CSR: One-One-One With Coach Rutter

Cyclones Sports Report caught up with Iowa State assistant basketball coach Jeff Rutter to talk about the Cyclones early season success and what lies ahead for them in Hawaii on Monday.

Cyclone Sports Report: What was the staff most pleased about after last weekend's three victories to start the season?

Jeff Rutter: The one thing right off the bat is that we made progress across the board. We felt really good about how we played Sunday especially showing great energy and effort. I thought we ran the floor well and that led to easy baskets. The defense got back and kind of built a fort which a lot of the time kept dribbling out of the paint. Coach Mac (McDermott) really talked about getting a stop and then pushing it and everyone seemed to run hard which led to a lot of points for us.

CSR: How important is it for this team to have Diante Garrett playing the way he did during the first three games?

JR: I helps immensely because he has a better understanding now of how we want him to play. He's picking his spots on when to push it and he has a better idea where his teammates are in the flow of the offense. He really made an effort outside of practice this summer and it has really led to his growth as a player.

CSR: What does the team still need to work on the most?

JR: We need to show a greater sense of urgency on the defensive end. I thought we showed spurts on Friday and Saturday and then we were a lot better on Sunday in regards to building up our defense. Offensively, we rushed it at times and then other times we would stand too much. We have to play at a speed where we can make good reads and find the open guy.

CSR: What challenges does Hawaii create for Iowa State?

JR: They bring a lot of pressure on defense. They also show a high level of sureness with and without the ball in their offensive sets and transition game. They run a lot of different sets on offense so we will have to be ready to adjust. They also have a lot of new players this year.

CSR: What are the health updates looking like for Wes Eikmeier and Lucca Staiger?

JR: Wes Eikmeier's ankle is pretty close to 100% and with Lucca it's just a matter of getting his conditioning up to speed. We still need to be a little cautious with his knee in regards to not having him do too much too soon.

CSR: How important is it to have the depth on your bench that you showed last weekend?

JR: It's really a nice luxury to have for us. Any time a team has multiple weapons it really adds another aspect to what we can do as a team. Coach would like for us to play more up tempo than we have in the past. On defense, we are able to extend a lot of energy and then keep bringing in fresh bodies.

CSR: What does the staff hope to gain from this trip out to Hawaii?

JR: It's really a great opportunity and can provide several learning opportunities for our team. It allows for growth with team-building both on and off the court since we will be spending most of our time with each other. I feel this is really a tight group and that the bonds will definitely continue to develop. Then there is a lot of other intangibles for our young guys like the experience of playing away from Hilton Coliseum and our home fans. We already had road games with UNI and Iowa but we were able to add this game and the road game at Houston and we feel these games will help us to be better prepared for the rugged Big 12 schedule.

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