry Eustachy situation of last spring to 20-win team this season also made a difference on Marsden's opinion of the program.

"It changed a lot with the improvement Coach Morgan put that program through," Marsden said. "He's done an amazing job with recruiting, too, and getting a lot of good players to come to Iowa State."

Marsden, who is the first commitment for the 2004-05 signing class, figures to step into a favorable situation by staying home. The Cyclones will be losing seniors Jared Homan and Damion Staple after the 2004-05 season, so he'll have a chance for immediate playing time after signing this fall.

"Their guard play is amazing with Stinson and Blalock. It will be a great opportunity. One of the factors coming to Iowa State is that I have a chance to play. Aaron Agnew is coming in and Reggie George will be there, so I'll have to improve myself to play with those guys."

One reason Marsden might want to hit the floor right away in his freshman year is to ensure a matchup with former Ames teammate and Iowa signee Alex Thompson, who will be a sophomore.

"Alex and I are good friends," Marsden said. "When we square off on the court it will be competitive, but until then we'll keep in touch."

The Cyclones and Hawkeyes will square off in Hilton Coliseum during the 2005-06 season.

But first thing's first for Marsden. He'll continue playing for the Martin Brothers AAU team this summer. In fact, the team already played three games at a tournament in Virginia, and will play in Des Moines this weekend in the Iowa Regionals.

Marsden is also one of nearly 150 players that have been invited to compete in the Nike All-American camp in Indianapolis this July.

"It will help me to play against good competition and get more experience," he said. "I also have to hit the weight room and get bigger."


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