MBB: Brackins to go pro; Hamilton, Buckley to transfer


ISU forwards Marquis Gilstrap and Craig Brackins watch the last minutes of the Cyclones’ game against Texas at the Big 12 tournament Wednesday in Kansas City, Mo. Texas defeated Iowa State 82-75. Photo: Charlie Neibergall/The Associated Press

Chris Cuellar —

Another transformation under coach Greg McDermott is complete.

Undergoing yet another facelift at the end of the tumultuous Big 12 season, the ISU men’s basketball team made the announcement on the Friday afternoon before spring break began.

Leading scorer, All-Big 12 player and junior forward Craig Brackins plans to leave the team to enter the NBA Draft, and sophomore center Justin Hamilton and sophomore guard Dominique Buckley plan to transfer to play basketball elsewhere.

Brackins averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in his junior season with the Cyclones, garnering Second Team All-Big 12 honors but dropping off from his 2009 averages. By announcing that he is in the process of hiring an agent, his career as a college athlete is complete. Brackins is in Kansas City to follow the ISU women’s basketball team in the Big 12 Tournament and plans to provide a statement to the media Friday evening, but had this to say in a press release:

“I really enjoyed my experience at Iowa State. The fan support and love I received from the Ames community, my coaching staff and the ISU fans will always be something I treasure. I want to thank the coaching staff for helping me with this decision, and I will always be a Cyclone.”

The 6-foot-10 forward surprised critics by announcing his return to Iowa State in April 2009, and is currently listed as a late first-round pick by ESPN.com.

“Craig has been the face of our basketball program for the last two seasons and has always represented ISU in a first-class manner,” McDermott said. “We certainly are excited to see him thrive as a professional next season.”

Hamilton improved for the Cyclones in his sophomore season, tallying an average of 7.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. He expressed an interest to play closer to home as his reason for leaving the team. The starting center for McDermott’s 2009–’10 squad, Hamilton is an Alpine, Utah, native and was granted his request for release Friday.

Buckley was a reserve guard that saw action in 7.4 minutes per contest for the Cyclones this season, and tallied 27 assists in the season.

“Dominique is seeking a school where he can receive more playing time,” McDermott said.

Brackins had been widely considered as a potential departure from this year’s team, but with a crowded backcourt and transition within the program, Buckley and Hamilton saw it fit to leave just two days after the Big 12 Tournament loss to Texas.

The Iowa State Daily reported Wednesday that senior forward Marquis Gilstrap would not be returning to Iowa State, after McDermott announced his appeal to the NCAA for another season of eligibility was denied.

All of the departures from the 2009–’10 team combined, guards Diante Garrett (9.7 ppg) and Scott Christopherson (8.3 ppg) will be the only returning starters. LaRon Dendy and Chris Colvin — two players who have just completed their first year with the Cyclones — are the only other two scholarship players returning that were active by season’s end.

Check back to iowastatedaily.net for updates as they become available.