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Basketball

Williams: Five takeaways from hoops media day

AMES — Iowa State men’s basketball media day is in the books. Here are five quick takeaways from Wednesday’s event. Check out CycloneFanatic.com later for more coverage after tonight’s hoops tipoff party at the Keg Stand. 

Intensity at a new level

Fred Hoiberg isn’t a coach who will consistently go 11 deep and from a roster standpoint, Iowa State is absolutely loaded heading into the 2014-15 season. 

Do the math.

Come March, somebody (or multiple Cyclones) won’t be happy about the amount of playing time that they received. That is a good reason why Iowa State’s first few workouts of the season have been as intense as ever.

“It is a complete battlefield,” junior Naz Long said. In practice, there is a guy on the floor at least five or six times. We are going that hard. Coach has said at three workouts straight now that if practice continues to be like this then he will have the most fun that he’s ever had.” 

Be prepared

The Bryce Dejean-Jones/DeAndre Kane comparisons are understandable and leading up to the season, inevitable.

Remember last season when during television broadcasts, Kane’s age was brought up every 15 minutes? Or what about the fact that Georges Niang played high school ball with Nerlens Noel two years ago? Did you know that?

Yeah. The Dejean-Jones/Kane comparison is about to be played up a lot like that.

“I don’t really pay attention to it,” Dejean-Jones said when I asked him about the comparison. “I just come out here every day and am looking forward to my last year. That’s my motivation. We have a great group of guys and a great coaching staff. We believe we can do big things.”

Solid answer.

Dream come true for Custer

Did you watch the Royals first playoff game in 29 years last night? 

True freshman point guard Clayton Custer, a Kansas native and diehard Royals fan, sure did.

“I was watching it with Georges, Naz and Matt (Thomas). Georges and Matt thought it was over,” Custer said.

Naz Long was quick to lend Custer some moral support.

“Naz was like, ‘Clayton, don’t worry. They are going to come back.’ I was in a bad mood when we were losing 7-3. We came back and won! Naz was right! I was freaking out and running all around our apartment.”

Tsalmpouris will play

I’m told by a birdie that Iowa State’s 7-foot Greek true freshman Georgios Tsalmpouris (pronounced YOUR-gos sal-BORE-us) will play significant minutes during the early portion of the season.

During his media day press conference, Hoiberg noted that the rookie has already put on 20 pounds since landing in Ames. 

The theory here is that Tsalmpouris will serve in the Jameel McKay role before Jameel McKay is eligible. This will give the Greek some valuable learning minutes and will also serve as a bit of a test run to see if he will be able to help the team come Big 12 play.

Where does Nader fit in?

In my mind, transfer Abdel Nader might be the most intriguing player on Iowa State’s roster heading into this season.

Over the last year, birdie after birdie has raved about how well Nader played on the scout team last season. Source after source has said that during scrimmages, he has at times looked like the best player on the floor.  

But with the addition of guys like McKay and Dejean-Jones, where will the 6-foot-6 athlete fit in?

I don’t think he is a true three in Hoiberg’s system.

Perhaps a small four? That’s what I’m hearing.

Stay tuned.

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