Fantasy sports are a phenomenon that have grasped the interest of many sports fans around the globe. One of the most thrilling parts of any fantasy sports league is what gets all the fun started: the draft.
All the players on the board to start. So many options that could be taken with each pick. And it's up to the drafter to choose the players that he or she think are the best.
We rounded up five of our writers and tasked them with picking teams from a pool of all the players that put on a Cyclone jersey during Fred Hoiberg's coaching stint at Iowa State. Not including Hallice Cooke and Deonte Burton (who were both technically on the 2014-15 roster, but weren't yet eligible), there were an even 40 different players from the 2010-11 roster through the most recent season's. That worked out nicely for us, as we ended up being able to pick five teams with eight players each.
Participants and Format
The drafters included cylentbutdeadly, NormanUnderwood, KFitzy87, austinnarber and Cyclone Scholar. As with many fantasy drafts, we used a "snake" format that reverses the draft order every other round.
The order of the draft was determined by amount of articles published on WRNL:
1. cylentbutdeadly (352)
2. NormanUnderwood (98)
3. KFitzy87 (52)
4. austinnarber (34)
5. Cyclone Scholar (15)
Each drafter was instructed to pick their team under the assumption that Hoiberg would be the head coach. Though after picking their teams, every writer was given the opportunity to explain the strategy their team would use on the court.
With the order set and everyone on the same page, we moved on to...
Below is the order that all of the Hoiberg era players were selected in during our draft, along with the writer that made each pick.
1. Royce White (cylentbutdeadly)
2. Monte Morris (NormanUnderwood)
3. Georges Niang (KFitzy87)
4. DeAndre Kane (austinnarber)
5. Tyrus McGee (Cyclone Scholar)
6. Jameel McKay (Cyclone Scholar)
7. Melvin Ejim (austinnarber)
8. Chris Babb (KFitzy87)
9. Will Clyburn (NormanUnderwood)
10. Diante Garrett (cylentbutdeadly)
11. Scott Christopherson (cylentbutdeadly)
12. Jake Anderson (NormanUnderwood)
13. Korie Lucious (KFitzy87)
14. Dustin Hogue (austinnarber)
15. Naz Long (Cyclone Scholar)
16. Chris Allen (Cyclone Scholar)
17. Bryce Dejean-Jones (austinnarber)
18. Abdel Nader (KFitzy87)
19. Calvin Godfrey (NormanUnderwood)
20. Jamie Vanderbeken (cylentbutdeadly)
21. Sherron Dorsey-Walker (cylentbutdeadly)
22. Matt Thomas (NormanUnderwood)
23. Daniel Edozie (KFitzy87)
24. Anthony Booker (austinnarber)
25. Percy Gibson (Cyclone Scholar)
26. Georgios Tsalmpouris (Cyclone Scholar)
27. Bubu Palo (austinnarber)
28. Austin McBeth (KFitzy87)
29. Eric McKnight (NormanUnderwood)
30. Kerwin Okoro (cylentbutdeadly)
31. Kourtlin Jackson (cylentbutdeadly)
32. Jordan Railey (NormanUnderwood)
33. Clayton Custer (KFitzy87)
34. Tavon Sledge (austinnarber)
35. Cam Fowler (Cyclone Scholar)
36. Aaron Law (Cyclone Scholar)
37. Tyler Ellerman (austinnarber)
38. John Lamb (KFitzy87)
39. Daniel Stensland (NormanUnderwood)
40. Drew Mitchell (cylentbutdeadly)
Each team is listed below, along with the respective writer's thoughts on why their team is the best.
Let me tell you why I won this little exercise.
With the first overall pick, there was only one name worth consideration; Royce White. You can argue until you're blue in the face with fellow Cyclone fans about who the best point guard of the Hoiberg era was/is and similarly, you can have the same argument about the best overall shooter, wing player, etc. What you can't argue is who the best overall talent was as White is so clearly the most unique and talented player to come through Ames, perhaps ever. In White, I have the biggest matchup nightmare of anyone, a capable ball handler, crunch-time scorer and an absolute beast on the block and the glass.
My strategy all along was to surround White with talent that would best suit his strengths. With my #2 pick, it was an easy choice to take Diante Garrett, who oh by the way, exploded as a senior during Hoiberg's first year and is one of three players in the Hoiberg era to appear in an NBA game (White and Chris Babb being the other two). Having Garrett allows me to take the pressure off White handling the ball for 40 minutes and if we're going to classify White as a primary ball handler, I now have two of the four best ball handlers and creators that played under Hoiberg (DeAndre Kane and Monte Morris round out the list).
Now that I had my alpha dogs, I knew that I had to surround these playmakers with shooting. Scott Christopherson was still on the board and he was an easy choice to be my top marksman. A 44.2 percent career 3-point shooter, Christopherson had the luxury of playing with both Garrett and White, so chemistry won't be an issue.
With my fourth pick, I still wanted to target shooting and I got lucky in being able to address two needs (shooting and size) with one pick, Jamie Vanderbeken. The 6-foot-11 Canadian shot 42.4 percent from outside for his career and averaged 1.7 blocks per game as a senior. Adding Vanderbeken helps take the load off of White inside and when White is handling the ball, I now have the ability to play all five guys on the floor on the perimeter, which only adds to match up issues.
Rounding out the rest of my roster, my main priority was to add athleticism on the wing. I passed on Matt Thomas since I already had Christopherson, and took Sherron Dorsey-Walker instead. Call me crazy, but I think SDW could have matured into a serviceable Big 12 guard and he was the right type of athlete I was looking for to round out my starting five.
Since everyone's bench is incredibly short, I wanted to continue to address the need for athleticism on the wings and I feel I did just that by picking up Kerwin Okoro and Kourtlin Jackson, who along with SDW are capable of guarding small forward types.
And that, my friends, is how it's done.
I simply tried to build the best team I could. I started by going in high on what I believe to be the most important position in the game: point guard. I don't think many will argue that I got the pick of the litter at that position.
From that point I tried to assemble a balance team that would play off each other. Clyburn had enough power to create his own scoring opportunities and attack the rim. Jake Anderson was the consummate glue guy who could clean the boards, nail some long range shots, and create for himself and everyone else.
Staying shockingly heavy on 1st year Fred, I jumped all over the opportunity to grab one of my favorite players of the Hoiberg era in Calvin Godfrey. He had an attitude in the paint we hadn't seen since Homan, and an underrated ability to finish at the rim. If not for his personal problems, I really believe he would have flourished in two more years at ISU.
I believe that a line up so balanced between field general, scoring machines, and defensive guys would create an environment for Matt Thomas to thrive as a set shooter, and McKnight and Railey provide a good combo of raw athleticism and sheer idiot size off the bench. It killed me to be the guy stuck with J-Railz, but I didn't have much of a choice.
Team Fitzy has everything. I'll prove it to you.
You want the most skilled post in Iowa State history that can beat you from both inside and out? I give you Georges Niang. Niang's post moves and ball handling abilities put even the best opposing big men in a blender. Not to mention, he's also one of the biggest trash-talkers there is. Team Fitzy would not only assault opponents on the court, but also in their minds.
You want a 3-point sniper that is also the best lockdown defender in the Hoiberg era? I give you Chris Babb. Babb brings that team-first mentality that all coaches desire from their players. Like CBD mentioned above, Babb is also one of only three players in the Hoiberg era to actually play in the NBA. I was thrilled to pick him up with my #2 pick because having him on my team means I can basically neutralize one player on any opposing team using his individual defense. Along with his impressive on-court talents, all the ladies will surely be hanging with Team Fitzy in the locker room after games with the ever-suave Babb on the team.
You want a point guard that can distribute the ball, knock down bombs from outside, and has plenty of NCAA Tournament experience? I give you Korie Lucious. Lucious began his lone year in a Cyclone uniform with a bit of a turnover problem, but as the season progressed, he settled in and became the engine behind that 2012-13 team. He has great court vision, a sweet jumper and can also finish in the lane well for a player of his size.
You want a guy who
probably told Bryce Dejean-Jones to keep turning up the music in his apartment can handle the rock, slash from the wing and post up on smaller guards? I give you Abdel Nader. I like to think of Nader as a mini Royce White. After my first three picks, I felt like Team Fitzy's main need was a player with athleticism on the wing, and Nader gave me just that. Though he shot a poor percentage from long range last season, I expect him to improve going forward. He's also probably going to make 10 3-pointers against Iowa too.
You want a guy that attacks the boards with enough relentless tenacity to earn himself the nickname NIGERIAN NIGHTMARE? I give you Daniel Edozie. You'll have a hard time finding a guy that plays harder than Edozie. He's a good defender and is pretty much guaranteed to have at least one thunderous dunk in every game he gets significant time in.
You want a guy that has underrated handles, the mind of a coach, and the best sideline dance moves in the history of college basketball? I give you Austin McBeth. McBeth is another one of those guys that will improve team chemistry and make everyone else on the floor better.
You want a guy that can knock down the 3-ball and wasn't defeated in the Battle of Little Bighorn? I give you Clayton Custer. We'll never truly know how good Custer could have been at the Big 12 level, but I was surprised he fell into my lap this low in the draft. A great guy to bring off the bench to spell my starting guards, along with McBeth.
You want a guy with an nice jumper whose last name refers to the offspring of a mammal typically kept as livestock? I give you John Lamb. Lamb will supply wool sweaters to keep Team Fitzy cozy.
As you can see, Team Fitzy gives you basically everything you could ever hope for. Free wool sweaters to anyone who votes for us!
What I have here is basically a modern day NBA coach's dream team. Team Narber is relatively large yet versatile. My strategy in this draft was to select value, versatility and talent over filling out a standard five-position roster. For the most part, we saw Fred Hoiberg (and now Steve Kerr) win a lot of games this way.
My starting five will obviously be my first five picks, with DeAndre Kane running point. Anthony Booker and Melvin Ejim anchor the low post although, as has been a staple of Iowa State basketball for five years, you'll see them here, there and everywhere. Both have the ability to post up and shoot threes. Dustin Hogue and Bryce Dejean-Jones serve their usual purposes: the former a do-everything, high-motor rebounding extraordinaire; and the latter a slasher and volume shooter. And with Kane's endless list of ways to hurt you (eye pokes included), this team is the world's worst matchup.
The bench? We'll call them small but mighty, with the most prominent cheerleader in program history.
Come at us!
Team Cyclone Scholar
Cyclone Scholar's thoughts:
I wanted to build the most well rounded team possible, not an easy task with this group of guys that features a majority of guards and forwards. My first pick was, for me, a no brainer. Tyrus McGee, my all-time favorite Cyclone. Deadly from deep, played fearless, made his teammates better, and was an incredible athlete on both ends of the floor. This is a player to build a team around. McGee was so much fun to watch, easy choice for my #1 pick. McGee is a G.
Getting a versatile guard like McGee allowed me to go with a big man. I went with Jameel McKay over Melvin Ejim. I'm probably going to get a lot of shit for not taking Ejim with this pick, and I can see that. I personally like what McKay brings to the defensive side of the ball, and feel he still hasn't reached his potential on offense. I needed a big man to pair up with my guard, and one that can help on both ends of the floor is a good building block.
I rounded out my starting five with Naz Long (I was shocked he was still on the board with this pick), Chris Allen, and Percy Gibson. Adding 3sus and Chris Allen gives me two more shooters to pair with the lethal McGee, and Percy provides much needed size down low. This team is going to get after it, and get up and down the floor quick. Look at all the high energy/high motor guys I have with McGee, McKay and 3sus. This team would be a lot of fun to watch, and will always be going at full throttle.
I took an upside flier with my first bench pick in the Greek. Being that this is a fantasy team, I would most likely turn fatigue mode off and roll with the starting five guys with a sprinkle of Tsalmpouris off the bench.
Team Cyclone Scholar will be a force on offense, and probably give up just as many on defense, but outscoring them over 40 minutes will prove to be a challenge. I like the idea of taking a (potentially) dominant big man and surrounding him with lights out shooters. We've seen the NBA as well as NCAA all trending in that direction as well. I like to think I've done that with the team I've assembled, and would gladly pit my squad against any of the other teams the writers assembled.
Be sure to vote in the poll below for which team you think is the best. Also, be on the lookout for an upcoming WRNL podcast episode in which we'll discuss our draft and berate each other to prove which team truly is superior!