Big 12 Basketball

Big 12 Portal Thoughts: Iowa State Men Pull Peak Transfers

Syndication: The Des Moines Register

Coach T.J. Otzelberger has the Iowa State Cyclones poised to make a big breakthrough next season, thanks to player retention and the transfer portal.

The Cyclones are coming off winning the Big 12 Tournament title over Houston, which helped them claim a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Iowa State reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in three seasons under Otzelberger, where it lost to Illinois.


Even before the Cyclones were eliminated they pulled one of the top forwards in the transfer portal. If it’s possible, they could have a better roster than a season ago.

In this edition of Portal Thoughts we take a look at where Iowa Sate is now and what’s left to do this offseason.

Iowa State’s Losses (3)

The Cyclones lost three players to eligibility, who combined averaged 22 points last season. That includes the forward fans call “Big Rob Energy,” Robert Jones, who averaged 7.7 points. Forward Tre King averaged 9.0 points, and Hason Ward averaged another six points per game. All three were with the program for multiple seasons.

Iowa State’s Transfer Losses (3)

The Cyclones have four players in the transfer portal, most notably their highest-rated freshman from a season ago, forward Omaha Biliew, who averaged just 2.4 points last season. He’s already landed at Wake Forest.

Sophomore guard Jackson Paveletzke averaged 3.4 points but never got a lot of playing time last season. He’ll play with Ohio next season.

Guard Jelani Hamilton, who was a freshman last year, is the other Cyclone in the portal and he has not committed to a school yet.


Iowa State’s NBA Early Entries (0)

None of Iowa State’s players are in the NBA Draft this offseason, even to test the waters and get their report card.

Iowa State’s Transfer Gains (4)

Iowa State pulled four players out of the transfer portal and all of them averaged at least nine points last season, with three of them averaging 10 or more points.

The big prize was center Dishon Jackson, a 6-foot-10 sophomore from Charlotte who committed to ISU during the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 11.4 points. But the Cyclones also grabbed Seattle center Brandon Chatfield, who averaged 9.4 points. The Cyclones have the talent to fill the rebounding void left by the departures of King and Jones.

Northern Iowa guard Nate Heise averaged 13.5 points last season, while Saint Mary’s forward Joshua Jefferson averaged 10.2 points.

It’s a tremendous quartet that combined to score nearly 45 points per game last season. 

Iowa State’s Recruiting Gains (2)

The Cyclones have just two incoming freshmen, led by four-star and Top 100 guard Nojus Indrusaitis, who played for Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H. He could be the type of player that makes an immediate impact, but there is plenty of talent ahead of him.


Forward Dwayne Pierce out of Christ The King Regional in Middle Village, N.Y., is a Top 200 player.

Set to Return (7)

If the transfer firepower isn’t enough to get you excited, the Cyclones have four players returning from last year’s Sweet 16 team that averaged double figures, led by guard Keshon Gilbert, who poured in 13.7 points per game.

Another guard, Tamin Lipsey, took a huge leap as a 3-point shooter and averaged 12.4 points. Behind him was sixth man Curtis Jones, who averaged 11 points and freshman Milan Momcilovic (10.9 points).

The three remaining players are looking for more playing time — Demarion Watson, Kayden Fish and J.T. Rock. Fish entered the transfer portal but returned and Rock was a redshirt last season after he enrolled early.

What’s Left?

Well, you count the players and the scholarships and you get 13. So, Iowa State’s roster is locked in. And it’s stacked. It has 3-point shooter, proven height and considerable depth. Plus, a set of players that will have time to grow. This team looks like one that can compete with any in the country next season.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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