ISU basketball loses more players

Jordan Wickstrom

Within the past five months, it would seem the news of a player leaving the ISU men’s basketball team has become more common than the team would prefer.

The list of players deciding to part ways with the Cyclones expanded to 11 on Tuesday when senior forward LaRon Dendy and freshman guard Antwon Oliver announced their intentions to leave the team.

In his only season at Iowa State, Dendy saw action in 24 games last season, averaging 7.3 points per game and was expected to be an important part of the Cyclones’ front court.

Oliver was redshirted his freshman year and did not play.

The duo joins such high profile players as senior forward Marquis Gilstrap, junior forward Craig Brackins and sophomore forward Justin Hamilton on the long list of players leaving the team.

With 11 players departing, first-year coach Fred Hoiberg will only have four players who were on the 2009-2010 roster returning for the upcoming season.

Senior guard Diante Garret, senior forward Jamie Vanderbeken and senior guard Scott Christopherson are the only returning players with starting experience. While freshman guard Bubu Palo spent all of last season as a redshirt.

Garret will enter the season as the team’s leading scorer, averaging 9.2 points per game last season.

While Christopherson, the team’s leader in three-point percentage with .429, will be the only other returning guard. 

In addition to Oliver, the Cyclones have also lost guards Lucca Staiger, Charles Boozer, Chris Colvin and Dominique Buckley. 

With five guards leaving the team, the Cyclones will be forced to fill most of their vacancies in the back court with mostly recruits and transfer players.

However, with senior guard Jake Anderson transferring to Iowa State, the Cyclones may have added a much needed scoring threat to the team, as they have lost 86 percent of their scoring from last year.

Vanderbeken will return from an injury-plagued season as the team’s most experienced post player.

Only four other forwards are currently on the roster, all of which are freshmen.

This leaves the Cyclones with a major size disadvantage. Their tallest player is Vanderbeken, who is 6’11, but known more for his outside shooting than inside presence.

It remains to be seen how all of these losses will affect the team. But with a new coach and a new era beginning for the men’s basketball team, the current youth movement may prove to be just a stepping stone for something greater.