It's 'Celebration Time' at Iowa State

Iowa State landed one of its biggest recruits in Wayne Morgan's short tenure as head coach Thursday, when Mount Zion (N.C.) prep big man Shawn Taggart gave head coach Wayne Morgan a verbal commitment. caught up with Taggart's AAU coach Tony Squire late Thursday night for a Q&A to discuss the big news.

CN: Explain how the recruiting process came to a close with Shawn Taggart.

Squire: He was ready to get this process over with, because it was starting to burn him out a little bit. But I always make sure that these guys understand this is a blessing. There are a whole lot of seniors in the country that would love to have the opportunity and choices you have had to make.

He weighed everything out. John Calipari flew out on a private plane yesterday to talk with him. Wayne Morgan came in today and sat down with him. Shawn told me that he was tired of the recruiting process, and he's going to commit to Iowa State. He felt good about the decision.

CN: What kind of factor was his official visit to Iowa State in his decision?

Squire: He went to Iowa State and had so many people trying to tell him that nothing was out there. But he had a good time and adapted socially. A lot of people tried to scare him away from even taking that visit. He told me that the situations at all of these schools were good, but that he felt really comfortable with Wayne Morgan. He really liked the way the recruiting went and respected the way the assistant coach Darryl Sharp recruited him. He just felt like the staff did a great job.

When he came up there he loved the atmosphere and thought the people were real friendly. It looked like they were really supportive and he picked that up at the football game. All of that played a part.

He also got with the team and felt that he could come out there and help them go in the direction he sees them going with Wayne Morgan. He feels like he can do whatever the team needs him to do.

CN: How intense did the recruitment of Taggart become in the latter stages?

Squire: I hope the people of Ames, Iowa, really understand that Coach Morgan has just won a heck of a recruiting battle. You think of the names he had to go against to pull this one off. John Calipari, Leonard Hamilton, St. John's, and all of these guys. Then you still had people like UCLA, Clemson, and Wisconsin that were in there early. Those schools usually get what they want, especially Memphis. Wayne Morgan and his staff deserve a lot of credit. The people of Ames, Iowa, need to take him out to dinner.

CN: How big of a get is this for the Cyclones?

Squire: Getting a major prospect is so important these days for a coaching staff, because they put so many hours in and so much time and effort in. When you can come up with a victory with your top priority, it's huge. When you can get that number one target, that top priority, that's celebration time. That's what Wayne Morgan and his staff have just done.

They just brought in a big piece of that puzzle. They will have an inside-outside presence that's 6-10. Once Shawn gets in that weight room and gets stronger, the sky is going to be the limit.

CN: It sounds like Taggart is a very versatile player.

Squire: He's going to remind you of a Kevin Garnett-type of player. He can play the two through the four, because he can put it on the floor and can handle it at 6-foot-10. He's going to be a matchup problem for some people. If they put a big four man on him and Shawn's away from the basket, that guy is cooked. He's going to be a problem for a lot of people, because he's just so long and athletic.

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