Iowa State released a statement this morning announcing the decision to halt the pregame tradition of players dipping their shoes in molasses. According to the statement, it's believed the tradition may be the cause of the poor defensive and rebounding efforts that have haunted the Cyclones for most of the season.
Here's an excerpt from ISU's statement:
"The honored ‘dipping of the shoes in molasses' pregame tradition the men's basketball program established during the Fred Hoiberg era and continued under the Steve Prohm era shall no longer be held prior to games. After recent consideration and analyzation of the results of the Cyclones on the court, we've determined that Iowa State players cannot slide on defense or jump to get rebounds when their shoes are stuck to the ground due to the pregame molasses dipping."
WRNL was able to get ahold of some Cyclone players for comment.
"I mean, I never understood why we did it," said star player Georges Niang. "Ever since I got to ISU, I've had people across the country calling me unathletic and slow, but in reality it's just because I've been playing with molasses on my shoes. It was nice during my freshman and sophomore seasons because I could also have a tasty molasses snack before games, but with my new diet, I've stayed away from eating it."
Reserve guard Hallice Cooke was able to shed light on some recent frustrations that Iowa State fans have had regarding the basketball program.
"The reason I don't get much playing time is because when I've been sitting on the bench at the beginning of a game, the molasses hardens when I keep my shoes in one spot for so long. Same with all of the other guys on the bench. That's why Coach Prohm rarely gets us in games - because we can't lift our feet off the ground to go check in," said Cooke.
"Oh yeah, and Jameel (McKay) has been in the doghouse because he was secretly dipping his shoes in honey instead of molasses. That didn't fly too well with Coach Prohm."
You might be wondering why the molasses seems to only affect the Cyclones on defense and rebounding situations and not on offense. Come to find out, it HAS been a factor on the offensive side of the ball.
"It's been kinda nice for me, to be honest," said point guard Monte Morris. "I don't think I'd have been able to set the NCAA record for assist-to-turnover ratio if I was playing any faster. I have the molasses to thank for that."
ISU's resident dunking machine shared Morris' fondness for the molasses.
"Yeah, I've kinda liked the molasses dipping tradition because it stops me from jumping over backboards too often when I go to dunk, so I'll have to be careful now that we're getting rid of it. That was always a huge problem for me in junior high and high school. I jumped over my first backboard when I was 11," said Deonte Burton.
Now that Iowa State will put the molasses away and play without a sticky substance on the bottom of their sneakers, it will be interesting to see how they finish the season. Keep an eye out for improved defensive and rebounding performance, as well as the occasional Burton leap over a backboard.
For more information on the ceasing of molasses-dipped shoes at Iowa State, please consult WRNL's disclaimer.