Iowa State was already counting on three junior college players to make an impact from the 2013 class, but you can now make that number four. Ironically, on National Signing Day in the college football world, the Cyclones picked up a commitment from K.J. Bluford, a 6'2" guard out of Northeast Nebraska Community College.
Chris Williams over at CycloneFanatic had the scoop. Williams points out that Bluford is averaging 18 points per game and is shooting 38.5% from outside and has attempted 244 long balls on the year. Sounds like a guy that might fit in well.
The news wasn't all rosey, however, as Bluford's signing came on the heels of Maurice Jones being ruled ineligible. Jones, a transfer from USC, likely will pursue basketball elsewhere. What ISU is losing in experience and a scoring punch in Jones, it's likely making up for with Bluford. Also, on the positive side, while Jones wouldn't have been eligible until the end of the fall '13 semester, Bluford will be able to step in and play right away, which will help Iowa State's inexperienced back court for next season.
Iowa State's 2013 class now includes:
F - Richard Amardi, 6'9" Indian Hills CC
F/G - Dustin Hogue, 6'5" Indian Hills CC
F - Daniel Edozie, 6'8" Tyler CC
G - K.J. Bluford, 6'2" Northeast Nebraska CC
G - Matt Thomas, 6'4" Onalaska, WI - Onalaska High
G - Monte Morris, 6'1" Flint, MI - Beecher High
On the surface, taking four JuCo guys screams "we need immediate help" and with Iowa State losing five seniors from the playing rotation, that would certainly be the case. Amardi and Hogue should be able to crack the rotation and produce results, while Edozie projects as more of guy that might need some time to develop.
The buzz surrounding the arrival of Thomas and Morris is growing and I'll admit, I want to see what type of ability that pair has. Still, despite being top-100 recruits, they are only freshman and they'll be joining an incredibly inexperienced back court for Iowa State next year. Bubu Palo will be the only returning guard who's seen any significant time as Naz Long hasn't been able to crack this year's rotation. Whispers are coming out that Sherron Dorsey-Walker has some talent, but he'll still be coming off a redshirt season. An experienced guard who packs a scoring punch was a glaring need next year's team had and Hoiberg appears to have addressed that with Bluford.
There does appear to be a little big of a log jam in the back court and we all know in today's college basketball world, that often leads to unhappiness. Provided everyone makes it to campus in the fall, there will be six scholarship guards vying for time and with a wing like Hogue in the fold, that could potentially add another guy competing for those back court minutes. Also can't forget about Kerwin Okoro, who might be an odd man out, but still has to be considered.
The situation will sort itself out, as these things often do, but in the mean time, Fred Hoiberg has some interesting options and depth that he'll have at his disposal for the 2013-2014 season.
In the mean time, welcome to Iowa State Mr. Bluford.