Sports, Tuesday, April 14th

By: Nathan Bloechl — 

Former Cyclone Griffin Finds New Home:

Former Iowa State guard Zion Griffin has announced his intentions to transfer to the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Griffin picked U-IC Monday evening.

The former 4-star recruit transferred from Iowa State nearly one month ago after playing sparingly this season, averaging just 3 points and 2 boards in just over 10 minutes per game.

The 6’5 guard will not be immediately eligible for the Flames, who did not originally recruit Griffin out of the Indiana prep ranks.

Cyclones Lose Out on Turner, Back to Transfer Market:

Iowa State received a double dip of bad news yesterday when first-team all-MAC performer Justin Turner — ESPN’s #2 ranked graduate transfer — announced that he would be returning to Bowling Green for his senior campaign.

Iowa State, Marquette and Missouri were all vying for the combo guard’s services.

Turner is just another on the list of near misses for Steve Prohm’s group, which includes Harvard’s Bryce Aiken who settled on Seton Hall and Terrell Gomez of Cal State-Northridge who decided on San Diego State after both considering Iowa State until the bitter end.

The Cyclones still need to fill four scholarship positions after several transfers, graduations and Tyrese Haliburton’s early entry into the NBA Draft.

Iowa State did however land the biggest fish of the Iowa recruiting scene in Oskaloosa big man Xavier Foster.

They are also believed to be in the mix for former Bettendorf star and Ohio State transfer D.J. Carton.

Garza: “Encouraged to Enter NBA Draft by Fran McCaffery”:

Iowa star Luka Garza will test the NBA Draft process but is not hiring an agent.

That leaves open the possibility of a return for his senior season.

Garza averaged over 26 points per game in Big Ten play in being named the Player of the Year.

The big man from Washington D.C. says his head coach was the one who encouraged him to test the NBA waters.

He wants best for me and my family. And when you have a coach like that who knows the possibility of what it means for him and his career means a lot and that is something that is very dear to my heart” said Garza.

However, Garza says he is keeping his options open in part because the Hawkeyes could have a special team next season, one in which many analysts believe Iowa has a legitimate chance in the national landscape.

There is something special in this group in Iowa, I came here to play for Coach McCaffery and I would love to come back and make a run and win a Big Ten Championship” explained Garza.

If Garza is selected most NBA analysts believe the Iowa big man will be a second round pick.

Wirfs, Epenesa Drawing Significant NFL Draft Interest:

With just over one week until the NFL Draft, both Tristan Wirfs and A.J. Epenesa look both like locks for the first round.

Wirfs stock is red-hot right now with most draft analysts believing the former Mount Vernon standout will end up in the Big Apple playing for the New York Giants, who currently hold the 4th overall selection.

The range for Epenesa is anywhere from 18-23, with some analysts seeing a fit in New England.

The first round will be conducted next Thursday night.