Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Valentines Tribute

“The Team That Won My Heart”
Celebrating the 25-Year Anniversary of My Favorite Sports Team of All-Time

Maybe Iowa State University should cancel the rest of the Cyclone Men’s regular season in 2010 and show re-runs on the big screen from 25 years ago. I’m dead serious; it would be so much more exciting. 1985 was a pivotal year for the Cyclones--much like this year, except in a positive direction. Barry Stevens, Jeff Grayer, and Jeff Hornacek led the team to just its second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, and first under Head Coach Johnny Orr. ISU finished 21-13, but it seemed more like a 30-win season. Stevens, a senior, led the team with 21.7 points per game. Grayer, a freshman, averaged 12.2 points and 6.5 rebounds. Hornacek averaged 12.5 points. All three later played in the NBA. The team was deep with Gary Thompkins at the point guard spot, Ron Virgil, Ron Harris, Sam Hill, and even a young Lafester Rhodes on the bench.

Grayer and Stevens were nicknamed “The Flintstones” due to the fact they were both heralded recruits from Flint, Michigan. The Cyclones upset 10th ranked Kansas twice that year, and I can remember watching the Cyclones pre-game show with Pete Taylor like it was the Super Bowl. The Saturday noon tip-offs at Hilton Coliseum on Channel 5 were must-see TV, short shorts and all. Grayer ended his career as the Cyclones #1 all-time leading scorer. Barry Stevens is #2. Stevens died, unexpectedly in 2007. Here is an excerpt of a Des Moines Register Article by Randy Peterson and Jon Naughton on 2/21/07:
"Unbelievable," said Hallihan, an assistant to coach Johnny Orr during Stevens' Cyclone career. "When I got the call from the basketball office, I couldn't believe it." "Barry and Ron Harris are the two guys that turned the Iowa State program around," Hallihan said. Stevens came to Iowa State from Flint, Mich. Harris came from Chicago Heights, Ill. "Without those two guys, Iowa State might be a ... I don't know ... a whatever," Hallihan said. "They made a commitment to come out here to Ames and play, and the rest followed."

“In 1985, Stevens scored 47 points against Morgan State — the second-most points in a game by an Iowa State player. Stevens' career scoring mark placed him No. 1 in Cyclone history at the time, passing the then record of 1,752 set by Hercle Ivy. Fans loved Stevens' outside shot and breakaway dunks. "The thing I remember was him setting up deep in the corner, almost behind the basket," Hoiberg said. "That's when I really started following Iowa State basketball." Hoiberg wasn’t alone. If only I had a time machine.

No comments:

Post a Comment