Big 12 Team Preview: Iowa State Cyclones

Posted by Taylor Erickson on November 6th, 2013

Over the next two weeks, the Big 12 microsite will preview each of the league’s 10 teams. Today: Iowa State.

Where We Left Off: For Iowa State fans, please excuse us, we don’t mean to re-live a bad memory. The 2012-13 season ended with Aaron Craft ripping the hearts out of Cyclone Nation with a go-ahead three-pointer in the final seconds of the second (or now third?) round of the NCAA Tournament last March. Iowa State made a serious statement a year ago, proving it belongs among the league’s best teams after finishing in a tie for fourth in the conference. While Hilton Coliseum has never been an easy place to play, Fred Hoiberg‘s mesh of young players and transfers has paid dividends in making Iowa State one of the scariest teams in the league every season.

Can Fred Hoiberg's Iowa State team build upon a fourth place finish in the league last season? (Ames Tribune)

Can Fred Hoiberg’s Iowa State team build upon a fourth place finish in the league last season? (Ames Tribune)

Positives: Fresh off a successful run in league play a season ago, there’s so much to like about where Hoiberg has this program headed. While this Iowa State team did lose several key components to graduation, they return Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang in the frontcourt, both of whom played significant minutes last year. Ejim is a double-double machine down low and one of the best rebounders in the conference (although Ejim is expected to be out for most of November with a knee injury), while Niang has crafty skills to score the ball around the basket, and the touch to stretch a defense with his ability to knock down the outside jumper. Marshall transfer DeAndre Kane will be leaned on to fill the void from departed point guard Korie Lucious after averaging 15.1 points per game a season ago for the Thundering Herd, and freshman Matt Thomas is a sharpshooter who will fit in beautifully with Hoiberg’s three-point heavy system, helping Cyclone fans get over the loss of Tyus McGee to graduation.

Negatives: Hoiberg has transformed Iowa State into “Transfer U.” since he took over as head coach, and the strategy has worked almost flawlessly during this period. That said, there’s always a bit of a risk in relying so heavily on impact transfers and hoping the roster will gel during the year. While there is still a ton of talent on this team, the departures of Lucious and McGee, along with Chris Babb and Will Clyburn will create a big uncertainty in the backcourt. Whether Iowa State can continue to shoot the ball from deep as well as it has in the past will be a major factor in the team’s success this season.

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Big 12 Team Previews: Iowa State Cyclones

Posted by dnspewak on November 5th, 2011

Projected finish: 8th

2010-11 record: 16-16 (3-13), 12th

Head coach: Fred Hoiberg, second season

Key Losses: Diante Garrett (17.3 PPG), Jake Anderson (12.8 PPG), Jamie Vanderbeken, (11.1 PPG)

Coach Fred Hoiberg‘s team started quick in nonconference play during his first season, but his Cyclones eventually tumbled to a dismal last-place finish in 2010-11. After losing one of the league’s top point guards in Diante Garrett, Hoiberg’s job doesn’t get much easier this fall. However, he does have one of the more intriguing rosters in the Big 12 with four big-name transfers set to take the court. There are a lot of wild cards for Iowa State this season, but there may be enough talent for a surprise finish.

Fred Hoiberg's Team Could Surprise (AP/A. Heisenfelt)

The Stars: Scott Christopherson may be the most underrated shooter in college basketball. He shot a blistering 44.1% from three-point range last year, making 83 threes during a terrific campaign. Garrett got a lot of the credit as the star last season, but Christopherson was probably the second most important player on the squad. After playing sparingly as a freshman at Marquette due to injury, Christopherson finally emerged as a team leader when he became fully healthy and earned a starting job.

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 08.09.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 9th, 2010

So apparently Anthony Davis has been in the news. . . Outside of that fiasco there was also a bit of other news on the recruiting circuit.

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Recruiting Rumor Mill: 08.02.10 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on August 2nd, 2010

It was a relatively quiet week for recruiting after the crazy week last week in Las Vegas, but we should start to get more news over the next few weeks as recruits start narrowing down their list or even committing to schools.

  • Austin Rivers got the headlines in Orlando this week, but we hope that everyone paid attention to a solid performance from Trevor Lacey, who had 22 points to Rivers’ 24 points, as they combined to lead their team to victory. The game was supposed to be a showdown between Rivers and Michael Gilchrist that was scrapped when Gilchrist’s mom shut him down for the summer, but there was still plenty of star power as Rivers and Lacey knocked off Ben McLemore and Bradley Beal.
  • Speaking of Rivers…by now you have probably already read it, but for those of you who haven’t, FanHouse has a pretty lengthy profile on Rivers, his dad’s influence on his game, and the schools he is looking at.
  • It seems like a weekly thing now, but we have another update for Anthony Davis. The talented power forward has apparently expanded his list to include DePaul. Even though that is his hometown team I’m sure the Illinois faithful are wondering why Bruce Weber can’t elicit any interest from an in-state recruit like Davis.
  • Maurice Harkless is starting to turn some heads especially after his solid performance at the Fab 48 and after beating out a number of big names for MVP honors at the Desert Duel. Harkless, who had previously committed to UConn, will be releasing his list later this month and if the names of the coaches watching him this summer are any indication the list should be full of big names.
  • Dayton received a commitment from Percy Gibson, a 6’8 big man from Detroit who the Flyers reportedly had as their #1 big man target. [Ed. Note: Does a school ever pick up a player who wasn't their #1 target?]
  • Meanwhile, Rutgers added its own big man in Derrick Randall, who has stated that he will try to bring his AAU point guard (and St. Anthony’s recruit) Myles Mack with him.
  • With so few highly rated big men in this year’s class, every solid interior player is drawing a lot of interest and Johnny O’Bryant is no exception, as he is drawing interest from big names like Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisville.
  • Nick Kerr, son of former NBA sharpshooter Steve Kerr, won’t be following in his father’s footsteps at Arizona, opting to stay in California (where the family resides now) and committing to play at San Diego. Like his father, Nick possesses a sweet jump shot (41% from 3-point range and 85% from the free throw line as a junior) and has not been heavily recruited out of high school.
  • Although this isn’t what you normally think about when you consider recruiting, Andy Glockner brings us an analysis of incoming transfers who are basically new recruits. Teams are unlikely to get game-changers like a star freshman, but some of these transfers could give their teams just the little bit extra they need to get over the hump whether it is into the NCAA Tournament, into the Sweet 16, or cutting down the nets in San Antonio in April.
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