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Former UD assistant making difference for Iowa State


If Iowa State assistant Cornell Mann ever needs another job in coaching, he probably won’t stay on the market long. He’s been at four schools and reached the NCAA tournament at each, including Dayton in 2009.

Asked why success seems to follow him, Mann said: “I credit my faith and trust in God first, and from there, I’m a little old-school. I believe in discipline and being consistent with discipline. And not only do the high school coaches know I care, the players know I care. You can get guys to do a lot of things when they know you really care.”

Mann, 41, joined the Cyclones after UD coach Brian Gregory left for Georgia Tech in 2011. He’s been given much of the defensive duties for the team, although he may be making his biggest impact as a recruiter.

He developed deep ties in Michigan while working on the staffs of two Mid-American Conference schools and as a high school coach there, and those relationships are paying off.

The 2013 Michigan player of the year, senior guard Monte Morris, has committed to Iowa State, and the Cyclones’ entire roster has a Michigan flavor. One-time UD signee Percy Gibson of Detroit followed Mann there after the coaching change.

“Iowa State had always been very successful in the state of Michigan, and Cornell has brought that back to us,” Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. “I think the Michigan player of the year has always gone to Michigan State going back to 2008. That shows you the connections Cornell has in that state for us to get a player of that caliber.

“His on-the-court basketball knowledge has been awesome as well. … I think Cornell will be a head coach at some point, there’s no doubt in my mind.”

Still in the mix: Dayton is committed to hosting the NCAA First Four games through 2015 and would like to keep them beyond that.

But UD Arena also has been a popular site for what are now known as the second and third rounds, and the school has been assured by the NCAA that it will still be considered for those games even though it could become the long-term home for the First Four.

“We were almost in a three-year rotation with what was then the first and second round,” said Gary McCans, the longtime UD ticket director who now works in game support services. “They haven’t guaranteed us, but they’re saying, ‘You’re going to be in a five-year rotation with the second- and third-round games.’

“They haven’t promised us that rotation but have indicated that’s when we’ll be put back on the board when they start looking at that stuff.”

But hosting 10 games and accommodating 11 teams in a week is a challenge.

“Our biggest problem is hotels,” McCans said. “We’re using the Fairborn Holiday Inn, which is a great, great property. But that’s how far out we have to go.”

Brotherly love: Temple coach Fran Dunphy graduated from La Salle, so he had a rooting interest Wednesday night when La Salle beat Boise State 80-71 in a first-round game at UD Arena. In fact, he supports all the Philadelphia teams — to a certain extent.

“Do we want to beat each other to death when we play?” he said. “Yeah, we do. But we have tremendous respect.”

Be patient: UD expects some congestion between the two sessions today and asks fans holding tickets to only the opening double-header to leave quickly after the Indiana-James Madison game at 4:10 p.m. to free up seats in the arena and spaces in the parking lot for second-session patrons.


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