This week I’ve had calls to ask questions on Twitter and forums. Let’s unpack the mailbag and answer some of the best I’ve got:
Ted Flint on Twitter: Who ends up on the Choo Choo Motherf*cker train this year?
The obvious answer to this is the start of a new quarterback Hunter Deckers. It won’t have the same effect as those times when Breece Hall would go downhill and start causing problems for opposing teams, but it will certainly happen when the Dekkers make a high-profile throw or are clearly caught up in what he’s trying to carry out the offense.
Xavier Hutchinson would also be a solid choice. He’s in for a big season for Cardinal and Gold monsters and can put numbers up at the elite level if the rest of the parlour progresses slower than expected.
Lee on Twitter: You and Scott pick your 5 favorite solo offensive moves (not necessarily the best/most efficient) in ISU b-ball the last 10 years, such as:
– Photo off curl
– Jeff Beverly’s short corner
– Shayok stepback
– drive nyang from the key
– Monty buoy
– IZB Long 2 from ISO
I won’t get Scott to make a list, but here’s a list for me:
1. Leading George Niang from the top of the key: The movement of the foot, the myriad of different finishing movements once he lands, the touch around the edge, the ability to get out of every move he makes. It would be hard for Cyclone to match the level that George has played on a consistent basis in my mind.
2. A Step Back Mariel Chayuk: His jump jacket to beat Kansas State at the 2019 Big 12 was one of the toughest clutch shots I’ve seen live. He was one of Iowa’s top scorers in recent memory. If he had taken the step back to the right, it would have made bottoms almost every time.
3 – Monty Morris buoy: Not many college-level players I’ve seen have mastered buoyancy like Mont Morris. It was such a good finish around the edge naturally, but a float in the fairway took his game to another level with the ability to change speeds and manipulate defenders like a pitcher on the baseball field.
4. Tyrese Haliburton Fishing and Catching Hop: I know this wasn’t on the list, but Haliburton was as good at pickup and photo shoots as anyone in Iowa this side of Tyrus McGee. The shot never looked pretty, but man, it sure did look pretty when it went over the edge.
5. Isaiah Brookington’s Long Solitude: It was one of those things that I felt should never have worked in today’s basketball era, but it almost always worked. It can be rough on nights when the IZB is off, but you expected him to do it every time when he was on.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Beverly’s Short Corner Jacket: He is and always will be the mid-range maestro for a reason. I saw it was Jeff’s birthday earlier this week. Happy belated birthday to the short corner king!
Josh on Twitter: Does your opinion of NIL change depending on the sport? Looks good for soccer and terrible for basketball.
I don’t know it’s necessarily better or worse for either sport, but I think the issues are definitely more pronounced in basketball with fewer players to track in a given roster. When two or three players leave your soccer team to find better NIL chances, you hardly catch your eye because there are more than 80 other players on the team.
When one basketball player does the same thing, as we found out this spring, it can turn out to be a complete and total breakdown of the fan base, because one player means so much when you only have about ten of them.
Greg Mackey on Twitter: Who’s more right about Alanis Morrissette. Brent Bloom MCW?
A brief overview of explaining how I will answer this question.
Here’s a direct quote from a text message the CW sent me on Tuesday, “Rapper Drake is absolutely terrible. No idea how popular he is.”
Keep in mind that Drake has sold nearly 170 million records to make him one of the best-selling artists of all time, and has 10 albums topping the charts. painting 200 and 10 singles that was #1 on painting hot 100.
Obviously, Drizzy has done something right in his career to achieve that kind of success, and I think that includes (to a large extent) making really good music that just so happens to have benefited from a formula to achieve massive success. His latest stuff isn’t right for me, but I respect that others might enjoy it.
I’m saying all of that to say that I’m not sure The CW is the guy I’d go to for a solid, balanced, and unbiased opinion on music.
That’s definitely nothing against Alanis because she’s made some really great songs, but I’m going to have to stand my son Blum on this one. Just like Drake, Alanis achieved gold by finding a really successful formula and then ran with it to massive success on the charts and in record sales.
Joshua Kaiser on Twitter: Where is Iowa in the new Big 12? With Oklahoma and Texas leaving, I’m not necessarily sure how that will affect the current big 12 teams’ recruitment, but I’m sure the powers will change a bit.
I think Iowa State realistically sits somewhere at the bottom end of the top to the middle of the Big 12. Baylor seems poised to be a force for years to come, especially in football and men’s basketball. Oklahoma is always going to be really good as long as Gundy is around, and they have the fact that they’re right next door to Texas for sale.
Houston and California State University will have the hiring advantage of being in the state’s most talent-rich megacities at the conference. Cincinnati would have the advantage of a large recruiting base over Iowa. Same with the UCF, particularly in the football field.
The past school year proved that Iowa has the potential to have one of the best all-around sports divisions in the league with the success of its Olympic sports, but I think there is a case to be made for all of the previously mentioned schools with better initial conditions to work in football and men’s basketball than they did It’s Iowa.
ISUCyclones2015 on the forums: If you could be homeless in any city in the world, where would you be?
Well, I’d rather not be homeless at all, but for the sake of exercise, I’ll say a place where I can sleep on the beach every night by the ocean. It’s better somewhere to have a lot of money to share with the homeless in the city when I’m standing by the highway with my cartoon sign.
My second choice would be where the CW lives because I saw that guy buy a bag of cookies from a homeless woman he felt bad about at a bar in San Antonio around 2:30 a.m. I saw him walking down the street and I know there are strong chances that I’m eating Well tonight.
JM4CY on the Forums: The soccer site group that drools the most from birds.
Literally everyone I spoke to about this year’s roster loves the guys on the Cornerback team. There is a feeling that they have elite talent in this position and they have some depth that gives them flexibility to do different things with these guys.
We’ve seen flashes of TJ Tampa and Tayvonn Kyle over the past several years. Myles Purchase has the potential to be a great and great player. Darien Porter’s development will be exciting to watch as he switches from a wide receiver to an angled one, but he has the tools to be very good at the job.
This is the group I’ve heard the most about going back to early spring.
Cyclonepride on the forums: For basketball, do you think last year’s attack was a one-off tailored to this team’s strengths, or is this a fundamental offense? And if it was the latter, how much would they change from year to year to adapt to their list skills?
I think a lot of what Iowa State did offensively last season was built around the skills of its roster rather than being a platform for TJ Otzelberger and his crew to have stopped running. Offensive improvisation wasn’t the strength of last year’s team outside of Tyrese Hunter who went into a bad position against LSU and some glamorous games from Izaiah Brockington (most of which were still the product of an offensive system built on Izaiah’s strengths).
This lack of ability to improvise led the staff to have to run a crime that was highly organized and consisted primarily of men going from point A to point B in order to get the look they wanted. We also know how hard they struggle to score on a consistent basis, which has made shooting time by running your stuff useful in situations where they can’t get out and run.
In the future, I expect to see more of the improvisational aspects that we were used to during the glory years of early to mid 2010s, but you have to have players who can implement this style of basketball before you can do it effectively.
If you thought Iowa’s crime was really horrific last year, I’m not sure you would have wanted to see the outcome if there had been more freedom within the structure of the system.
Jkclone15 in the forums: How often will Iowa go to junior ball this year, especially before Tre King is eligible, and who plays in that lineup?
The answer to this probably depends on whether you think a guy like Hason Ward, 6ft 9ft, is a little ball type player. If you do, there will certainly be situations where Iowa plays a “small” role.
With that said, the presence of Osunniyi and Ward should give Iowa State a chance to play effectively with a real center on the ground surrounded by four more guards than it did last season.
I don’t think there will be nearly as many situations where we see Jazz being play the five as we did last year, but maybe he can play all four alongside a guy like Tre King once he’s eligible to play for as long as possible. Gang recovery is effectively defensive.
For the sake of discussion, here’s what I expect Iowa’s starting lineup to look like at this point and what a potential junior ball lineup would look like early in the season:
A small ball
shadow on the forums: Favorite ISU game/event you’ve been to? It could be bowl games, basketball tournaments, etc.
The first weekend of the NCAA Championship last season in Milwaukee was really special. There is something to be said for walking into hostile territory like Iowa did and pacifying the home crowd.
The 2015 and 2019 Big 12 tournaments will always be special to me too.
The only correct answer is the 2021 Fiesta Bowl. I was one of the few lucky enough to be in the building and I’m not sure there’s going to be something that tops Iowa’s vision to not only win the New Year’s Six Ball game but physically dominate the game basically from start to finish.
I’m not sure I even thought about the possibility of Iowa doing what it did on that point before I saw it happen with my own eyes. We’re not supposed to show emotion or anything like that in a press box, but I’ll admit now that it was one of those moments where it’s hard to hold back a cheery tear or two. It was really, really special for this guy who credits everything he has to the decision to go to Iowa State University.
There will be plenty of Big 12 and NCAA tournaments, but there will never be a first like the one that showed up that afternoon in Glendale.