Sunday, February 20, 2005

ISU Headed to 'Dance,' Alford Should Be Headed to Door

All right, admit it.

Wayne Morgan is surprising you, right?

Remember, this is the same Wayne Morgan who was the administration’s third or fourth choice to be Iowa State’s basketball coach when Larry Eustachy was told he was no longer welcome in Hilton Coliseum.

You figured Morgan was a recruiter, not a coach, right?

You figured he’d finish .500 or less for a couple of seasons, then be told to take his act to Division II, where he belonged, right?

You sure didn’t figure ol’ Wayne would propel his Cyclones to the semifinal round of the NIT last season in the Big Apple, right?

After his team lost its first five Big 12 games this season, you told your buddies at the water cooler that last season was an accident—even though it was a pleasant accident-- right?

Hey, enjoy it, folks. Iowa State is for real.

Teams aren’t supposed to walk into Allen Fieldhouse on the University of Kansas campus and come out a winner.

But Morgan and his players did just that yesterday. They now have seven straight victories.

They’re up there with the big boys. They’re playing much better than most teams in America, and they’re headed to the NCAA tournament.


Wayne Morgan isn’t getting out of this with a free pass.

Something is bothering me about the Cyclones’ second-year head coach.

Curtis Stinson, the remarkable guard who scored 29 points, including seven in overtime in Iowa State’s 63-61 victory at Kansas, didn’t go into the game until 4 minutes 25 seconds had elapsed.

Play-by-play announcer Ron Franklin and commentator Fran Fraschilla of the ABC television team immediately told viewers that Stinson wouldn’t be in the starting lineup.

To Fraschilla’s credit, he said Iowa State’s coaches had told him Stinson wouldn’t start due to “a minor disciplinary problem.”

Franklin quickly jumped in to say that Iowa State’s trainers had said Stinson had a minor injury.

I thought Franklin said it was a tailbone injury, but actually Stinson has been bothered by an ailment to his left hand.

Whatever, Morgan evidently didn’t mention any disciplinary action against Stinson in his postgame comments to reporters. Neither did Stinson.

I don’t like that.

If the Iowa State coaches were telling Fraschilla that Stinson was being disciplined, Morgan should have said the same thing to reporters after the game.

Until I’m told otherwise, I believe Fraschilla had the straight scoop on why Stinson didn’t start. I think he was being disciplined.

If Stinson was healthy enough to score 29 points after entering the game, there was no reason to hold him out of the first 4:25.

I haven’t watched every second of every Iowa State game this season, but I believe it was the second time something like this has happened to Stinson.

He also didn’t start in a game at Kansas State, and no reason was given by Morgan or anyone else. That time the TV announcers evidently weren’t told anything about why Stinson began the game on the bench.


It’s obvious there are some big-time basketball problems at the University of Iowa.

And I’m not just referring to Pierre Pierce.

I’m referring to the entire program.

I’ve always felt a coach deserved the opportunity to stay on the job as long as his contract said he could.

But I think time has run out on Steve Alford.

He’s not getting the job done. He’s in over his head as the Hawkeyes’ coach, and I think the university’s administration should reach a settlement with him and send him on his way.

Otherwise, talented players from this state such as Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner [both of whom are now juniors] are going to conclude their collegiate careers without having played in an NCAA tournament.

It’s shocking to me what has happened at a place where there should always be a competitive basketball team and where there should always be a sellout crowd—and most of the 15,500 fans should be cheering for Iowa.

Yesterday was a total embarrassment.

Iowa had just its second sellout of the season, and more than 4,000 of the fans were from Illinois.

I’ve been watching Hawkeye basketball since 1946. I’ve never—I mean never—seen anything like that.

I’ll bet Pops Harrison, Bucky O’Connor and Ralph Miller are rolling over in their graves when they hear that 4,000 Fighting Illini fans bought their way into Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Bring in Illinois to old Iowa Fieldhouse when Popsy, O’Connor and Miller were coaching Iowa, and Hawkeye fans would be rocking the rafters.

The closest an Illinois fan could get to the Fieldhouse in those days was East Moline.

Now a fan from Illinois – or Michigan State or Minnesota – can call the ticket office and ask, “What time is the game?” The ticket manager will say, “What time can you be here?”

Alford says his team lacks leadership.

He’s absolutely right.

However, what he neglects to say is that leadership starts with the head coach.

This Iowa basketball team is without a leader, either on the floor or the bench.

This ain’t Southwest Missouri State, folks.

It’s Iowa, and it’s time to make a change.


Talk about guys who don't have a clue..

Rick Majerus was on ESPN yesterday, saying the Iowa State-Kansas game was in Ames.

And they pay the big guy big bucks to say that stuff.


Iowa assistant coach Craig Neal told Sports Illustrated that some NBA teams would like to have Pierre Pierce in the future.

I certainly wouldn’t argue with that.

I fully agree that Pierce will be the very first 77-year-old player to be a first-round NBA draft choice after he serves his 56-year term in the slammer.

Vol. 4, No. 310
Feb. 20, 2005