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Basketball

WILLIAMS: Analyzing the current hoops recruiting landscape

With a live recruiting period that begins today, I’ll go on record right now stating that the next month or so is important for the future of Iowa State basketball. Not for necessarily next year, but 2016 and beyond.

ISU needs bodies.

With the recent departures of Clayton Custer and Darien Williams (who just committed to St. John’s), Iowa State’s scholarship chart (that you can view by CLICKING HERE) for 2016 and beyond is awfully sparse. 

At the present time, Iowa State only has five scholarships allotted for in the 2016-17 season (Monte Morris, Matt Thomas, Deonte Burton, Hallice Cooke and Georgios Tsalmpouris). If things go the right way, Morris could potentially go pro after his junior year.

For those keeping track at home, Iowa State has four to scholarships to give this offseason. 

So what’s the plan? 

Before I begin, remember that recruiting is weird. It’s very fluid, especially this time of year when a different transfer announces his intention to make a move every 10 minutes.

I am confident that 2015 point guard Nick Noskowiak will ultimately end up in Ames. Gun to my head, if had to put a number on it, I’d say like 75 percent confident.

Having a four-year, top-100 ranked point guard on board will help the looks of that chart significantly.

(Keep in mind that Iowa State hasn’t received a commitment from a four-year American high school prospect (not counting Georgios Tsalmpouris, an international product), in two and a half years (Clayton Custer).)

Nick Babb, the younger brother of former Cyclone Chris Babb, will be on campus this weekend for an official visit. Nick, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound product, played sparingly last season for Arkansas while averaging 0.7 points and 0.8 rebounds in 4.8 minutes per game. 

I look at Babb the same way I saw the Naz Long commitment a few years ago. Is this guy going to be Iowa State’s next Big 12 Player of the Year? Probably not. But he’s a hard working locker room guy, has a Big 12 body and can develop into being a glue guy later in his career. Quality programs need those guys. The fact that his brother owes his NBA career to Fred Hoiberg doesn’t hurt. Nick Babb needs a change of scenery and I can’t think of a better place than Iowa State for his career to flourish. Plus, following a redshirt year, Babb will have three years to play – another win for the longevity of the scholarship chart.

What about the NJCAA player of the year, Chris Boucher, that everyone is talking about?

If Iowa State can somehow pull this off, that’d be a home run. Boucher, who hails from Northwest College, is a 6-foot-10 big who averaged 22.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game this season.

The problem is that Iowa State jumped in the game so late – like really, really late. This is fallback from the Darien Williams release. Iowa State needs frontcourt help next year and had planned on Williams being that man. 

Right now, consider Iowa State to be way behind Minnesota, Texas Tech and TCU. He has a Memphis offer according to Rivals.com. I’ve heard Oregon mentioned too.

If winning is important Boucher though, then perhaps Iowa State can make a comeback on the recruiting trail later this month.

Don’t forget about other transfers out there who have yet to be released by their schools. I’d be surprise if Iowa State doesn’t sign at least one of these mystery guys before it is all said and done.

In an additional note, I tweeted earlier today that I’m hearing a lot of rumors regarding Cheick Diallo and Kansas. Since tweeting that, Kentucky saw seven players leave early for the NBA. I’ve thought that Diallo would end up at one of these two schools all along. Today, I’m even more confident that this will be the case. 

Don’t waste any of your time pondering if Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss will end up in Ames. It isn’t happening.

In closing, remember one thing when digesting my analysis on the current situation. I’m not on here harping that Iowa State needs to get away from the transfers and what made it the program that it is today. I’m simply pointing out that the reason so many transfers have worked is because the Melvin Ejim’s, Georges Niang’s, Naz Long’s and Monte Morris’ of the world have allowed Hoiberg to take more risks on the recruiting trail than he maybe would have otherwise.

I love transfers. But I also love a little of stability to go along with them. The currently scholarship chart is anything but stable after 2016.

Grab some popcorn, enjoy the silly season and let the reloading (hopefully) being. 

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