clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Iowa State Players in Professional Men’s Basketball: Part 2 (1990s)

New, 3 comments

The last of Johnny Orr’s players, all of Tim Floyd’s players and the first couple Larry Eustachy coached players make it to the next step in their basketball career.

Golden State Warriors v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Unlike my Cyclones in NBA Draft history article, this series is going to focus on one (cardinal and) golden rule, if you played at least a box score minute in a Cyclone basketball uniform, you are eligible to be on my list of Cyclones in professional (or amateur) men’s basketball.

These lists attempt to cover every player, but it’s very likely I’ll miss some.

Welcome to Part 2!


1990s(13)


Victor Alexander - 1991 NBA Draft - 1st Round, 17th Overall - Golden State Warriors

Victor Alexander was a member of the All-Century Team and is one of the most accurate shooters in Iowa State history with a career scoring percentage of 61.1%.

In fact, he connected on 65.9% of his shots his senior year.

Alexander scored 1,892 points for the Cyclones, averaging 19.9, 19.7 and 23.4 points per game over has last three years at Iowa State.

From 1991-1995, he appeared in 271 games with the Warriors, starting 155 of them and averaging 9.2 points and 5 rebounds per game.

He was then traded to the Raptors and then the Cavaliers (failed his physical) so he played for neither team, so he would spend the 1996-1997 season with AEK Athens (highlights) where he made the Greek All-Star Game in 1997.

Alexander then played for Estudiantes de Olavarria in Argentina, where it is reported he averaged 9.5 boards per game. He spent part of the 1997 season with Puerto Rican squad Atléticos de San Germán, but no stats were found.

The 1998-1999 season sent him to Maccabi Tel-Aviv where he averaged 17 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Alexander would win both the Israeli Cup and the honor of being on the All-Israeli League First Time.

He would go back to Greece for the 1999-2000 season with PAOK Thessaloniki where the team would make it to the Greek League Finals, before being swept 0-3 by Panathinaikos.

Alexander would be signed by Tau Cerámica for $800,000 where he would average 14.4 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game and doing slightly better in Euroleague before flying to Detroit in June 2001 to be with his family. At this time, Alexander was the fourth best American player in Europe according to Besket News.

He would appear in 15 games for the Detroit Pistons in the 2001-2002 season averaging 2.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game before joining CSKA Moscow, averaging 16.6 points and 6.6 rebounds during his 15 Euroleague appearances.

He was named the following for his 2002-2003 stint with CSKA Moscow: Center of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Import Player of the Year, among other accolades.

He spent eight games in 2003 with Unicaja Málaga, averaging 11.8 points per game, before going back to CSKA Moscow taking them all the way to the Russian A Superleague finals.

In 2017, Alexander was inducted into the Iowa State Hall of Fame.


Sam Mack - USBL, CBA, NBA, NBL, ABA among other leagues (20 Years)

Sam Mack could of had it his way way at Iowa State, averaging 11.8 points per game in the 1988-1989 NCAA First Round season. Unfortunately, he got into some trouble so his time at Iowa State, so even if he was loving it here, he had to go.

He tried to find a new neighborhood at Arizona State, but again he had some brushes with the law and was dismissed to Tyler JC. With the Apaches, he averaged 24.6 points and 8.7 rebounds.

Mack would eat fresh after transferring to Houston, averaging a team leading 17.5 points per game as well as being named SWC Newcomer of the Year. His best collegiate performance came against No. 6 North Carolina, Houston would lose by three, but Mack at one time during the game scored 13 straight points and finished with 32.

Mack played with all sorts of teams, and even led the Michigan Mayhem of the CBA in scoring during the 2004-2005 season. He would finish his basketball career close to his hometown of Dolton, with the Chicago Steam in 2013 with the ABA.

He averaged eight points per NBA game.


Justus Thigpen - 1993 CBA Draft - 2nd Round, 28th Overall - Quad City Thunder

Thigpen, who scored 1,724 points from 1989-1993 for Iowa State in 124 total games appeared in with an average of 17.6 points per game his senior year.

His steal and ensuing free throw for the win against No. 7 Kansas and runner against Colorado, both in 1993, are some of his highlights in a Cyclone uniform.

He had a summer camp with the Utah Jazz in 1993 but didn’t make it on the roster, however, he was on the team long enough that we know what his jersey number was.

After not making it on with the Utah Jazz, he went to the Columbus Horizon (CBA) where he averaged ten points and almost four assists a game for the 1993-1994 season. He tried to make it back on the Jazz with his performance at the 1994 Rocky Mountain Revue (Summer League) but was cut shortly thereafter.

The 1994-1995 season sent Thigpen to Shreveport’s and Chicago’s CBA teams, and 1995-1996 season sent him to the Connecticut Pride where he averaged 13.1 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game and about 1.2 steals per game.

I can’t be sure how many games he played with the Connecticut Skyhawks in the United States Basketball League, but I do know he averaged about 18 points per game. He appeared in the 1996 Rocky Mountain Revue, but again didn’t make it on the Jazz’s roster.

So, he played 14 games with the red, black and teal-colored Fort Wayne Fury, and then four games with Spartak Saint Petersburg (Russia) in 1996-1997. Thigpen would finish the 1997-1998 in the playoffs with Rockford Lightning.

In November 1999, he signed with Argentine club Ferro Carril Oeste, where he averaged 15.8 points per game.

His production would would decline once he came back to the States, playing for teams such as Flint Fuze, Great Lakes Storm, Gary Steelheads, Columbus Cyclones and Marysville Meteors (the last being with the IBL).


Július Michalík - Argentina, France, Israel, Turkey and Italy

Július, a fan favorite from Prievidza, (formerly Czechoslovakia) Slovakia, had a very good Cyclone career from 1991-1995. His best season, his junior year, saw him average 20 per game.

Against Florida in the NCAA Tournament, Michalík helped dig Iowa State from a 61-55 deficit with 4:13 left as seen below.

Professionally, his career began with Deportivo Valle Inferior in Argentina, but as Poste Bajo says “He made the preseason at Viedma but did not manage to play officially before being cut.”

Not sure what number Július wore, but here’s the style of jersey he wore.
Copyright La Crosse County Historical Society

He would join the La Crosse Bobcats of the Continental Basketball Association, only to be waived on November 29, 1996, however, before being waived I found two box scores featuring his name. Four points in a 97-112 loss to the Rockford Lightning and nine points in a 121-115 loss, also to Rockford.

In January 1997, Michalík joined AS Golbey-Épinal where he averaged 23.6 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game and 5.7 assists per game. He spent the 1997-1998 season in Épinal as well, averaging 20 points per game, 7.3 rebounds and 5 assists per game.

He was with Hapoel Tel-Aviv for a little bit in 1998 before being hurt and then waived in August 1998. He would sign with Karşıyaka Basket, playing in eight games (9.1 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game) before going back to AS Golbey-Épinal where he would be fifth in France’s ProB Division with his average of 20.2 points per game. He stayed on until April 2000 when he got injured again and then released. However, he was still honored by being named to the French ProB All-Import Players Second Team.

He had a 60.8 field goal percentage with Besançon before leaving the team in April 2001 and later in April signing with Mabo Livorno. His time with Livorno was short, only ten games, but he was there long enough to see the team get promoted from Serie A2 Basket to Serie A.

He would go back to France, now with ALM Évreux Basket, but got injured in February 2002 and got cut.

He has been the head coach of Tri-Center High School’s (Neola) girl’s basketball for the past couple of years.


Fred Hoiberg - 1995 NBA Draft - 2nd Round, 52nd Overall - Indiana Pacers

Before coming to Iowa State, Fred was a Second Team All-Metro Conference quarterback his senior year at Ames with a football scholarship offer from Nebraska. The 1990 Gatorade Player of the Year was also good at basketball. During his senior year, for basketball, he averaged 29.8 points per game and had a career high of 51 against Indianola. These efforts, along with 75% shooting en route to the 1991 State Title, made Hoiberg win Iowa’s Mr. Basketball Award.

His breakaway dunk with 14 seconds remaining sealed a First Round win over seventh seeded UNC-Charlotte in 1992.

Hoiberg finished with 1,993 points, making 51.1% of his field goals and 40% of his three point baskets. Johnny Orr called him the “best athlete he had ever coached.”

In 139 games with the Pacers, Hoiberg averaged 11.6 minutes per game while scoring about 3.9 per game.

His stint with the Bulls (where he stayed until 2003), specifically the 2000-2001 season, brought his best professional statline with 9.1 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, 3.6 assists per game and 1.3 steals per game in an average of 30.7 game minutes in 74 game appearances.

With the Timberwolves in 2004-2005, he led the NBA in three point percentage, connecting on 48.3% of those shots.

He then became head coach of Iowa State going 115-56, before going east to coach the Bulls and then west to where his grandfather coached in the 1950s.


James Hamilton - 16 Seasons in Europe

Before playing at Iowa State, Hamilton played on an abysmal (8-20) Bradley squad, but still played well enough to be the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year.

James Hamilton - Facebook

Hamilton is a 6’7”, 200 pound player from Grand Blanc, Michigan, who averaged 3.6 points per game from 1993-1995 for the Cyclones.

Hamilton began his international professional career with Australia’s Second Division Gippsland Pacers, where he averaged 28.4 points and 14 rebounds per game.

Next, he had his first of many years in the United Kingdom where he was first in the top tier of United Kingdom basketball for rebounds per game with 11.7 and third in scoring with 23.8 points per game for Worthing Bears. That stat line brought to his first BBL All-Star Game.

He would have his first stint with Tower in 1997-1998, and then he played a couple games the following season with Switzerland’s Fribourg before getting injured in November 1998.

This injury made him appear in three games with Hungarian team Pécs, where he averaged just over 12 and 5 a game in September 1999.

Basketball - Dairylea Dunkers Championship - Northern Conference - Newcastle Eagles v Chester Jets Photo by Stephen Pond/EMPICS via Getty Images

However, he got waived and in November he joined Chester Jets where he averaged almost 29 and 9 a game and invited to another All-Star game.

Tune in this evening as our very own James Hamilton and John McCord (Rocks) lining up for the North in the classic 1999/2000 North vs South BBL All Star Game.

Posted by Cheshire Phoenix Basketball on Friday, April 10, 2020

His second in the BBL 25.1 points per game on the 2000-2001 season led him to another All-Star game and the coveted uni-ball Trophy. He would also spend 2001-2002 with the Jets.

Bullets v Jets x

“The Ambassador” would play eleven games in Germany in the 2002-2003 season before going back to Chester to being a player and coach assistant.

He played 22 games with Towers in 2004-2005, but then returned to TCS Chester Jets/BiG Storage Cheshire Jets until the 2010-2011 when he was suspended for four months due to cannabis use, and he retired soon after, but not due to the suspension.


Loren Meyer - 1995 NBA Draft - 1st Round, 24th Overall - Dallas Mavericks

Loren Meyer is a 6’10” Ruthven, Iowa, native that played at Iowa State from 1991-1995. In his 111 games played, he scored 1,280 points and had 677 rebounds.

1993-1994 was his best season as a Cyclone, when he averaged 22.3 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game.

With the Mavericks in 1995-1996, Meyer averaged five points per game in the 72 he appeared in before being traded to the Phoenix Suns in December 1996, where he would average 5.4 points in 35 games.

After missing the 1997-1998 season due to injury, he was sent to the Denver Nuggets where he averaged a paltry 1.1 points per game in 14 appearances before being released on August 6, 1999.

Meyer would then go to the Chester Jets (United Kingdom) in 2000-2001 where he would feature in the All-Star Game, be named BBL Player of the Year and score 26 points to help Chester beat Newcastle. Loren averaged fourth best in the BBL 23.2 points per game, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 blocks per game.

He would sign with Marinos de Oriente in Venezuela in March 2002 but got released before April.


Iowa St. v Utah

Jacy Holloway - International Basketball Association

Holloway was a very good point guard in his four years at Iowa State (1993-1997). The McPherson, Kansas, native had more assists (592) than points (443) while a Cyclone.

Holloway was picked up by the Des Moines Dragons of the IBA in February 1999 where he averaged 4.2 points per game, 2.2 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists per game.


Iowa State V Illinois State

Kelvin Cato - 1997 NBA Draft - 1st Round, 15th Overall - Dallas Mavericks

Before coming to Iowa State, the seven-foot wingspan Cato spent time at South Alabama where he was seventh in the nation with his 3.7 blocks per game average.

While at Iowa State, Cato’s two years racked up 189 blocks (second most in school history) in 55 games, and scoring and rebounding averages of 10.5 and 8.1 respectively. While Cato might trail Homan in the career blocks, his single season record of 118 and single game record of 11 against UT-Pan American stands to this day.

After his career at Iowa State was ended at the hand of Cameron Dollar, maybe the NBA would be a positive change. After tearing up the 1997 Nike Desert Classic, Cato blocked 14 shots in three games and averaged just under 11 points per game on his way to being named MVP.

The Mavericks drafted him but he was immediately sent to Portland where he would average less than four points and as many rebounds per game. While these numbers seem small, he was invited to the 1998 Rookie All-Star Game.

1998 Rookie All-Star Game Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

He was then traded to Houston where he stayed until the end of the 2003-2004 season, averaging 6.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. His 23 points against the Suns in the 1999-2000 season wasn’t a career high, but it’s the only one I found video of.

He would spend 2004-February 2006 with the Orlando Magic, but hurt his left shoulder again so his production was slightly limited, averaging 7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

He was then traded to the Pistons where he only appeared in eight games, scoring an average of 2.5 points per game during the regular season and 1.5 points in the playoffs.

He would join the New York Knicks for 18 games in the 2006-2007 season, averaging 1.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.


Hurl Beechum - 12 Seasons in Europe

Hurl Beechum (1991-1995), a Des Moines North Polar Bear before coming to Iowa State was a member of three NCAA Tournament teams and a member of the All-Big Eight Tournament once, with teammate Loren Meyer, for his performance seen below.

Professionally, he would spend his first four seasons with German team Telekom Bonn, averaging more than 14 points per game all those seasons.

He was also part of the German National Team in 2000 and 2001.

Next, he would spend two seasons in Spain’s Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto with Cáceres CB and Jabones Pardo Fuenlabrada, playing in a total of 67 games.

2004-2006 was spent with GHB Bamberg where he would have continued double digit scoring success.

HE spent 14 games in Spain in 2006 before going to Apollon Patras in February 2007 where he played in five games before being released in March 2007.

From January 2008-2009, he finished his career playing in 81 games in Czechia, averaging 16 points (46.3% field goals and 40.3% three point goals) with BK Prostějov.

Photo Gallery of Beechum.


Utah V Iowa State

Shawn Bankhead - Finland, IBA, Mexico, Sweden, Korea and EA Sports

Bankhead, who spent 1993-1995 with JuCo College of Southern Idaho was an All-Region 18 Second Team his freshman year and a All-Region 18 First Team his sophomore year. Before transferring to Iowa State, Bankhead took part in the 1995 Reebok All-American Shootout having a game high 43 points.

Bankhead was an elite defender during the Big Eight Tournament Championship in 1996 and the beginning of the short-lived ugly white jersey era that Iowa State had.

Bankhead also played on the Center Court League in July 1996, playing on a team sponsored by Happy Joe’s, but I have no stats on his time there.

Professionally, his first post-Cyclone team was Äänekosken Huima in Finland, but he was injured in October 1997 and went to the Dakota Wizards in the IBA, his play would put him on the All-IBA Second Team.

He would spend part of the 1998-1999 season with Bravos de Portuguesa before returning to the Wizards.

In 1999, the swinman went south to the Mexican squad Chihuahua where he averaged 24 points per game and 13 points per game. Then, in December 1999, he replaced Charles Gelatt (one time Syracuse player who transferred to DePaul) at Sallen Basket in Sweden. His first season there, he was fifth leading scorer in the SBL with 20.9 points per game. He was named to the Swedish League All-Imports Second Team that season.

In 11 more Sallen Basket games during the 2000-2001 season, he averaged 16 points per game before going to Korea a month later to play with Goldbank Clickers.

He would play a couple games with the EA Sports All-Star exhibition team, notably scoring 12 against Murray State and a team high 18 points against No. 16 Temple.

He wore the No. 23 while on the EA Sports roster.


Dedric Willoughby

Dedric Willoughby - NBA, Italy and Australia

Here’s a question for you all, would you rather have senior year Dedric Willoughby or senior year Tyrus McGee in a three point contest? Either answer is a good one, even if McGee has the percentage edge (46.4% to 45.1%), Dedric was hot.

! Could this guy get it going or what?!

Posted by Iowa State Men's Basketball on Wednesday, May 27, 2020

His 102 three pointers in the 1996-1997 season are a school record, and as my main source material says “Dedric is a great player, a big time scorer. He is a threat on offense.” That he was, averaging just under 20 per game and finishing with 1,186 points. Oh, and he was the last ever Big Eight Tournament MVP.

His 1-and-1 conversion below helped Iowa State beat Kansas, 56-55 in the final, on a night where he had 20 points.

Professionally, my notes show he played in Italy in both the second division and first division. In 1997-1998, he played with Reggio Calabria (A2), averaging 18,5 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game. In 1998-1999, he played with Muller Verona (A1) averaging 13.9 points per game and 2.7 rebounds per game.

In 1999-2000, he would be reunited with Tim Floyd and the Bulls for just 5 games (7.6 points per game) but was cut during the season so he went back to Italy (Livorno, A2) and averaged 14.5 per game.

In the 2000-2001 season, he would play one game with the Sydney Kings of Australia, scoring nine points, pulling down three rebounds and dishing out five assists.

Finally, in November 2002, he would on an exhibition team (Team Nike) that played college teams such as Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, UMASS and Ohio State.

His best performance came in a 61-49 to the aforementioned Minutemen, putting in 21 points.

Willoughby with Team Nike against Iowa
Buzz Orr (The Gazette)

Paul Mokeski (with Yugoslavia Select) vs. Tony Rampton

Tony Rampton - NBL (Australia and New Zealand) and Eight Games in Finland

Tony Rampton is the last men’s basketball player (as of this publishing) to play in the Olympics and at Iowa State. He appeared in 80 games as a Cyclone, playing in only two games in 1997-1998 because of an injured back.

However, while here, he scored 176 points and was a member of two tournament teams, only notably getting a rebound against Illinois State.

He started his career with Taranaki in 1999, before moving to Nelson Giants in 2000 where he led the league in rebounds and was named NBL MVP while taking his team to the NBL Finals. Additionally, he was on the New Zealand National Team “Tall Blacks” from 1999-2001 and 2004-2007.

Tall Black Tony Rampton in the Haka before the Bas
Tall Black Tony Rampton in the Haka
Photo by Dean Purcell/Getty Images

After his first stint with Nelson Giants, he was sent to the United Kingdom to play with Chester Jets in September 2000, but was released in favor of former Cyclone Loren Meyer in November. Next, he would go about 1,970 miles northeast to Kouvola, Finland’s team, Kouvot. He appeared in eight games and averaged 10.1 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game before spending January 2001 with Cairns Taipans where he would stay until the end of the 2004-2005 season.

2005 found Rampton’s first stint with the Taranaki Mountain Airs found him play in 15 games, averaging 14.5 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game.

He spent the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 season with the Wollongong Hawks, in the 30 games that season he appeared in he averaged 12.6 points per game and 8.6 rebounds per game, he appeared in 33 games for the latter season and his production declined by about four points and three rebounds.

Also in 2006, he appeared in the World Championships in Japan, playing in six games averaging 3.5 points per game and 1.2 rebounds per game.

FIBA World Championships 2006 - Day 3 Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images

With the West Sydney Razorbacks in 2007-2008, Rampton averaged about seven and six in 28 games. 2008-2009 found 25 games of action for the 6’11” Rampton. In 2009-2010, he played 15 games with the ecogise Nelson Giants, notably being third in the NBL with 9.9 rebounds per game.

2009-2010 saw Rampton regress severely with Skytrans Cairns Taipans averaging 2.6 points per game and 1.6 rebounds per game, before going back to ecogise Nelson Giants playing in 17 games averaging 10.6 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game.