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The Best and Worst Trades of the Last Decade

A look at how the Cyclones’ General Manager has worked the trade market.

Pollard business

Due to some recent Iowa State basketball recruiting tactics, our beloved University has aptly been dubbed ‘Transfer U’. That took me to an odd spot of trying to find the best and worst transfers of the Jamie Pollard era.

Now you may say, “those were Fred’s deals” and all that trash, but we all know that JP-Money is the General Manager in this scenario, and these deals go far beyond just the face value of “Iowa State signs transfer from (insert school)” that you see on most news outlets.

We here at Wide Right & Natty Lite are frequently praised for the quality of our in-depth reporting, so naturally we decided to take a deeper dive into the ramifications of the deals of players/coaches that involve 46 schools in the last decade. Rather than inundate our readers with all the details of each transaction, we’ve highlighted some of the best and worst deals finagled by our GM.

The Best

Iowa State gets Jameel McKay, Scott Christopherson and Deonte Burton from Marquette in exchange for TJ Otzelberger’s eventual move from ISU. (A)

See, on the surface this deal appears as if the Cyclones got three players for nothing. Further research indicates that Marquette negotiated a future TJ transfer from ISU to a head coaching gig. Marquette was sick of TJ recruiting Milwaukee guys like Diante Garrett and newest Cyclone commit, Terrence Lewis out from under the nose of the Golden Eagles.

While that’s definitely a big loss for Pollard, he was able to retain TJ long enough to help Hoiberg rebuild the program, with a lot of help from the Milwaukee area, and transition to Steve Prohm.

Iowa State gets Darion ‘Jake’ Anderson, Abdel Nader and Darrell Bowie from Northern Illinois in exchange for Cameron Bell, Alton Meeks and Jauan Wesley. (A-)

Talk about a fleecing. Pollard had enough foresight to take Cameron Bell from a struggling program and pair him with the promising duo of Jauan Wesley and Alton Meeks and turn it into a trio of impact players to help build and sustain the encouraging basketball program. While the Wesley loss may sting a bit this upcoming year, there are certainly young receivers with potential in the program to help fill the void.

You can’t deny the impact that Jake Anderson had in his lone year at Iowa State. The 6’6” hybrid did it all for Hoiberg in his first season and helped that depleted roster overachieve. Nader turned into an NBA draft pick and Bowie will help stabilize a new front court as the Cyclones look to sustain their success on the hardwood.

Iowa State gets Matt Campbell and staff from Toledo in exchange for D’Vario Montgomery and Dominique Buckley. (B+)

The only reason that this deal isn’t in the ‘A’ range is simply because there are no on field results as of yet, but everything is seemingly trending upward for the new staff.

Sam Richardson’s favorite high school target never seemed to reach the potential that fans saw out of high school when he got to Ames, and Buckley never reached his until he got to Toledo. While a more experienced Buckley may have helped Hoiberg in year one, the Northern Illinois deal helped dull the pain there.

WRNL sources were unable to confirm whether the missed field goal to give Toledo the win last season was part of this deal.

Honorable Mention

The three-team deal between Iowa State, Auburn and Arkansas featuring Paul Rhoads, Gene Chizik and Nick Weiler-Babb is seemingly fine from an Iowa State perspective, but seeing as Auburn is currently in the ‘getting hosed’ faze, we have a hard time believing this deal is 100% complete. WRNL sources would neither confirm or deny any current on-goings in regards to the deal.

The Worst

Iowa State loses Phillip Bates and Beau Blankenship to Ohio as compensation for the 7-0 record against the Bobcats in football from 1962-2003. (D)

Beau Blankenship was clearly the gem of the deal in this case. The former Cyclone went on to rush for more than 3,200 yards at a 5 YPC clip and 25 TD’s in his career with the Bobcats and has spent time in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hell, even Phillip Bates got some NFL snaps at wide receiver.

All of this in return for some non-conference wins? Just doesn’t feel like enough in the grand scheme of things.

Iowa State loses Wesley Johnson to Syracuse. (D-)

This trade is connected to the next one as the budding superstar left ISU prior to McDermott’s penultimate season. As Iowa State fans are all too aware, Johnson went on to lead Syracuse to a 1-seed in the 2010 NCAA tournament while garnishing All-American and Big East POY honors. Johnson left Syracuse after just the one season becoming the 4th pick in the NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who ironically had been employing future Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg in their front office.

Getting nothing in return is really a bad look. The only saving grace here was it was one domino in the sequence that eventually led the Mayor back to Ames.

Iowa State trades Jordan Ashton to UNI for Greg McDermott. (F)

Just an entire shit sandwich here. Iowa State really bit both bullets here. Pollard eventually recovered by sending McDermott to Creighton for a player to be named later, but while the fan base has seemingly forgiven, they’ll never forget. Again, another domino in the Hoiberg string of events, but at the time it was a real kick in the shins.


Louisiana Tech: Pollard dealt linebacker Jordan Harris for forward Merrill Holden. Verdict should be reached in 2016.

SMU: Trading DL Terry Ayeni for Simeon Carter should work out in the Cyclones’ favor should Carter reach his potential in the coming seasons.


You have to give Pollard at least a solid ‘B’ as far as his transaction history goes. A school like Iowa State has to be far more active via trades and free agency given some of the recruiting disadvantages, and Pollard has been one of the best in the business as far as that is concerned.

Should be exciting to watch how some of Iowa State’s most recent additions in both major sports pan out over the coming years!