#27 Iowa State Men's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Iowa State Cyclones
2016-2017 Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #4 Big 12
Head Coach Steve Prohm went into a nearly impossible situation last year at Iowa State as he was following local legend Fred Hoiberg, who was an Iowa State alum and Ames native that had moved on to coach the Chicago Bulls. However, when it counted the most late in the season Prohm was able to get the Cyclones playing at a high level and into the Sweet 16 before falling to Virginia to cap a 23 win first season. There will be some retooling to do this season, but look for Iowa State to be a factor in the Big 12 Conference race by seasons end.
2015-16 Record: 23-12, 10-8
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Steve Prohm
Coach Record: 23-12 at Iowa State, 127-41 overall
Who’s Out:
With Georges Niang moving on, it is going to be very interesting see how Coach Prohm replaces the lost productivity of Niang at both ends of the court. Niang was very effective shooting the basketball at just over 54 percent from the floor and he was a strong perimeter shooter as well. The combination of 20 plus points per game, along with a little over six rebounds per game, will be tough to replace right away. This could be done a committee of players in the early portion of the season. Abdel Nader’s offensive productivity will also be missed. Nader averaged 12.9 points per game and was another strong three-point shooter for Iowa State, shooting 37.1 percent from behind the three point line. Jameel McKay, Hallice Cooke and Jordan Ashton are also not returning from last year’s roster.
Who’s In:
Merrill Holden, a transfer from Louisiana Tech, might not have the scoring ability like Niang but should be a nice defensive stopper down low at center for the Cyclones. Donovan Jackson will be counted heavily in the backcourt to be able to come in off the bench and provide some instant offense. Jackson is a proven three-point shooter at the junior college level where he made 40 percent of three-point shots last season at Iowa Western. Nick Weiler-Babb, a transfer from Arkansas, Darrell Bowie, a transfer from Northern Illinois, and Cameron Lard, once he arrives in December, should round out a deep eight to nine man rotation this season for the Cyclones.
Who to Watch:
Monte Morris will run things once again at point guard and his experience should make a significant difference right away. Morris averaged 13.9 points and four rebounds per game last season to set the tone for a strong finish to his career in Ames. Naz Mitrou-Long showed flashes of great play last year in just eight games. The biggest question for him will be the health of his hips after having hip surgery last season. Matt Thomas should be another key scoring threat for the Cyclones and transitioned nicely into the starting lineup after Mitrou-Long went down with the hip injury. Forward Deonte Burton will be another key player to watch as Burton showed some great ability at times last year. The problem for Burton is the inability to stay on the basketball court due to early foul trouble. If Burton can stay on the floor, he should average about 12-15 points per game this season.
Final Projection:
Iowa State will head to the AdvoCare Invitational in late November and should get a nice early test in the second round against either Miami or Stanford. Cincinnati visits Hilton Coliseum on December and then a week later the annual Iowa Corn CYHAWK Series matchup with Iowa will take place in Iowa City. The Big 12 schedule is fairly balanced. Kansas will visit for Big Monday on January 16th in what should be another epic battle between these two rivals. The four game stretch starting January 31st against West Virginia followed by a trip to Kansas, then Texas and then Oklahoma comes to Ames will go a long way in dictating the overall direction of the season for the Cyclones. This will take some time to come together, but look for Iowa State to make it back to the NCAA Tournament without being anywhere near the bubble.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Monte Morris, Senior, Guard, 13.9 points per game
Naz Mitrou-Long, Junior, Guard, 12.0 points per game
Matt Thomas, Senior, Guard, 11.0 points per game
Deonte Burton, Junior, Forward, 9.7 points per game
Merrill Holden, Senior, Center, DNP last season
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 81.8 (14th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 75.0 (254, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 50.3 (2, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.8 (194, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (56, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.7 (22, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.2 (157, 6)
Rebound Margin: -0.5 (202, 7)
Assists Per Game: 16.5 (22, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (61, 2)
Madness 2017 NBA Draft Rankings:
#42 Monte Morris
Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#123 Jakplby Long
#148 Cameron Lard