Despite draft buzz, Brackins puts NBA on hold to return to Iowa St.
While the first round of the NBA draft unfolded last Thursday night, Iowa State's
The 2009 draft was light on talent, especially in the post. NBA historians will likely look back at the procession of forwards given guaranteed contracts after Oklahoma's
Brackins had been faced with the "buzz dilemma": Playing away from the spotlight on a 15-17 Cyclones team, his game hadn't been fully picked apart yet, and NBA teams still weren't sure if his future was at the 3 or 4 position, but there were two numbers everyone could recite: 42 and 14 -- the numbers of points and rebounds, respectively, that he had against Kansas in a nationally televised game on Jan. 24. Brackins used his whole arsenal that day, inside and outside the arc. Jayhawks coach
His name soon popped up on draft boards, and there was some thought that he'd make a move like the one UCLA's
Brackins, who grew up in Palmdale, Calif., and never played high school basketball there due to academic issues, followed his first AAU coach -- current Cyclones assistant
Brackins soon worked his way up to the end of the bench on Pump 'N' Run's elite team, but was only playing spot minutes behind guys such as
Whether the Cyclones can capitalize on having Brackins for another year remains to be seen. Otzelberger said Brackins told him he had "unfinished business" to attend to in Ames, and was hoping to have at least one NCAA tournament trip as part of his legacy at ISU, which hasn't made the Dance since 2005. The additions of four-star Chicago point guard
Brackins has become a recognizable figure in Ames -- in addition to being a star, 6-10 basketball player, he wore a fro-hawk last season, and likes to skate around campus on a Sector9 longboard -- and fans were understandably overjoyed this spring when he announced he'd be returning for another year. He said multiple fans approached him in the Des Moines airport at 6 a.m. on June 16, when he was on his way to Colorado Springs for the World University Games trials, just to thank him for his decision. Brackins told them, "You don't have to thank me! I'm glad to be back."
The morning after arriving in Colorado, Brackins had a scare. A stomach virus kept him out of a morning session of the U.S. trials, and he looked on from the sidelines, wearing skateboarding Vans rather than basketball Nikes. At one point while his teammates were scrimmaging, he got up, staggered out a back door of the gym, and threw up all over some concrete steps. But he managed to collect himself enough to participate in the night session, where, even in a weakened state, it was clear his diverse offensive skill set was something none of the other big men in camp (including Mississippi State's