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NCAA countdown: No. 39 Iowa State
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On September 18, 2013 @ 12:38 pm In NCAA,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
The first word: Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg knows he can’t beat fellow Big 12 coach Bill Self at recruiting the most dazzling freshmen in the country. While Self was luring in Andrew Wiggins, Hoiberg was utilizing a less mainstream recruiting practice.
Very few coaches have made better use of transfers than Hoiberg, who’s revitalized the program he once played for with back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament. Each of those appearances was the product of some of the best transfers finding a place to not only fit in, but excel. Last year’s top players included Utah transfer Will Clyburn, Michigan State transfer Korie Lucious and Penn State transfer Chris Babb.
All three of those players are gone from a team that was an Aaron Craft buzzer-beater away from the Sweet 16 — leaving the cupboard bare for Hoiberg. But counting Iowa State out has become the norm, as the Cyclones were picked to finish eighth in the Big 12 in preseason projections each of the last two years. Instead ISU finished tied for third and fourth. And Hoiberg’s teams didn’t just get to the NCAA tournament, they won there. The Cyclones stunned Connecticut in 2012 before losing to eventual NCAA champion Kentucky, and last season they pulverized Notre Dame by 18 points before falling to Ohio State in the third round.
The reason not to count Iowa State out this season: Marshall transfer DeAndre Kane, an all-Conference USA guard. Hoiberg’s recruiting pitch wasn’t difficult. “We were able to point out the success we’ve had with transfers at our program. I think that’s really appealing,” he said. “When I first got here, we were able to get a lot of transfers from big programs, and we’ve continued to look that route. But it was never planned, and we have a talented freshman class this year. We’re simply trying to figure out how to put the best product out on the court.”
Coach’s corner: “Our goal is to compete for championships and play in the tournament each season. I don’t see why those expectations would change.” — Hoiberg, now in his fourth year at … [For more on College basketball countdown: No. 39 Iowa State, click here.]
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