Williams Blog: Five questions for hoops media day

Iowa State’s men’s basketball media day is tomorrow folks.

I slotted all of Tuesday afternoon to prepare for the event/season and figured I’d share some of it with you.

Here are five questions I’m looking to have answered at tomorrow’s press conference.

1 – We’ve heard Fred Hoiberg talk about a more traditional style of play without Royce White in the lineup during the offseason. Can we get some specifics coach?

We know that senior point guard Korie Lucious (Michigan State transfer) will run the point. You can go ahead and ink in Will Clyburn and Chris Babb starters as well. But who will fill those other two spots in the starting lineup and how will this new cast of characters be used?

One can only imagine that Melvin Ejim, now a junior, will find his way into the starting lineup on a nightly basis.  

Match-ups will likely dictate who that fifth guy is but I have a sneaky suspicion that true freshman Georges Niang will be the man by the time Big 12 play rolls around.

Don’t sleep on Tyrus McGee, Anthony Booker and Percy Gibson either.

Good golly it feels nice to be talking hoops again

2 – Who will make up for Scott Christopherson and Chris Allen’s 143 3-pointers last season?

Chicks dig the long ball. So who will knock some treys down this year for the Cyclones now that Chris Allen and Scott Christopherson have moved on? 

Tyrus McGee is the front-runner to lead Iowa State in 3-point shooting this season. The senior went 50-for-127 (.394) last season for the Cyclones. One can only imagine he’ll get many more attempts in 2012-13.

Will Clyburn will be in the mix too. The Utah transfer knocked down 62 of 154 3-point attempts during his junior season as a Ute.   

What about Lucious? He wasn’t know for the long ball during his time at Michigan State but I’m hearing his shot has improved. Remember that Lucious did knock 44 threes down during his sophomore season as a Spartan. 

3 – Is Chris Babb that guy?

This is such a large question that it deserves a number of its own.

Has Chris Babb’s offensive game awoken from the coma that it was in during the second half of last season? Babb made 43 of his 64 3-pointers in the first 16 games of last season.

The potential is there. We all saw that in his 7-for-11 assault from behind the arc against Providence in South Padre Island. Babb also went 5-for-5 from long range in a win over Western Carolina.

Babb was a bad, bad man defensively for Iowa State last season but Fred Hoiberg will need more out of his senior this year. 

4 – How good are Lucious and Clyburn?

It’s a basic question but the answer should tell us if Iowa State is a tournament team or not. It’s your point guard and the guy who I anticipate will lead the Cyclones in scoring and maybe even rebounding. 

Lucious has supposedly taken his offensive game to a new level. How will he be in terms of being the leader Hoiberg will need to him to be?

And as for Clyburn, I’m not sure if there is a more underrated player in the Big 12 heading into the season. He averaged 17.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game as a junior at Utah while racking up Second-Team All-Mountain West honors. Since then, he’s gotten bigger. Iowa State’s media guy has him listed at 6-foot-7, 220 pounds. I’m told that Clyburn’s shot has improved. I think he’s the real deal but only time will tel.

5 – Is George Niang ready for the show?

Niang, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound freshman out of Massachusetts is one of the top recruits Iowa State has signed since I started doing this back in 2004. Hoiberg has compared him to some guy named Kevin Love.

Niang is just solid. Not flashy. Solid. That’s really the best way to put it.

But will solid be enough as a true freshman to truly make an impact in the Big 12?

Stay tuned.

Hoops season is just around the corner folks.