EDITORIAL: Diante Garrett signs with NBA, ISU basketball expectations rise


Photo: Kendra Plathe/Iowa State Daily

Guard Diante Garrett drives in for a layup against Colorado’s Cory Higgins during the Iowa State – Colorado game held Wednesday, March 2 at Hilton Coliseum. Diante Garrett had 16 points for the night.

Editorial Board

As of Monday, Diante Garrett signed with the Phoenix Suns, making him the 20th player from Iowa State to sign in the NBA.

Diante is nothing short of a feel-good story. For those younger or new students who didn’t get the privilege of watching him, Garrett was a senior two years ago who led a team that only went 3-13 in Big 12 play.

But it was also a team that only went six-deep most nights.

Garrett led that team in points, assists and steals, but he did more than that. He was the facilitator and ran the show, which was all the time — Garrett averaged upward of 37 minutes per game.

He led a young group of players, battling every single night, losing seven Big 12 games by less than six points — two of which were in overtime. Even with the odds stacked against the team, the fans showed up night after night, with hope of a Big 12 upset.

As long as they had Garrett, they had a chance.

He simply stole our hearts, mesmerizing us with the quickness that someone with his 6-foot-5, spindly frame could blow by a defender with.

That was the first year Fred Hoiberg was the coach at Iowa State. He helped Garrett’s development, nearly doubling his point total the next year.

Garrett was projected as a second-round pick before going undrafted in 2011. He then spent time playing for KK Zagreb in Croatia and JSF Nanterre in France, before he played with the Phoenix Suns’ summer league team and was eventually signed to the roster.

That was only two years ago. Now, “The Mayor” continues to develop his players and brings in bigger players along with him.

Everyone knows about Royce White, who was the 19th Cyclone basketball player to make an NBA roster after being selected 16th overall by the Houston Rockets.

Hoiberg just brought in his first major class of freshmen, led by the first ESPN Top-100 recruit in years with Georges Niang. Already looking toward next year, Hoiberg has two top-100 recruits already committed.

The bottom line is that fans of ISU basketball now have back that privilege of expecting Hoiberg to bring in talent, develop the talent and then send it off to the NBA.

A pretty good privilege to have, we’d say.