Coach Greg McDermott took a big step in taking the Iowa State program to a higher level by landing a commitment from potential five-star prospect Craig Brackins of Brewster Academy.
Perhaps one of the highest rising big men in the country at a little over 6-foot-9, and still growing, Brackins was the top post player in action at last May's Cactus Classic in Tucson, Ariz.
With a build and skilled inside/outside game reminiscent of the Detroit Pistons' Rasheed Wallace, Brackins both shoots and passes the ball well from the perimeter and can score in the post with either hand. A fluid, but not explosive, athlete at this point, Brackins is in need of some serious work in the weight room to maximize his skills.
Just starting to find his stride as a prospect, Brackins was picking up heavy recruiting interest before putting a halt to his recruitment. There is no telling how many schools would have been after him if he had remained open during the July evaluation period.
"I've been thinking the last couple days about the schools that were recruiting me and was working on narrowing down my list," Brackins told Rivals.com. "Iowa State just continued to beat out the other schools, and I was ready to get it over with.
Brackins cited his comfort level with Coach McDermott and his confidence that McDermott can develop his game to an NBA level as the prime factors in his choosing the Cyclones.
"When I talk to the coaching staff and Coach McDermott, I feel really comfortable," he said. "Also, I love Coach McDermott's playing style and how it matches my style. He wants to take advantage of my versatility against mismatches.
"He's played power forward overseas professionally, and he knows what it will take for me to achieve my goal of playing in the NBA."
Indiana, Pittsburgh, Illinois and Clemson made Brackins' short list of schools.
Craig Brackins scouting report:
With his long arms and high shoulders at a good 6-foot-9, Brackins scores in the post with nifty foot work and both left handed and right handed jump hooks. He also has a nice shooting touch out to the three-point line and handles the ball and passes it with poise. On the defensive end, Brackins is difficult to score over. Not afraid of contact and willing to mix it up inside, Brackins does get pushed around at times and needs to get stronger and learn to play with a lower center of gravity for more explosiveness. But the fact is that as good as Brackins is now, his best ball lies ahead of him.