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Even if White thrives, it’ll be tough to be best Cyclone ever


Mike Miller

Iowa State left Tuesday for an 11-day tour of Italy that’ll include 3 or 4 games against local club teams and a fair amount of sightseeing.

Wonder if those lucky Italians know what’s coming their way in Royce White?

White, the 6-8, 250-pound forward who transferred from Minnesota after a freshman season filled with off-court news, wowed Cyclones fans this summer thanks to his triple-double line – 24 points, 11 assists, 11 rebounds a game – in the YMCA Capital City League. In fact, some are thinking he’ll go down as the greatest Cyclone ever.

It’s not like Iowa State’s hoops history is filled with standout players. But they’re not chumps, either.

Jeff Grayer put up 25 and 9 as a senior and was an Olympian in ’88. Jamaal Tinsley never lost a home game and was the Big 12’s best point guard at the turn of the century. Jeff Hornacek and Fred Hoiberg would start for any team today. And ask Kansas fans how good Marcus Fizer was in college.

Still. Fans are eager to see how White performs this season. That says as much about how starved Iowa State is for some hoops success as it does about the school’s history. They also can take comfort how White reacted to their hopes.

“I’m happy somebody would think of me in that way,” he told the Des Moines Register, “and it gives me motivation to try to achieve that on the court and off. It’s an objective term and probably a little extreme, considering all the great players who’ve been here, but I’d like to be on the list someday. I think it’s achievable. Not for what I do individually as much as for what we do as a team. Hopefully, I can make a dent in Iowa State history that way.”

It is possible White fulfills those expectations. He’s reportedly in great shape and was always capable of big things.

But better than Fizer or Grayer? That’ll mean putting up big numbers and winning lots of games. Not sure both are possible right now in Ames.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.