The Iowa State’s men’s basketball program has had a busy and productive offseason after bringing in new Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger to go along with a group of new players.
During a media availability Thursday, transfers Robert Jones, Tristan Enaruna and Izaiah Brockington were asked about the culture actively being built as the offseason progresses.
Jones, who made his move from the University of Denver to Iowa State, discussed the importance of growing off of the court.
“I think it’s just as important to build a non-basketball relationship with your teammates as it is to build a basketball relationship," he said. "… The non-basketball relationship will help you expand your mind toward somebody, respect them outside of the game.”
Enaruna, who transferred from Kansas to Iowa State, was asked what he’s noticing about this group compared to what he’s seen with the past couple of Iowa State teams.
“I feel like we really have a very close group right now," he said. "T.J. always emphasizes that one of the most important things [for] being a good team is being good together, being good teammates for each other.”
Otzelberger has had his players interact in the form of games like dodgeball and the floor is lava. While this may seem unorthodox, especially for a program coming off a season such as the last one, the players are latching on, and the results have the team trending in the right direction.
Brockington was among the players that were skeptical about this coaching strategy, but now he understands the value.
“All the little activities we do, you might say they’re childish, [but] when you have a team like ours, … all of that stuff matters,” Brockington said. “We’re not ‘too good’ to have fun playing games with each other.”
Otzelberger was determined to establish a winning culture in Ames, beginning with bringing the players together. A solid foundation has been put in place, with players who want to be here and compete as Cyclones.