When German sharpshooter Lucca Staiger arrived in Ames after an extremely successful junior career in Europe, the NCAA ruled him ineligible and forced him to sit out his freshman season and lose a year of eligibility.
Once Staiger was allowed to play for the Cyclones he quickly worked his way into the rotation, shooting 39% from three in 24 appearances, including an eight three pointer performance against Drake. In his junior season in 2009-2010, Staiger started the season strong, shooting 43% from three to lead the team, including TEN!! threes against Drake (apparently Lucca didn’t like Drake all that much).
Then, out of nowhere, Lucca, left the program on January 19th, 2010 to immediately pursue a playing career in Europe. Staiger initially signed with Alba Berlin, and has played for a few different teams in Germany in his professional career, including Bayern Munich. In 2015, he signed with Brose Bamberg, and still plays with them to this day. In the 2016-2017 season, Staiger shot over 50% from three.
While most people knew he was destined for Europe after college, I don’t think many expected to leave in the middle of the season. the 2009-2010 team was likely never destined for much, but Staiger’s senior season would have come in Fred Hoiberg’s first season. While the 2010-2011 team was also probably not destined for a tournament run, it’s not outside of reason to think that having an elite shooter like Lucca Staiger in Fred Hoiberg’s system may have been enough to push that team to a postseason bid. Had that happened, maybe Lucca gets a look at the NBA. Hell, if Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk can get drafted, then Lucca may have gotten a shot, even though the NBA’s emphasis on shooters has clearly changed since then.