Dec 29, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Kansas State Wildcats forward Dean Wade (32) drives on Iowa State Cyclones guard Jakolby Long (13) in the second half at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Wildcats beat the Cyclones 91-75. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Jakolby Long’s career at Iowa State is over.
It comes as little surprise after the Mustang, Okla. native’s sophomore year came and went with little playing time and few prospects for a future role within an Iowa State program expected to be much better stocked with talent beginning next season.
I literally wrote about Zoran Talley, a guy who played a much bigger role for Iowa State this season than Long, and his future role within the program yesterday. If there are questions about how a guy who averaged 10-plus points in the Cyclones’ last 10 games fits into next year’s team, then there really are a lot of questions for a guy like Long who averaged 1.9 points and 9.5 minutes per game throughout the entire season.
I do not see Long’s transfer as a cause for concern for Iowa State fans, coaches or the program in general primarily for the following two reasons.
1 — There will not be many minutes left to go around in the Cyclones’ backcourt in 2018-19
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse at this point, but we all know Iowa State’s roster next season is going to have a lot more versatility than this year’s. That is going to happen when you add two sit-out transfers and one of the best-recruiting classes in program history into the mix.
With guys who play a similar position like Marial Shayok and Talen Horton-Tucker both entering the fold, there were not going to be many minutes to go around for someone like Long.
It isn’t that I don’t think Long has a future playing basketball. I would not be shocked if he ended up being a nice player for a mid-major school later in his career (see Clayton Custer’s emergence at Loyola-Chicago for example).
But, with that said, it is hard to see how Long was going to find a role in Iowa State’s rotation in the coming seasons without vast improvement.
2 — It opens up another scholarship
I don’t know how Iowa State is going to handle the scholarship left open by Long’s transfer. Maybe they’ll decide to further push for three-star Memphis point guard Tyler Harris. The Cyclones have been a player in Harris’ recruitment for a long time so that could be a possibility for building further depth at the point guard spot.
Another option would be going the route of pursuing a transfer on the open market.
I’m not sure how excited Steve Prohm and his staff are about going after another graduate transfer considering how the past few have panned out, but it would not be that shocking if they went after another sit-out transfer when you consider the Cyclones will already have 8-10 guys more than capable of making an impact next season.
If that is the route they choose to go, it will be a much different situation than last year’s when they took Shayok and Nebraska transfer Michael Jacobson, leaving them with only 10 eligible players even before injuries ravaged the roster near the end of the season.
There is always the possibility a new high school prospect will emerge on the radar in the coming weeks and months, too. Who knows at this point with college basketball’s silly season still a few weeks away.
There is one thing I can say for sure — Jakolby Long’s transfer is the best thing for everybody involved.