Hilton Coliseum says goodbye to four Cyclones


Photo: Zunkai ZHAO/Iowa State Daily

Diante Garrett, the Guard of ISU Men’s Basketball, tries to lay up. Cyclone delivers the Bulldogs their worst ever defeat in a series that began in 1908, 91-43 Wednesday in Hilton Coliseum. Photo: Zunkai Zhao/Iowa State DailyPhoto: Zunkai Zhao/Iowa State Daily

Chris Cuellar

When Diante Garrett, Jake Anderson, Drew Mitchell and Jamie Vanderbeken walk off the floor Wednesday night, whether they win or lose, their time to play with the lights on and Cyclone Alley watching will be up.

All four seniors have taken vastly different routes to get to their final college home game in their careers.

The drama of that moment may not hit this select group of ISU seniors on the aptly titled Senior Night, but it will hit them like an intentional foul eventually.

“All those guys will be missed tremendously,” said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. “People talk about the group of guys we’ve got sitting out, but we’re going to miss those guys a lot.”

Garrett has played every possible home game in his four-year career.

Vanderbeken transferred in three seasons ago and battled through injuries to show off his smooth stroke at Hilton Coliseum.

Anderson just arrived this season from Northern Illinois and made an immediate impact on the young team with his guidance and tenacity.

Mitchell has seen action in six games after closing out his eligibility with the ISU football team and joining the basketball team in a time of need.

They’re all still teammates walking off their comfortable floor for the final time.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet, being my last game,” Garrett said. “I want to play college some more, it’s just fun. It’s going to be real emotional, real exciting.”

Hoiberg appreciates Garrett’s play and leadership this season. At 17.2 points and 6.1 assists per game, the Milwaukee, Wis., native is having one of the single best offensive seasons of any Cyclone guard in the last decade.

“I’ve always been a fan of Diante, even in my previous jobs when I came down and scouted games at Iowa State just because of how good he is with the ball, how fast he is with the ball,” Hoiberg said. “He’s done a great job being a vocal leader for our guys. He goes out there and never gets tired. He finds a way to leave it all on the floor and still have some in the tank.”

Garrett has battled through a coaching change, roster overhauls and for his final game in the cardinal-and-gold, his family and friends will be covering Ames en masse to support “DG.”

“All my family is coming down, my dad, and even my son [10-month old], Dayton,” Garrett said. “He’s little, little DG.”

Vanderbeken is excited to be healthy for his last game, but doesn’t want the pressure to affect his performance. The 6-foot-11-inch Canadian will likely exit the program with the second-highest 3-point shooting percentage in ISU history.

“I feel like I’ve been in school forever, but I’m looking forward to just having one last win at Hilton,” Vanderbeken said. “I usually don’t get too overly excited, but it’s my last game I don’t know how I’m going to come out.”

Anderson’s tenure hasn’t been as long or tumultuous as his other senior teammates, but the former NIU point guard has shown his off-ball skills and received a chance to advise a young group.

“He’s the type of kid that came right into my office when he signed with us and said, ‘Coach, what do you need me to do? I’ll try to be a leader out there for our guys,'” Hoiberg said. “He’s been great all season. He has a knack for the ball.”

If the current roster holds for the Cyclones, next year’s team would have three seniors on the roster.