T.J. Otzelberger hopes Milwaukee ties help him keep Tyrese Hunter at Iowa State
During his introductory press conference, new Iowa State head coach T.J. Otzelberger answered the most popular question among Cyclone fans these past few days:
What's your plan with Iowa State four-star point guard signee Tyrese Hunter?
Otzelberger said he plans to have a Zoom call with Hunter on Friday. He included Hunter with the current Cyclones players as people he will talk to first and foremost to find out what he'll have on his roster before he does any recruiting.
With Hunter, in particular, Otzelberger has plenty of ties to work with. He attended Thomas More High School in Milwaukee, which played in the same conference as St. Catherine's, which is Hunter's school.
"I grew up 20 minutes from there," said Otzelberger, who added with pride that he once scored 26 points at St. Catherine's. "His high school coach, Nick Bennett, is someone I've known for a long time and is cousins with Tony Bennett, the head coach at Virginia, who's been a mentor of mine. (Nick) has an older brother that played at Whitewater a few years after I played there. So there's certainly a lot of connections and ties.
"We had interest in Tyrese at UNLV and started the process. Didn't get too far down the road, but identified his talent and thought he was special. So I'm excited, with all those ties, to be able to communicate with him and connect with him today. And we'll look forward to doing so. Like I said, it's the players on the roster and players like Tyrese being signed, those are the guys that we're going to start all the conversations with."
Hunter, a consensus top-50 national prospect, committed to Steve Prohm-led Iowa State back in August over Florida, Virginia Tech, Miami, Marquette, UConn, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Georgia and Georgia Tech. College coaches gave the Register rave reviews about Hunter following that commitment, and the 6-foot-1 point guard was seen as an instant-impact type of recruit.
Jayden Nunn, the Cyclones' other 2021 recruit, was a fast-rising, late-blooming recruit playing for Dream City Christian in Arizona when he committed to Iowa State in December. Originally from Flint, Michigan, the 6-3 combo guard was also receiving recruiting interest from Kansas, TCU, Arizona State, Rhode Island and Cal.
Otzelberger is able to publicly speak about Hunter because he has already signed his letter of intent with Iowa State. Nunn hasn't yet signed his, so Otzelberger cannot speak publicly about him.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.