The Forgotten Years: The History of Wayne Morgan and Iowa State Basketball (Part 3)
The following is an exclusive continuing feature on Wayne Morgan’s tenure with Iowa State basketball from Clones Confidential staff writer Carmon Wilson. Here are the first two parts of the feature: Part 1 | Part 2
Building a dynasty
By the time the 2004-05 season has concluded, both Will Blalock and Curtis Stinson had built a strong bond. Both headed home back to the East Coast for the summer, but that didn’t stop them from keeping in contact.
“I knew I was going to go home during the summer and play at Rucker Park,” Stinson said. “I was approached by someone looking for players and I reached out to Will. Will was in Boston which was 3-4 hours away and would often times come to New York to see some guys. I hit him up and asked him if he wanted to play, and he said sure. And [he] ended up playing too.”
“After we finished our first session of summer school, we were able to go home and I made it over there to play with Curtis at Rucker,” Blalock said. “That was a great experience, and I learned a lot that summer.”
Meanwhile, Coach Morgan and his staff had been busy recruiting other East Coast prospects to Iowa State.
“One of the things I’m very proud about is that we signed the No. 2 recruiting class in the country our second year according to one publication,” assistant coach Damien Archibald said. “Now, not all those kids made it to campus, but Iowa State was kind of sexy at the time so it wasn’t a hard sell at all to get those kids from the East Coast to Ames. We had the program rolling with national exposure and great recruiting ties between the assistant coaches. When we took over at Iowa State I remember having a meeting with some key boosters and them telling me that they understood the program may only win a handful of games this upcoming year and it will take a few years to rebuild. They wanted us to know that they supported us, and that first year we won 20 games and made it to the NIT semifinals in New York.”
“We had both Rashon [Clark] and Tasheed [Carr] already committed and signed in the fall,” Morgan said. “And we were excited about the future and the coming year.”
Both Carr and Clark were the jewels of the recruiting class. Carr, a high touted point guard from Philadelphia was the 22nd ranked PG in 2004. He came from the heralded Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham. Clark was a high flying small forward out of New York who was ranked as 18th best SF in the country that year.Photo from Iowa State Athletics. Used with permission.
“I had built a strong relationship with the coaches and the coaching staff there at the time,” Carr said. “They had some great coaches from the Northeast that I could relate to, and players already on the team such as Curtis and Will who were also from the Northeast and had had success. Those guys made me feel welcome from day one on my visit and I wanted to be a part of the success they had the prior year. We talked about taking the world by storm and I wanted to be a part of that.”
“Coach Q (Quartlebaum) and Morgan had been watching me since high school before I even went to prep school,” Clark said. “Those two were the main reasons why I choose Iowa State. My pops had passed away and I was looking for that strong figure to take care of me, and Coach Morgan certainly did that. I was impressed that they continued to call and check up on me. Not only about basketball, but talk about school, my family, and everything going on in my life.“
However, once again before the season started, the team would have to deal with another loss on the roster. This time in assistant coach Quartlebaum, who had accepted a position at St. John’s after longing to return home to the East Coast.
Despite the offseason battles, the team pushed on. Now a sophomore Curtis Stinson was voted as co-captain of the team with senior Jared Homan.
“It was a great honor to be chosen,” Stinson said. “I’d learned a lot from the seniors the year before, but that season they took care of a lot of stuff for me and the other guys. Now I’m looked to as a leader and that was new for me. Thank God Homan was also on that team or we would have been in trouble (laughs). “
“When I first got to Ames the summer before my freshmen year, it was crazy and I had a blast!” said Clark. “The first thing I noticed was that the workouts were much harder than I anticipated.”
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