When the Iowa State University Cyclones fell to the Texas Tech Red Raiders last night, 78-71, the biggest presence may well have been the missing one, namely German guard Lucca Staiger. Staiger had been ISU’s third-high scorer this season at 9.4 points per game to go with a 42.5 percent three-point shooting rate and even put the finishing touches on an ISU win Sunday night, but suddenly left the team on Tuesday to play for Alba Berlin.
“An opportunity to play professionally in my home country has come my way and I’ve decided to pursue it right away,” said Staiger via ISU-issued statement.
Local press, teammates and coach Greg McDermott were stunned by Staiger’s decision, one the player explained by saying “I came to the United States with the hope of playing professional basketball in the NBA. After the past couple of seasons in college, I’ve realized that dream has become less likely…”
McDermott theorized that “A lot of it has to do with the timing and the fact that Lucca didn’t feel comfortable enough to share his feelings with us as coaches or even some of his friends that are his teammates.”
The Alba Berlin front office has yet to officially announce the addition of Staiger to the club or its active roster.