2017-18 Record: 13-18 (4-14 Big 12)
Seniors losing: G Donovan Jackson (15.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 62 assists), F Hans Brase (2.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg), F Jeff Beverly (4.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg).
Any NBA Bound?: I believe Jackson will get a Summer League invite and a training camp invite. A G-League contract would be a win for Jackson this fall.
Any One-and-dones or early entries?: None
Top players returning: G Nick Weiler-Babb (11.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, team-leading 149 assists), F Cameron Lard (12.6 ppg, team-leading 8.1 rpg), G Lindell Wigginton (team-leading 16.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg), Zoran Talley Jr. (7.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg), F Solomon Young (7.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg).
The players you don’t know about: F Michael Jacobson and G Marial Shayok. Jacobson, a Waukee, Iowa, product sat out the season after transferring from Nebraska, where he averaged 6 points and 6 rebounds as a sophomore. He could add frontcourt depth immediately. Shayok, a senior, has one year of eligibility left after transferring from Virginia after last season. While at Virginia in 2016-17 he was No. 2 on the team in scoring with 8.9 points and has eight games of NCAA Tournament experience.
Recruits already in the house: SF Talen Horton-Tucker, 6-foot-5, Chicago, Illinois (Simeon HS); SF Zion Griffin, 6-foot-6, Darien, Illinois (Hinsdale South HS); PG Tyrese Halliburton, 6-foot-5, Oshkosh, Wisconsin (North HS); PF George Conditt, 6-foot-10, Chicago, IL (Corliss HS). Steve Prohm and his staff raided Illinois for talent in the early signing period and per 247Sports.com their class is No. 3 in the Big 12 and No. 26 in the country. Horton-Tucker is a Top 100 recruit. All four are Top 10 recruits in their state.
Commitments yet to sign: 247Sports.com reports no hard commits for the Cyclones.
Summarizing the season: Iowa State knew it would take a step back this season, given the talent lost from last season and the transfers that had to sit out the season. The injury to Weiler-Babb halfway through Big 12 play didn’t help. But the fact that these Cyclones were able to remain above .500 well into February was a testament to the emergences of Wigginton and Lard, who should be the foundation of this team for the next two to three years.
Looking ahead to 2018-19: The Cyclones won’t be under-.500 next season. Despite the loss of Jackson, the Cyclones should return a full starting lineup in Weiler-Babb, Wigginton, Lard, Young and Talley. Jacobson and Shayok should provide solid depth off the bench. The recruits coming in could pay off immediately, potentially in the way that Zhaire Smith and Jarrett Culver paid off for Texas Tech this season. Tucker is particularly interesting, as he was named the Chicago Sun-Times’ Player of the Year. But all three Chicagoland-based recruits are among the ten best players in the state, and that’s good news for the future at Iowa State.
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Based on what is coming back, the Cyclones should, at the least, get back to the postseason in the NIT in 2018-19.