WHAT: Iowa State (0-2) vs. Appalachian State (2-0)
WHEN: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
MYRTLE BEACH – Entering the season, most fans understood that Iowa State would likely take a step back from its six-year stretch of NCAA Tournament berths. Nobody saw an 0-2 start coming that would include a drubbing at the hands of Milwaukee inside the hallowed grounds of Hilton Coliseum though.
Perhaps a long road trip is exactly what this young team needs.
Iowa State will look to get off of the goose egg against Appalachian State (2-0), who was picked to finish 11th (out of 12) in the Sun Belt this season on Thursday at 4:30 (ESPNU).
Here are three things to know on this game, followed by additional notes.
1 – Reinforcements are coming: Iowa State desperately could have used Cameron Lard on Monday night vs. Milwaukee, specifically when it comes to help with interior defense. Along with Lard, Princeton graduate transfer Hans Brase is scheduled to make his Iowa State debut as well.
Lard missed the first two games (plus the exhibition) due to a coach’s decision (disciplinary).
Brase has been slowly recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered as a junior.
Both Cyclones will bring something new to the roster that has lacked during the first two games.
For Lard, it’s a defensive presence in the middle. His game his been compared to Jameel McKay’s. Look for Lard to be a rim-runner early in his Iowa State career and develop more from there. Talent wise, he should be a starter before too long, that’s assuming that he can sty out of Steve Prohm’s doghouse.
Brase will bring leadership to the Cyclones. Prohm often describes Brase as a calming presence within a group of youngsters. He’s got a long body and should also help spread the floor offensively, which Iowa State desperately needs.
As for how much Brase will play, stay tuned. Look for him to play early in the first half so the staff can evaluate how he’s getting around.
“Hans just bring experience,” said junior Nick Weiler-Babb. “He has been at a great program for three or four years. He’s smart and knowns how to play. He’s a vocal leader out on the court. Cam just brings energy. He is smart out there on the court.”
2 – Iowa State needs confidence: Same story as following the Missouri game, only accentuated. These guys need something positive to happen. The young Cyclones need to have some fun playing basketball.
3 – The guy to stop: Appalachian State head coach Jim Fox has been quoted saying that senior Ronshad Shabazz is a future pro. He’s averaged just over 26 points per game in App State’s two wins – one game vs. DII Toccoa Falls that the Mountaineers won by 101 points – for real (the final score was 135-34).
Joking aside, the 6-foot-5, 217-pound junior is a big time scorer who can fill it up in a hurry. Shabazz, who averaged 16.7 points per game as a sophomore, was recently tabbed as a Preseason Second Team All-Sun Belt member after earning third-team honors a year ago.
“They have kind of moved him to the point guard this year,” said Iowa State assistant coach Neil Berry, who had the scout on this game. “He led them in scoring last year. He can really score the ball in a lot of different ways. He’s really good with the catch and shoot if he has his feet set. This year though he is at the point and he is attacking more in transition. The ball is in his hands more. They run a lot of ball screens for him.”
Know the opponent….
COACH: Third-year head coach Jim Fox is credited as one of the men who recruited Steph Curry to Davidson. Not bad. He’s got a 30-60 record over two years of leading the Mountaineers.
GROWING UP: Appalachian State was one of the 10 youngest programs in college basketball last season. The majority of that team that won nine games is back for 2017-18.
THE FRONTCOURT: The majority of Appalachian State’s returners come in the frontcourt. A 6-foot-8, 240-pound senior named Griffin Kinney will be a load. Tyrell Johnson, a 6-foot-8 junior and Isaac Johnson, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, are also worth noting. Tyrell Johnson is second on the team in scoring through two games at 17.0 per.
STYLE OF PLAY: “They push the pace and really try to score early,” said Berry. “That will put some pressure on our defense.”