Leading up to the opening of the 2020-21 Big 12 Men’s basketball season Heartland College Sports will analyze each of the Big 12 men’s basketball teams. Today it’s the Iowa State Cyclones.
2019-20 Record: 12-20 (5-13 in Big 12)
Top returning leaders: G Rasir Bolton (14.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.8 apg), G Tre Jackson (4.1 ppg, 1.3 apg), F Solomon Young (10.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg), F George Conditt IV (7.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg).
2019-20 Seniors/Lettermen lost: G Prentiss Nixon (9.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg), F Michael Jacobson (7.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg), G Tyrese Haliburton (15.2 ppg, 6.5 apg and 2.5 spg). The Cyclones also lost the following players to transfer — F Luke Anderson (transferred to USF), G Zion Griffin (transferred to Illinois-Chicago), G Caleb Grill (transferred to UNLV), G Marcedus Leech Jr. (transferred to Iowa Western CC), G Terrence Lewis (transferred to South Alabama).
Recruits signed: C Xavier Foster, 7-foot, Oskaloosa (Oskaloosa, IA); F Dudley Blackwell, 6-foot-5, Somerset Academy Charter (Pembroke Pines, FL); F Darlingstone Dubar, 6-foot-5, Scotland Performance Institute (Scotland, PA); G Jaden Walker, 6-foot-5, Discovery (Lawrenceville, GA).
Head coach Steve Prohm cultivated a Top 30 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.com. Foster is the centerpiece, a Top 100 national player and it’s a coup that Prohm was not only able to keep him in the state, but keep him away from Iowa. Blackwell, Dubar and Walker will add wing depth and some may redshirt.
Looking ahead to 2021, the Cyclones signed consensus Top 100 national recruit Tyrese Hunter, a 6-foot-1 guard from Racine St. Catherine’s in Racine, Wisconsin. Last season he averaged 21.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals. At the moment, is the only recruit signed for the 2021 class, but 247sports.com ranks Hunter as the program’s No. 4 all-time recruit, dating back to 2004.
Transfers eligible for 2020-21
Javan Johnson played two seasons at Troy before transferring to Iowa State and sitting out last season. Johnson averaged more than 10 points per game, along with 4.2 rebounds, in his sophomore season at Troy. He’s a solid 3-point shooter, too. Tyler Harris, who averaged 9.9 points and connected on 138 3-pointers in two seasons at Memphis, transferred to ISU and is immediately eligible for this season. DePaul transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands transferred from the Blue Devils after graduating and can play this season. He averaged 11.1 points per game last season for DePaul.
Transfers expected to sit out in 2020-21
G/F Blake Hinson will not play in 2020-21 after transferring from Ole Miss. His redshirt is related to a medical condition. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school.
Looking ahead to 2020-21
The Cyclones are coming off their second losing season in their last three under head coach Steve Prohm, sandwiched around a 2019 in which the Cyclones won the Big 12 Tournament. So, this has the feel of a make-or-break season for Prohm. Why? Well, aside from the losing record last season, the Cyclones experienced an exodus of five players who decided to transfer to other programs. Plus, Nixon and Jacobson were out of eligibility and Haliburton headed for the NBA. So, going into this season, the Cyclones will rely heavily on
Bolton, who emerged as the best thing to happen out of last season’s mess. From there, Jackson, Young and Conditt form a nice core. But there are plenty of question marks. The recruiting class has a good feel to it, and some may have to contribute early. The Cyclones also need Johnson to play the way he played at Troy right away to give them another offensive option. Harris and Coleman-Lands transferred in and can play right away, and they combined to score more than 20 points per game last year. Prohm has work to do here, and if you need a template for what happens when you lose this many transfers in one season, look no further than TCU, which was good, but not great, last season after losing a similar number of transfers the previous season.
As far as availability for the season opener, Prohm reported no major injuries during his media day. A few players, including Coleman-Lands (hamstring), Foster (concussion protocol) and Johnson (illness), were “beat up” during fall workouts, but they’re returning to health in time for the season opener.
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