Following an 80-76 loss to Purdue in the Round of 32 we have to say goodbye to our beloved Cyclone seniors. Monte Morris, Matt Thomas, Naz Mitrou-Long, Deonte Burton, Darrell Bowie, Merrill Holden, Stu Nezlek, all gone. It is the end of an era, an era that included 3 Big 12 Championship titles, trips to March Madness every year, and two Sweet 16’s. We saw Monte Morris bloom into a superstar and a Cyclone legend. We witnessed Naz Mitrou-Long improve from a freshman with little minutes into an all Big 12 player and great three-point shooter. Matt Thomas went from an unconfident freshmen to a consistent shooter right in front of our eyes. We saw flashes of Deonte Burton in his junior season but never saw what he could fully do until he was on the biggest stage. He scored 31 points to win at Kansas and 25 points in the final game of the season, nonetheless the country saw what he can do.
Not only did these student athletes grow as players but they all grew as people. Monte Morris put together a fundraiser with Hy-Vee to send semi-trucks full of bottled water back to his hometown Flint, Michigan during their water crisis. In Matt Thomas’ free time he goes to schools to talk about the dangers of drunk driving as he learned from his mistakes. Naz Mitrou-Long grew into the leader of this team and was a always a fan favorite. Steve Prohm has said many times that Deonte Burton he has changed for the better since he walked on campus. These men showed nothing but class as the represented Iowa State university.
Even though none of these men will wear the Cardinal & Gold ever again that does not mean this is an end to Iowa State Basketball. But if there is one thing this team knows it is that they left this program in a better spot than when they got here. Steve Prohm has the best recruiting class in school history coming in to pair with Donovan Jackson, Solomon Young, and Nick Weiler-Babb. Even though one era has come to a close, we look forward to the new one to start.