CSR: The Craig Brackins Interview

Cyclone Sports Report goes one-on-one with Craig Brackins on what it would feel like to play for the United States, his take on his new teammates, and whether or not he thinks the Cyclones will dancing during the 2010 March Madness.

Cyclone Sports Report: Six weeks ago you chose to stay at Iowa State. Are you still as happy with your decision as you were that day?

Craig Brackins: Oh definitely and I have had no regrets since I made the decision. I actually am more happier now because we're that much closer to starting to play as a team so that we can do our thing.

CSR: You are going to be trying out for the USA Men's World University Games Team in three weeks. What would that mean for you to play on that team?

CB: You know when Coach McDermott called me into his office to tell me that one of the USA guys had called me I was shocked. It would mean lot to represent your country. Just to look down a the jersey and see USA would be unbelievable. I watched last year when they won the gold and seeing guys like Kobe's face when they won just showed how much it meant to them. Getting to battle other countries playing for that team would really be a big honor for me.

CSR:You said at your press conference that you were talking to a lot of people about your decision including your mom. What was her reaction when you told her that you were staying?

CB: She was really happy and excited for me. She just loves the fact that I'm in college getting educated and having fun. She loves watching college basketball and constantly asks me about certain players. She really is getting to know the game. She even has favorite players that are not me. She respects my decision and is very excited about next year.

CSR: Your solid relationship with the coaching staff is obvious to those who follow the program. Just how important have they been in your life these past three year?

CB: With all their imput that they have given me over these past few years they never sugar coat anything and that is exactly how I want it. They are always straight forward with me and I know that I can always come to them with any issue or problem. We all hang out a lot as a team with them and everything with Iowa State basketball is so family oriented that is has just always made me feel really comfortable.

CSR:You have gotten the opportunity ot play with all three new recruits coming to Iowa State for the 2010 season. How would you describe each?

CB: I'll start with Laron Dendy and just say that he is 6-foot-8, long and athletic and can pretty much guard any position. He can jump out of the gym and plays with an unbelievable passion. I love playing with him because he brings so much energy. Chris Colvin is like Chris Paul in that he is a true floor general. He can get his points if he wants to but he loves to see his teammates score. He is a true winner that is always willing to make the extra pass in order to help the team win. Marquis Gilstrap brings everything. He can shoot, get to the rim, and defend a variety of positions. It's funny because off the court he is quiet but on the court he wants to win so bad and plays with so much passion. His scoring and rebounding will be a huge asset and really take a load off me. I think there will some games next year where he is our leading scorer and that's great as long as we win the game.

CSR: I have guaranteed in one of my articles that if this team stays healthy that you will make the NCAA Tournament. Is my guarantee safe in your opinion?

CB: The way this team should work and with all the talent we have coming in I don't see why not. I'm very confident that the only way we don't make it would be based on something we don't do as a team and I don't see that happening because if we are fully committed to it we should make the tournament based on the talent that we will have.

CSR: What about your game are you most pleased with at this point in your career?

CB: The first thing I would say is rebounding because I had no desire to rebound years ago and now I'm grabbing rebounds in traffic and just consistently showing a knack to do so. I also feel that I have developed a solid post game and I just want to continue to be a force in the post.

CSR:What are the one or two things that you are choosing to work on the most in order to become a better player?

CB: I'm trying to get better defensively so that I can guard the three and four man on a consistent basis. I want to show that I'm a great rebounder throughout the whole season next year and I'm always working on my three point shooting.

CSR: What does it feel like to have become such a huge figure in the eyes of the Iowa State Cyclone fans?

CB: I don't think I fully realized what me staying was going to do for them but I have gotten calls, letters, and its all just been pretty unbelievable in regards to all the love that they have shown me. It's hard to explain but I appreciate all the fans and they are part of the reason that I stayed around for another year because I felt they deserved a winning season next year and I just have to make sure that I don't let them down.

CSR: What do Scott Christopherson and L.A. Pomlee add to this team?

CB: Scott is a real intense player that has already played a few games at Marquette so he understands what winning is all about. His shot is going to help us a lot next year. L.A. is a great kid who I look at like my little brother. He is always willing to learn and he cracks me up because he studies film of some of the older guys like Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon. He's a solid rebounder and shot blocker who is only going to get better.

CSR: Blake Griffin is moving on to the NBA where he will likely be the top pick in a few weeks. Does this mean that Cole Aldrich becomes your biggest challenge in the Big 12?

CB: There is a lot of guys that will be a challenge and Cole is definitely a great player. He's just so long and skilled inside. He's actually a great guy and we always share a laugh when we play agains each other.

CSR: How excited are you to experience the new practice facility?

CB: I'm just so excited and I got a tour about a month ago and I could tell how great it is going to be. I'm very excited that I will get to be one of the first to play in there. It's great because I live about a 45 second jog from the facility so I'll be there all the time. I'm not a big sleeper so I might be going there in the middle of the night to gets some extra shots up.


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