Blog: A lot of hoops to still be played

Chris Williams

Publisher

Iowa State has lost two basketball games in a row. That seems to be rubbing a lot of Cyclone Fanatics the wrong way. I understand. You are passionate. You want to win. You’re Cyclone fans. That’s a good thing.

We’ve all had some time to cool off after Wednesday night’s 63-60 loss to UNI. The men’s basketball forum meltdown is pretty much a thing of the past now.

I have a few thoughts on the state of the program to get to today. I’ve watched the UNI loss three times now (one in person, two on that awesome invention called a DVR) so I feel pretty comfortable handing out this analysis.

I’m not a basketball coach people. I don’t try to play one though my computer screen either. During a specific basketball contest, guys like Greg McDermott and Ben Jacobson are thinking about aspects of the game that wouldn't cross my mind.

I can admit that. It's a fact.

After studying the last two Iowa State basketball games, here are a few of my thoughts.

Garrett is the key

I don’t know how many times I have written that Diante Garrett would be the key to this basketball team's success this year. I’m nearing at least a dozen now. In the last two losses, this has been even more painfully clear.

In the first four games of this season, Garrett attempted 14 shots. In the last four games, he attempted 37.

Garrett went 6-for-14 against Northern Iowa.

That is a major problem.

Diante Garrett is shooting way too much...again. Two weeks ago, I wrote that DG was an All-Big 12 point guard. That as in irresponsible thing for me to write at such an early part of the season. That’s simply not the case anymore. Garrett’s job isn’t to shoot. It’s to distribute the basketball and make others look good.

If Iowa State has to rely on Diante Garrett’s 3-point shot to win games, it is going to be an awfully long season.

Brackins needs to step up…

We all know that Craig Brackins isn’t getting enough touches. That’s no secret. Why is this the case? I believe it is due to a handful of reasons. You've all hashed those out on the forums though.

Here's what I want to see happen. I want to see Brackins become more of a vocal leader on the court come game time. I don’t know what he is like in practice. I've always heard great things.

But in my book, Craig needs to be demanding the basketball. I'm talking, yell at your teammates if they aren't getting you the rock sort of leadership. He is the one guy on this team where when he speaks up, 11 other guys will listen no matter what the circumstance.

Craig Brackins is what all of those 11 other Cyclones aspire to be. Craig Brackins is a potential lottery pick. He needs to have a lottery pick type of swagger with his game. I haven't seen that out of Craig since the Drake game.

I’m not down on the guy. I know he’ll come around. He’s too good not to. Let's just hope it happens sooner, rather than later.

Dendy’s shot…

Poor LaRon Dendy. The guy has been beaten to a pulp by Cyclone fans in regard to his air ball with around 40 seconds to go, in Wednesday’s loss.

Who’s fault was that debacle of a shot? It wasn’t Greg McDermott’s, I can guarantee you that.

“That’s my fault,” McDermott said in reference to the possession after the game. “I have got to get a timeout before Diante can ever let go of that pass. Again, it’s learning how to win and understanding time and score. Your point guards need to understand it. Your front line guys need to understand it.”

I appreciate McDermott taking the bullet for his player here but he is dead wrong. That was Dendy’s fault and his alone. Dendy is a division one basketball player. Poor coaching didn’t tell him to shoot that ball. He had a lapse in judgment. I won't kill a guy for that. We all have brain farts every once in a while. I do every single day.

Dendy will learn from the mistake. It's that whole "learning to win" thing we keep hearing about.

Take a deep breath…

I realize that Wednesday’s loss was tough, but try to keep things in perspective Fanatics. There is a lot of basketball to still be played this season. Losing to UNI is not a resume killer. The Panthers are a quality basketball team that will more than likely win the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers are on pace to knock off three BCS conference teams (Boston College, Iowa State and Iowa) in their non-conference schedule.

It is never acceptable for Iowa State to lose to UNI or Drake, especially at home. But the season is not over. Iowa State has 23 regular season remaining. Two losses are not the end of the world. Every single person in this world has a right to an opinion. I am a firm believer of that. That's why I love the world of Internet message boards. You can have your opinion. Here is mine.

Calling for a coach to be fired at point in the season is not constructive and in my opinion, extremely premature.

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