MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — I don’t think people put enough stock in how big a difference four years can make on the basketball court. The difference between most 18-year-old prospects and the 23-year-old grown men they can face is staggering.
In theory, there isn’t the adjustment period for a transfer, graduate or otherwise, that there might for a high school kid rising to college. They’ve experienced the physicality, the faster pace and the higher caliber of athlete.
That’s what makes Iowa State’s addition of graduate transfers Merrill Holden and Darrell Bowie so important.
“Both of them add something to our team,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said in at a Tailgate Tour stop in Marshalltown on Wednesday. “They bring some experience and some toughness.”
Holden, a 6-foot-9-inch forward from Chicago, will be expected to bring that toughness while also having a serious ability to score. He averaged 8.1 points on 53 percent shooting during his junior year at Louisiana Tech. He also led the team in blocks with 1.1 per game. Holden did all of this for a team that won 23 games in an okay mid-major conference.
“Numbers usually will translate,” Prohm said. “Maybe not exactly, but if you’re productive, you’re productive.”
Bowie, a 6-foot-7-inch, left-handed forward, averaged 9.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his last season with Northern Illinois in 2014-15. He’s another guy that shows some ability to score while bolstering the Cyclones down low and on the defensive end.
The numbers are nice, and they make for good conversation until the kid steps on the floor for the first time in Cardinal and Gold. The biggest plus in these two guys coming to Ames is their experience, which you don’t get from a high school kid.
“It’s big,” Prohm said. “Those guys are fifth years so they’re 22, 23-year-old men that have been through the rigors a little bit. That experience is huge.”