Dominique Buckley, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound point guard from Romulus, Mich., and Wes Eikmeier, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard from Fremont, Neb., will play a large part in the future of this basketball program.
They both are extremely talented in awfully different ways.
Buckley, he's a true-blue floor general. He likes being the quarterback on the court. Many people familiar with his game have compared him to former Iowa point guard Dean Oliver.
Eikmeier, who many thought was a project when he committed to ISU last year, has blossomed into a great pickup for coch Greg McDermott.
The reason I have faith in these two prospects has nothing to do with their talent though. It has everything to do with the fact that they get it. They get what it takes to be successful in the Big 12 Conference.
The big knock on both of these prospects has always been their size, strength and durability. They both are working to improve that and not because coaches told them. They've learned through playing against the best of the best on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit over the summer.
"I lift a lot more. I'm trying to get bigger and stronger. When I get there, I know that's what they're going to have us do," Buckley told me Tuesday night. "That's one thing that I learned a lot playing AAU. There are a lot of big and strong guys out there, and I know that I need to lift a lot more."
What about Eikmeier?
Well, when he committed, calling him a toothpick would have been generous.
He weighed in at a whopping 155 pounds soaking wet, and his body looked like that of a Division II prospect. Now, Eikmeier is up to 170, only five pounds shy of where ISU coaches would like him to be.
"They told me that they want me to be around 175 or a little more," Eikmeier said. "I'm working at it. Hopefully, I can add some more before I get on campus."
Both prospects have been hitting the AAU trail heavily over the summer months. I'm confident in saying that if they already hadn't committed so early in the game, many other high major schools would be hot on their trail.
Eikmeier seems to have recently grasped who he wants to be as a player when he gets to Ames. He wants to be a pure sharpshooter that every team strives to have on its roster.
"I've started looking more to improve my 3-point shot rather than dribble penetration," Eikmeier said. "That's more what I'll be working towards this basketball season, too. They (Iowa State) want me to be able to shoot the ball."
Eikmeier most definitely can shoot the basketball. Just ask his future teammate Buckley.
"I saw Wes play at the camp, and he can really shoot. He really impressed me," Buckley said. "He's small, but he plays with a lot of heart. He's lights out. He doesn't miss."
As far as finding a big man for '08 is concerned, I think it's way too early for Cyclone fans to start panicking. If this year's class is a total bust, then start sweating.
Look at it this way:
Once the '08 class gets on campus the Cyclones will still have: Alex Thompson for one year, Craig Brackins for three years, Clayton Vette for three years, Cory Johnson and Wes Johnson for two years and whatever post players come with the '08 class.
Granted, the Johnson boys don't belong in the paint, but they've proven that they can do it if they have to.
Even though '08 bigs are few and far between, ISU still is in the hunt for some quality prospects.
Among the group of Victor Davila (6-foot-8, 235-pound post out of Hamptonville Starmount, N.C.) Colton Iverson (6-foot-9, 200-pound center out of Yankton, S.D.) and Mario Little (6-foot-6, 225-pound wing out of Chipola Junior College in Florida), Iowa State needs to land two.
At this point, I think all three are very realistic. In a perfect world, it'd be Davila and Iverson.
As a backup, here's a name to remember: Clint Mann, a 6-foot-6 wing out of Overland Park, Kan.