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Big 12 2019-20 Season Preview: Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State Cyclones

2018-19 Record: 23-12 (9-9)

2018-19 Big 12 Finish: 5th

Iowa State lost several clutch players to graduation and the NBA draft but don’t be fooled the Cyclones have a lot of talent and could be hard to handle. 

Players to Watch:

Solomon Young:

Young has been plagued with injuries the last two seasons. Last season he was sidelined all but four games after groin surgery and then shoulder surgery, earning him a medical redshirt. In the 2017-18 season, Young suffered a season-ending meniscus tear. Prior to the injury, Young averaged 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds a game while shooting 48.6% from the floor. As a freshman, the 6-foot-8, 242-pound forward appeared in 30 games and averaged 4.4 points. This summer Young got back on the court, playing in the YMCA CAP City League, where he won defensive MVP. If he can remain healthy, he will be an asset on defense and provide an edge on the boards. 

Rasir Bolton:

The Penn State transfer was granted immediate eligibility last week and looks to make an instant splash in Ames in what was a decimated backcourt for the Cyclones. As a freshman, Bolton averaged 11.6 points per contest with the Nittany Lions. In 32 games, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard shot 36.1% from beyond the arc and 87.6% from the line.

Tyrese Haliburton:

Haliburton was a key contributor last season for Iowa State. As a freshman, he averaged 6.8 points, 3.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game. Haliburton shot 51.5% from the floor and 43.4% from three. Over the summer, the 6-foot-5, 175-pound guard played for the U.S. team, which won gold at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece. 

Michael Jacobson:

Last season Jacobson was a solid contributor and was named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward averaged 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds a game and started all 35 games for the Cyclones last season. He shot 57.6% from the floor and 34% from the 3-point line. Heading into his senior year, Jacobson will provide size and ability to find the basket. 

Key Losses

Marial Shayok:

Last season Shayok averaged 18.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assist per game while starting in every game he played. He was an Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention selection, a Julius Erving Award Finalist (Small Forward of the Year) and an All-Big 12 First-Team selection. His success landed him with the Philadelphia 76ers as a second round selection. 

Nick Weiler-Babb:

Weiler-Babb was another starter Iowa State parted ways with. After ending his career in Ames, he went on to sign a deal to play in the NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat. Weiler-Babb averaged 9.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals while shooting a career-best 35.6 percent behind the arc. He was second in the league in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5) and finished career with third-best assist-to-turnover ratio in school history at 2.59. Weiler-Babb had 344 career assists, which ranks 13th all-time with the Cyclones.

Talen Horton-Tucker: 

The Orlando Magic drafted Horton-Tucker in the second round of the NBA Draft after a successful freshman campaign with Iowa State. He was third on the team and 15th in the conference averaging 11.8 points per game. He also averaged 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Horton-Tucker was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

Lindell Wigginton:

After a solid sophomore season with the Cyclones, Wigginton left early and went undrafted. However, he inked a summer league deal with the Toronto Raptors and later signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season Wigginton finished second on the team averaging 13.5 points to earn All-Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades and be named the conference’s sixth man of the year. He shot 39 percent from 3-point range. 

Final Thoughts:

The loss of Wigginton, Horton-Tucker, Weiler-Babb, Shayok is going to be tough for Iowa State to shake. With Bolten gaining immediate eligibility, it helps the Cyclones tremendously. Plus the team gained 10 extra practices over the summer to prepare for their Italy trip. Defensively, Iowa State will be sound but it remains a question as to how well the team will shoot from 3.

Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS

Shanna Rose
WVU Graduate with a bachelor's in journalism and multimedia journalist. Sports Fan and sports writer. Former WVU News reporter. Contact Shanna on Twitter @SMR1837
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