I was able to attend the Capital City League this past Friday and watch many of our current and future Cyclone players prepare for the coming basketball season. It was a great experience being able to sit down and ask a few questions of our athletes, some basketball related, some not. When you're sitting in a hot gym after playing or getting ready to play, the last thing you want is to answer a list of questions. Mike Taylor, Marcus Brister, Sean Haluska, and Alex Thompson (taking a few games off with a bruised thigh) Clayton Vette were not present are players I will have to "chat" with another time. Their game was the late game on this night and my stomach was calling. The players really enjoyed the off-beat questions and it kept them from answering the everyday basketball questions. Enjoy.
1. What part of your game have you been focusing on the most this summer?
Rahshon Clark-"Basically I have been working on my ball handling, trying to attack the rim more and being able to create my own shot."
Diante Garrett-"I need to work on my jump shot and my overall defense."
Jiri Hubalek-"I have been working on all aspects. I'm really working on my strength, trying to get stronger for the Big 12 this year."
Craig Brackins-"Perimeter. I've been working on my shooting and trying to become a better ball handler."
Wes Johnson-"Taking people off the dribble is the biggest thing I'm working on right now. Getting stronger."
Lucca Staiger-"I have been working on becoming more athletic."
Brock Jacobsen-"I have had knee issues and really just started to resume playing. When I
have had a chance, it's my shooting I have been working on."
Corey Johnson-"My biggest thing is my balance on defense. I'm learning to hold my ground and not give up any easy buckets. On offense, just shooting and shooting off my dribble."
2. What is the strongest asset you bring to the team?
L. Staiger-"Definitely my shooting."
W. Johnson-"My overall athleticism."
C. Brackins –"I think I'm pretty versatile. I can do a lot of things."
C. Johnson-"My energy. I try to get in and pick the game up, kind of raise the tempo."
B. Jacobsen-"My 3-point shooting."
J. Hubalek-"Overall passion for the game."
D. Garrett-"Getting others involved, ball handling and being able to penetrate."
R. Clark-"Leadership. I bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm."
3. What is the toughest arena to play in?
This question was pretty much a wash. For the new guys on the team I asked what arena they were looking forward to playing in.
Both Johnson's, Diante, Jiri, and Rahshon thought Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas) was the toughest while Brackins and Jacobsen voted for Gallagher Iba (Okie St.). Lucca was adamant on voting for Alba Berlin in Germany.
4. What are your opinions of the Capital City League?
J. Hubalek-"Good chance to get playing and get to know teammates better."
D. Garrett-"It's a good league. It has given me a chance to get to know and meet some new people."
W. Johnson- "It's good for us. Its hard work and your able to put practice to use."
C. Johnson – "It's decent talent and a lot more competitive than I thought it would be. We get to work on skills and play against new faces instead of each other."
L. Staiger- "It is fun. It's good to get in shape and you get to know your teammates."
R. Clark- "I like it. The players are decent. It's something to do."
C. Brackins- "It's a good chance to play against new opponents. Playing against the same guys gets old."
B. Jacobsen- "It's great. Playing against new competition in front of fans is great."
5. Who is the funniest guy on the team?
C. Johnson- Mike Taylor
W. Johnson- Lucca Staiger
D. Garrett- Lucca Staiger
J. Hubalek- Lucca Staiger
B. Jacobsen- Jiri Hubalek
C. Brackins- Lucca and Jiri
R. Clark- Charles Boozer, "Because he is sneaky funny. He is quiet and waits then says something funny."
L. Staiger- Mike Taylor
The reason Lucca got so many votes is due to still working on the language a little bit. Not everything translates real well and it makes for some funny moments.
6. Where is your favorite place to eat in Ames?
R. Clark- Hickory Park (BBQ Ribs)
W. Johnson- Quiznos, Subway
L. Staiger- Subway
C. Johnson- Hickory Park (BBQ Ribs)
C. Brackins- Coach Mac's house. "Everything's good and I never leave disappointed."
B. Jacobsen- Hickory Park
J. Hubalek- Hickory Park
D. Garrett- McDonalds
7. In your opinion, which game (any game) did you have your best performance?
B. Jacobsen- "I have to go with the S.E. Missouri St., the game right before Christmas last year. I made 3 3-pointers and finished with 9 points."
C. Johnson- "Against #3 Ohio St. last year. I did a good job guarding Greg Oden when I had to. I was able to step out and hit some shots and help the team." Note: finished with 8pts. 4 rebs.
L. Staiger- "A game in Germany I scored 102 points." Note: I tried to ask more about this but really didn't get much.
W. Johnson- "Last year's game at Nebraska. I was able to use my athleticism and make a difference. Winning on the road in the Big 12 is tough." Note: 22pts. 6 Rebs.
J. Hubalek – "At home last year against Nebraska. I played good defense and we won the game." Note: 13 pts. 11 Rebs. This was Hubalek's coming out party. Slowing Maric and getting the win to go 2-0 in conference play.
C. Brackins- "Last year I hit 6-6 on 3-pointers and 28 points at half." Note: Brackins hardly played in the 2nd half as the team rolled approximately a 30 point win. We read about this game here at Cyclone Nation and I was reading his stats back to him when he stated the game. These players are amazed at how much we (Cyclone Nation readers) know about them before they even play a game as cyclones.
D .Garrett- "Last year against Milwaukee Pius going up against Korie Lucious." Note: Garrett couldn't remember stats from the game but had a dunk with about a minute left to seal the win for St. Vincent. Lucious had transferred into Pius that year and he is a D-1 talent himself.
R. Clark- "At home against Virginia (12-6-04) I made SportsCenter's top play with a dunk." Note: I was at this game and it happened to be on ESPN. Curtis Stinson had 30 pts. And a player from Virginia named Dean had approximately 36. Rahshon had the #1 play that night on SportsCenter's countdown.
8. What is the toughest class you have or are currently taking?
W. Johnson- Food Science
J. Hubalek- Environmental Sociology
C. Brackins- Sociology
D. Garrett- English 104
R. Clark- Statistics
C. Johnson- English 105/MicroBiology
L. Staiger- There have been no hard classes yet
B. Jacobsen- Math 151(Business Math)
9. What is one thing most people don't know about you?
D. Garrett- "I put sugar on my Mac & Cheese"
C. Brackins- "I love skateboarding. I wouldn't mind trying to win a medal at the X Games." Craig, please don't skateboard while you're here playing basketball; that's a long way for a man to fall (6'10"). "I don't fall. I'm actually really good."
J. Hubalek- "I love to fish and snowboard."
W. Johnson- "I love to eat pancakes… a lot"
L. Staiger- "I can play the violin."
R. Clark- "I have a tattoo of my fiancé's name on my chest."
B. Jacobsen- "I am related to Jodie Sweetin." Note: She was the middle daughter on the TV show, Full House.
C. Johnson- "I am left handed. I do almost everything but play basketball with my left hand. Basketball for some reason is just easier with my right hand."
10. What are your predictions for the upcoming season?
J. Hubalek- "We are going to surprise some people. We are going to work hard every game and make sure the fans get their money's worth"
B. Jacobsen- "We are going to finish in the upper half of the Big 12 and get an at-large bid to the tournament."
C. Johnson- "Being in the system another year, we will take another step forward and hopefully be able to finish out the close games like Texas Tech."
C. Brackins- "A Big 12 Championship and automatic bid to the tournament."
D. Garrett- "Get to the Tournament."
L. Staiger- "Want to get a lot of playing time and make it to the tournament."
R. Clark- "We are all gonna play hard, pull out the close games and get more wins. It's my last year and we need to get back to the tournament."
W. Johnson- "TOURNAMENT TIME."
11. Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant?
C. Johnson- Kobe Bryant
R. Clark- Wade
J. Hubalek- Rasheed Wallace. Jiri mentioned that Wallace is who he patterns his game after.
L. Staiger- Bryant
D. Garrett- Bryant
C. Brackins- Wade
W. Johnson- Bryant
Note: All who picked Bryant knew that Wade was the player they needed in order to win. They picked Bryant for the entertainment factor. A couple mentioned that Taylor was a huge Bryant fan.
12. What is your favorite movie?
L. Staiger- Saving Silverman
J. Hubalek- Paid in Full (a basketball movie) and Scarface
B. Jacobsen- Billy Madison
R .Clark- Bad Boys II
C. Johnson- Dumb and Dumber
W. Johnson- Love and Basketball
C. Brackins- Happy Gilmore, Love and Basketball, and Finding Forrester
D. Garrett- Love and Basketball
One last thing. Rahshon Clark was nice enough to hang around, after answering my questions, and watch the first half of one of the games. Much of what was said was small talk and will remain off the record. However, I asked if he kept in touch with Tasheed Carr, Curtis Stinson or Will Blalock and he said that he does NOT but wishes that he would. In fact, he didn't even know that Blalock had been waived by the Pistons.
There you go Clone fans. Maybe not the most conventional questions but I hope
it was a good off season read. Coach Mac has brought in a great group of kids
who should be successful on the court.