Degand Prepares for Busy Offseason

Summer may be the key to playing as a true freshman in Ames. That will be Farnold Degand's mindset starting this weekend when he begins a busy offseason with the BABC AAU squad. The Leo Papile-coached team will travel to Virginia for the Boo Williams NIKE Tournament.

Iowa State's fall signee from Boston (Mass.) O'Bryant High School is now thinking twice about redshirting this season and knows that hard work will be the key to making an impression on a team full of returning guards.

"Right now I'm just working out and playing some AAU ball," said Farnold Degand. "I'm trying to get in shape. I just want to earn minutes, do my part, and help the team win as much as possible. I want to get a national championship. I'm leaning towards playing right away. But if I feel like by the time the season starts and I'm not ready and the coaches feel like I'm not ready, redshirting is still a possibility."

The shooting guard averaged 18 points, nine rebounds, and six assists last season. But it wasn't enough to get O'Bryant into a state championship game, as they were defeated in the semifinals.

However, he did earn spots on a number of postseason teams, including the Boston City All-Star Team, Massachusetts All-Scholastic Super Team by Boston Globe, and Boston Herald All-Scholastic Team.

Degand has turned the page and is doing everything possible to prepare himself for college. A young senior, he was eligible to play one more summer for Papile, the same coach that helped tutor current Cyclone Will Blalock.

"The good thing about playing with that team is you know you're surrounded by good people and well-connected people that are going to help you with basketball and know their stuff," Degand said. "It makes it a lot easier while you're playing on the court, because you don't have to worry about doing everything else."

The AAU slate will occupy a lot of Degand's time during the spring and early summer, but he made no secret of which team will have precedent over the other.

"It depends on how they work out the schedule, because school comes first," he said. "Whenever (Iowa State) needs me I'll be doing that. But I'll be playing AAU ball before that. It's great competition and will keep me ready and on my toes. I can see what my weaknesses are during those games and work on them."

Degand wants to improve on two aspects of his game, but admits that one might not be addressed until he arrives at ISU.

"The most important things I need to work on are my strength and jump shot," he said. "My strength is not real good right now and I just can't gain any weight right now. That's been a problem for me the last four years. But my jump shot is coming along real well."

He will have to make quite an impression right away in Ames, since the Cyclones are coming off of an NCAA Tournament season and have guards Blalock, Curtis Stinson, and Tasheed Carr all returning to the mix.

But Degand is excited to be entering the picture.

"I sat back and enjoyed every minute of last season," he said. "They had a wonderful season. They've got a trio of wonderful guards on the team and I think I might be the kid that steps in and gives them that little spurt of minutes they need. Hopefully I will move up to a starting spot later in my career. I think I fit in perfectly."


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