The Future of Cyclone Hoops

Iowa State might not be playing deep into March this season, but the madness is still being felt heavily in Ames, Iowa. CN looks at what next year's lineup might look like without Will and Curtis.

Iowa State might not be playing deep into March this season, but the madness is still being felt heavily in Ames, Iowa. On one mild winter day, March 15, within the span of three hours this happened.


CBS Sports line writer Greg Doyel wrote a story framing Iowa State in the dead center of a scandal involving thousands of dollars, recruits and scheduling. Within three hours, Iowa State's standout backcourt combination of Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock announce their plans to forgo their senior seasons.


Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock are now gone. The program is on the hot seat of a scandal and Cyclone fans all across the nation are wondering what will happen next?


The answer to that question is unknown, but there is plenty that we do know. Here is a look at what Iowa State's roster could look like heading into next season without their leaders Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson.


2006-07 Projected Starting Lineup


PG- Farnold Degand

-          This young point guard is thought by many to eventually be better than Will Blalock. Here's what Wayne Morgan had to say about the red-shirt out of Boston just last week at the Big 12 Tournament in Dallas.


"Farnold Degand has been playing great. I think that the people in Iowa and that fans across the country are going to think, where did this guy come from? He is really good. From end to end he is as fast as anybody in the country. That's the way we play. The beauty of it is that if we're fortunate enough to have every single player return, and we put three guards on the court other teams are going to have a hard time keeping up."


- Well it turns out that was a huge if in that last sentence.


SG- Lawrence Westbrook

-          The departure of Stinson opens up all sorts of doors for Westbrook. The standout guard out of the Winchendon School has stated numerous times that his main reason for coming to Iowa State was to learn from Stinson and Blalock. That's obviously not going to happen now but I anticipate Westbrook will welcome the challenge. The following is part of an interview that I did with Westbrook's head coach Mike Byrnes a few months ago for CN.


Williams: What was Lawrence's number one factor when he chose to be a Cyclone next season?


Byrnes: I would say Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock. When he went out on his visit and spent time with Curtis and Will and saw the team work out. The coaching staff showed him where he would fit in, in the future. I think the fact that Curtis played at the Winchendon School for two years and that Will played at the Notre Dame Academy there was some common ground there. Those guys hit it off very very well and they convinced Lawrence that it would be a great place to be a student athlete. Lawrence does have some family from that area. He felt very comfortable with his visit and he called me Saturday night of his visit and told me that's where he wanted to go to school.


Byrnes also had this to say in the interview.


"He has a possibility to play with them(Curtis and Will)  everyday and practice with them. They will challenge him every day for a year. As those guys leave there will be some big gaps in the lineup and he will have the same opportunity as any other player to fill some of those gaps."


-          Ready or not Lawrence, your number is going to be called a lot next year.


SF- Rahshon Clark

-          Clark will arguably enter the season as the only set starter in the lineup. Clark will get his crack at being the team leader a season earlier than expected with the departure of Stinson and Blalock. The question is how will he react? Who will he have to pass him the ball? How good of a leader will he be? All of those questions won't be answered until next season but Clark can now get out of the duo's shadow a year early and make his presence felt and become the superstar that he's destined to be. Individually, the duo leaving could be the best thing for Clark's career in the long run.


PF- Jiri Hubalek

-          The only thing that we know for sure about the front court next season is that these young men will have to grow up in a hurry. Next year, the let the grow excuse isn't going to cut it as this once young front court, will be the most experienced part of the team. I give Hubalek the nod at the 4 but the freshman Cory Johnson will make his presence felt in the fight for this position.


C- Shawn Taggart

-          Here you go Shawn. It's now your perfect opportunity to step into the light and show why you are NBA material. What's all of the hype about? Taggart will have his opportunity to show us why next season as he will likely be the second go to guy when it comes to putting the ball in the hoop. Now, if only he can put on 20 pounds.


Key Reserves


Ross Marsden

-          When it comes down to improvement, Marsden deserves to be in the starting lineup. To me, Marsden improved more than any other player on last year's team. He showed me what he had in the first Oklahoma State game. Kenny Cooper was dropping elbows all night and Marsden, who was giving up quite a few pounds didn't back down. He went after Cooper, and that showed me a lot. Marsden will fight for a spot in the starting lineup and will have a great career as a Cyclone.


Jessan Gray

-          Gray is going to be the key backup at both the 3 and 4 positions next year and will also be in contention for a spot in the starting lineup. Gray showed consistency with his 3-point shot last season going 11-22 from behind the arch, but never really had a breakout game for the Cyclones. With more confidence, look for Gray's role to be stepped up dramatically next season.


Cory Johnson

-          Johnson will come right in and be an impact freshman for Iowa State. Don't look at his pictures and CycloneNation and judge Johnson. He's blown up since those pictures were taken and he's now the 6th all-time score in the state of Minnesota. With his ability to go inside and then take it back out and shoot the three, Johnson will get significant minutes for the Cyclones next season.


P'Allen Stinnett

-          I don't see P'Allen coming right in and starting but he'll have a significant role in providing depth in the backcourt.


Brock Jacobson

-          With the departure of Stinson and Blalock, this walk-on all of the sudden becomes a key player to provide depth in the backcourt. Ready or not, Jacobson will be asked to provide depth next season for the Cyclones and hopefully will bring some consistent 3-point shooting.


Second Thoughts About Tasheed?



Many fans were happy when Tasheed Carr decided to transfer just a week ago. After this recent news, the absence of Carr will be felt much more. Instead of playing Tasheed, who's proven himself in tough situations before, you turn to a true freshman in Westbrook.


The Opposite Game


When it comes down to it, next season Iowa State will have the exact opposite problem that the team had this season. Instead of an experience filled backcourt, the guards will literally have never played a D-1 game.


What a difference a year makes. Heck, in this case what a difference one week makes, or even a day. However you choose to look at the state of Cyclone basketball, know this. It's going to be interesting.






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