On Campus: Brand New in 06

The last three weeks in Cyclone basketball have been as hectic as an extended stay at the Neverland ranch. If you even take time to blink, you fall behind on the latest news. With the transition between Wayne Morgan and Greg McDermott moving at Reggie Bush like speed, I thought now would be a great chance to step back and take a look at what exactly has happened recently and the impact it will have on the future of the program.

New Coaches


T.J. Otzelberger


T.J. is a relative newcomer to the coaching ranks. At only 28 years old, he has had almost no experience in coaching at the college level, spending only one season as an assistant at Chipola Junior College in 2004-2005. So why is Otzelberger on the staff? He has as extensive list of connections that are possible for someone his age. Chipola JC, stationed in Florida, is a powerhouse in the world of JUCO basketball. While there he coached Oklahoma State star Mario Boggan and also a guy by the name of Michael Taylor. Taylor, who I will discuss later, signed with Iowa State last week.


Otzelberger, originally from Milwaukee, spent this year at Double Pump Elite, an AAU stronghold in southern California. As director of basketball ops at Double Pump, he was involved with the day-to-day duties of setting up AAU events and also helped coach three guys who signed with BCS schools (Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon State.) Otzelberger has the pipelines established that McDermott never set up while at UNI. Every year, three or four D-1 recruits emerge from Chipola, and to have a line of communication open with a powerful AAU program like Double Pump is a huge advantage. A good majority of recruiting and scouting goes on at these types of tournaments that he organized and events like the Nike and Adidas camps. There is no question he already has ties to several of the elite players in the 2007 and 2008 classes. Otzelberger has relationships to prominent basketball powers in the Midwest, Southeast, and West. In this age of college basketball, you have to be able to recruit every area of the country. He will be a great asset to Cyclone basketball.


Jean Prioleau


Jean Prioleau (PRE-low) is another up and comer in the college basketball world. At 35 years of age, he has experienced all aspects of basketball. He played professionally for eight years, spending time in the CBA and overseas. Prioleau is from Teaneck, New Jersey and went to school at Fordham, which is located in the heart of NYC. He began his coaching career at Fordham before stints with Mark Turgeon and Wichita St., and last year with Tom Crean and Marquette.


 He is another guy with connections to several areas of the country. Obviously, NYC is a basketball hotbed. To be a native of the Northeast is a huge advantage to get kids from the big cities, as well as the multitude of prep schools in the area. New commit Dodie Dunson went to a prep school in the Northeast, and Cyclone studs Will Blalock, Curtis Stinson, and Rahshon Clark also spent time prepping in that area. McDermott spoke of recruiting outside the state of Iowa only if they need to. Well, with Otzelberger and Prioleau, they have the artillery to reach out and dig into the talent-rich areas.


Jeff Rutter and Ron Smith are the two remaining new members of the staff. Both are solid coaches who helped lead UNI to unprecedented success in the last three years.


Fresh Faces      


Michael Taylor


Michael Taylor is a player with virtually no publicity, but an abundance of talent. It is no coincidence Taylor was the first player targeted in the McDermott era. At 6'2 175 he will capably fill the void that Stinnett, Westbrook, and probably Carr (still not 100 percent gone) vacated. He can play either guard position and has the reputation of being a defend-first guy. With offers from Ole Miss, Minnesota and Tennessee, it is clear he is an upper D-1 level prospect. Look for Taylor to slide into the starting line-up next season. Taylor was a necessary pick-up for Big Mac. He will have two years of eligibility. 


Dodie Dunson


Dodie's numbers don't jump out at you. He only averaged 16.5 points in high school and improved slightly on those numbers while at Brewster Academy. But he was the leading scorer on a team that had several D-1 prospects including Virginia-bound swing-guard Will Harris. He also had standing offers from Minnesota and Tulsa and inquiries from schools such as Illinois and Purdue. The great thing about Dodie is he has three years of eligibility. He is another versatile guard that likes to lock-down on the defensive end.


Alex Thompson?


Thompson has been rumored to be wanting out of his scholarship at Iowa. And his #1 destination would be Iowa State. At 6'9 240 he has size and skill-set that you can't find everyday. He is an intriguing possibility to keep an eye on. If he were willing to walk-on it would be one heck of a bargain.


So with what we know, and my projection of Stinson and Carr not returning, Blalock opting to stay at ISU, and the Cyclones using the extra scholly on a JUCO big guy this year, here is what next year's rotation could look like. "Could" being the key word.



PG- Will Blalock (SR), Farnold Degand (FR)

SG- Michael Taylor (JR), Dodie Dunson (SO)

SF- Rahshon Clark (JR), Cory Johnson (FR), Mike Evanovich (SO)

PF- Jiri Hubalek (JR), Jessan Gray (SR), Ross Marsden (SO)

C- Shawn Taggart (SO), Ross Marsden (SO), JUCO big guy (JR?)



PG Farnold Degand (SO), Dodie Dunson (JR)

SG Michael Taylor (SR), Dodie Dunson (JR), '07 recruit

SF Rahshon Clark (SR), Cory Johnson (SO), Mike Evanovich (JR)

PF Jiri Hubalek (SR), Ross Marsden (JR), Alex Thompson? (JR), '07 recruit

C  Shawn Taggart (JR), Ross Marsden (JR), JUCO big guy (SR?), '07 recruit


From the looks of things, the program has a very solid foundation. The 2008 recruiting class is the key class to taking this team to the next level. That's where Otzelberger's and Prileou's contacts come into serious play. With so much experience returning for the next two years, and the development ability of McDermott and Rutter, Iowa State has the real possibility of being a mainstay in the NCAA tourney.


The last three weeks have been hectic, but the next three years may make it all worthwhile.

AllCyclones Top Stories