Another East Coast Guard Joins Deep ISU Backcourt

Iowa State's fall signing class is now officially complete after Boston (Mass.) O'Bryant point guard Farnold Degand signed his name on the dotted line in a ceremony held at his high school yesterday. Degand joined three other players that signed with the Cyclones late last week.

"Farnold is an extremely talented young guard who we feel has an extremely bright future a head of him," ISU head coach Wayne Morgan said in a release announcing the class. "We are really happy to be able to sign him."

The 6-foot-4, 165-pound Degand expressed how happy he was to finally get the recruiting process over with and become a part of Morgan's program in Ames.

"It feels great to get all of the weight off my shoulders, worrying about where I was going to school and how I was going to do," said Farnold Degand, who averaged 18.1 points and 6.2 rebounds as a junior at O'Bryant. "Now I can just focus on the basketball side of things."

While Mount Zion (N.C.) power forward Shawn Taggart will be looked upon to contribute immediately, Degand is likely a redshirt candidate. But that's actually a luxury for the point guard-rich Cyclones, as Will Blalock, Curtis Stinson, and Tasheed Carr will return to the court in 2005-06.

"This gives me a chance to learn and improve as a player watching those guys play," Degand said. "I also felt like it was a great place where I could focus, do what I want to do, and be successful at what I want to be. I felt comfortable with the coaches and players. That was very important to me."

Degand chose the Cyclones over Division I programs such as Northeastern, Boston University, Ohio State and Nebraska. Fresh off the summer circuit with Leo Papile's BABC AAU squad, Degand originally committed to the Cyclones in mid-August.

Another in a long line of East Coast guards to enter the ISU program, Degand in a different mold than his predecessors. His high school coach says that the sky's the limit, as far as his player's potential.

"They're getting a player that has a great deal of potential," said Juan Figueroa. "He's 6-3 or 6-4 and will be playing point guard. He has incredible change of direction in the open court, and incredible ability. He will have the ability to get to the basket and score at his size. He's an above-average passer, so he'll be able to break down defenses, get to the basket, score himself, and get other people open shots. That's an ability you can't coach – speed – and he has that with the ball."

Figueroa praised the job done by the Cyclone coaching staff, particularly assistant Damon Archibald, who began the recruiting process more than a year ago.

"Iowa State did an incredible job of identifying him very early," the O'Bryant head coach said. "They fell in love with the type of player Farnold is, and the type of player he can be. They were very loyal to him, in terms of wanting to recruit him. I was very impressed by the job Iowa State did. They made it very hard for him to say no. That's a testament to Coach Archibald, who was mainly the go-to guy in this process."

Degand will be the unquestioned leader of Figueroa's team this season. O'Bryant is coming off a 17-6 record and Sweet 16 finish at the Division II state tournament. Degand is one of four starters returning to a team with hopes of a Final Four appearance.

The future Cyclone improved his game in a number of areas since last winter.

"He's become much more aggressive," Figueroa said. "Farnold is only 16 years old and won't turn 17 until January. Over the summer time and fall leagues we've been playing in, I've definitely seen his aggressiveness come out more. We're definitely going to need that. He's learned to take over games when games need taken over. He's gotten a lot stronger, and is growing into his body."

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