"The people at Iowa State are tremendous. There is a real family atmosphere here and the fans are very knowledgeable. The people here are special." This is what Eric Brown had to say about the fans and people around Iowa State University. For those of you who do not know him, Eric Brown is the new men's assistant basketball coach at Iowa State. In his short tenure at ISU, Coach Brown has been extremely busy. The first time I tried to speak with Coach Brown, he was on the other line and could not answer my call. Within 10 minutes, Coach Brown called back and explained he was on the other line with a recruit. This is actually his primary role during the summer, especially in the month of July. Of course I was not offended; I know where the priorities lie!
In speaking with Eric Brown, it was easy to see he has a real fire for his profession. Each question I posed was answered honestly, passionately and with respect, even for an aspiring contestant on The Reporter. Coach Brown showed a lot of patience with me as I asked some questions he could not give me answers to. Some of these were dealing with recruiting which he could not give details of. Another topic I inquired about was off-season workouts. The off-season workouts are conducted by the strength and conditioning coach. Brown is not allowed a whole lot of contact with his players until practices begin.
In addition to summer workouts, the players are keeping busy by playing in the Capitol City Basketball League, attending Cyclone Club meetings and assisting with basketball camps in Ames and around the state of Iowa.
One aspect of the game I wanted to know from Coach Brown was how the outside shooting situation at Iowa State was progressing, specifically regarding Curtis Stinson, Will Blalock, Tasheed Carr and Rahshon Clark. Unfortunately, Coach Brown was not able to give many details as he has not had a chance to see this group shoot a whole lot. "They are working diligently though and we will not know until November how their shooting is coming along," Brown stated.
Much has been made about the recruiting class Iowa State signed for 2005. With names like Shawn Taggart, Theo Davis and Farnold Degand, the expectations by some are high within the Cyclone Nation for the upcoming 2005-2006 basketball season. In addition to these highly touted recruits, Iowa State has some remarkable talent returning in Stinson, Blalock, Carr and Clark. Coach Brown was asked if the fans may have too high of expectations based on the previous years of success for the team. Brown's response was, "I am not aware of any expectations from the fans." He went on to say that these are different teams and different years and nobody sets higher expectations for the team then the coaches. "What are those expectations? Are they a specific number of wins to try and achieve?" "We as coaches do not put a certain number of wins on the board," states Brown, "You can really cut yourself short if you do it that way." What Brown and the staff do is approach each game with the same intensity and they do not look past any opponent, including exhibition games.
With the graduation of Jared Homan, there is a large hole in the middle to fill. How can Iowa State make up for the loss of Jared Homan? There were several post players that committed to Iowa State for the class of 2005. Taggart, Hubalek, Gray and Marsden they and every other post player will contribute somehow in the upcoming season. Brown states that all the recruits are talented and fulfill different roles on the team. The players can all run, block shots and shoot the ball well.
Two of the highest publicized players of the 2005 recruiting class were Theo Davis and Shawn Taggart. When asked about the contributions these two will make to the team, Brown acknowledged that recruiting rankings are nice, but there are several adjustments necessary going from high school to the college level, especially into a conference like the Big 12.
Coming into the 2005-2006 basketball season, Brown does not have any concerns about the team. He is pretty excited about what the players can do. Anthony Davis is 100% healthy and ready to play.
What should fans expect of Brown as a member of the coaching staff? "I want fans to know that I will bring energy and passion for the ISU family. I want to contribute as much as possible to improve this program. I want to know at the end of the day the program is better then when I started the day."