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Basketball

WILLIAMS: Malou to enter draft; what it means for ISU

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A month ago, I’d say there was a 50-50 chance that Emmanuel Malou would eventually end up at Iowa State. A little over a week ago, background chatter shrunk that number to probably 20-80. As of today, the mystery is gone. 

ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla was first to report that Malou, an international/prep school/JUCO prospect who would have bolstered Iowa State’s frontcourt in 2016-17, would officially stay entered into the NBA Draft. 

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Iowa State later confirmed the news via a press release.

“Manny has informed us that he will stay in the NBA Draft,” Steve Prohm said in that release. “We wish him the best as he pursues his dream of playing basketball professionally in the NBA."

Malou chimed in… 

“I know that it is going to require a huge amount of work, but I am motivated and excited for the challenges that lie ahead,” he said. “I would like to thank all the staff at Iowa State for all that they have done for me. I want to wish them and the players the best of luck in the coming season.” 

Now that this is behind us, let’s get down to brass tacks. 

What does this mean for the Cyclones in the immediate future?

First of all, Iowa State now has one open scholarship to fill for the 2016-17 season. My educated guess is that the Cyclones will take the best transfer available while thinking ahead to 2017-18, when a fresh crop of reinforcements will be needed in a bad way.

The acquisition of Merrill Holden over the weekend was critical. This 6-foot-8, 215-pound grad-transfer out of Louisiana Tech is who I would call the favorite to start for Iowa State at the five. 

Don’t forget about another grad-transfer, Darrell Bowie from Northern Illinois. He will be a factor as well and in my opinion, is the most underrated newcomer who will invade Ames this summer. 

There is no denying that missing out on Malou is a tough deal. He is a raw, big time basketball prospect who would have been a surefire starter with NBA potential.

In the end, there were too many obstacles for Malou to overcome. It is actually a pretty sad story if you know all that this young man has been through.

Iowa State won’t be as good as it would have been with him, but the Cyclones will be fine and in a watered down Big 12, have a real opportunity to do some serious damage in the league.

The frontcourt on next year’s team was always going to be thin and in the end, this team will have way more depth than the roster that went to the Sweet 16 in 2015-16.