Feb 24, 2018; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones guard Terrence Lewis (24) dribbles up the floor during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
The YMCA Capital City League season tipped off Sunday night and there was no shortage of stellar offense from Iowa Staters. Rather than a basic review of Sunday night’s action, I thought I’d give you a few of my initial thoughts from the summer league’s first night of 2018.
Terrence Lewis’ confidence
I’m not sure I can remember an Iowa State player who has looked more confident in the YCCL setting than Terrence Lewis. The 6-foot-6 wing from Milwaukee was the runner-up for the league’s MVP award a year ago and proved to be one of the frontrunners again for the award during the league’s opening game Sunday night.
Lewis scored 36 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists in a 129-120 win. Most importantly, he shot the ball confidently and knocked down five of his eight 3-point attempts.
The Lewis fans saw Sunday night was the same one who gave people so much to rave about entering his freshman season. Unfortunately, very little of that confidence translated to the court for the Cyclones in 2017-18.
When Lewis is shooting the ball with confidence, he is undoubtedly one of the most talented scorers on the court. Figuring out how to translate that confidence from the YCCL court to the Big 12 slate will be one of his biggest challenges entering year two in Cardinal and Gold.
It would be hard for me to throw much more gas into the Talen Horton-Tucker hype train’s engine. The Simeon Academy product was a fan favorite before he even stepped foot in Ames and his performance Sunday night solidified the hype.
Horton-Tucker scored a league-high 41 points on 17-of-39 shooting with 10 rebounds. He would have easily eclipsed the 50-point mark if he had been on from deep, but he went just 1-of-12 from 3-point range.
It is hard to get too crazy based on one YCCL game, but there is one thing I’m certain of after watching THT play live once — his pure explosiveness is unlike anything we’ve seen at Iowa State in a while. That is saying something when you consider the type of athlete Lindell Wigginton is.
THT has a unique ability to hang in the air when attacking the rim which allows him to be creative when finishing. He is solid with both hands and is very strong when he gets close to the bucket.
The athleticism point is helped when I note that he threw down a between the legs breakaway dunk to close out his team’s loss to Hannah Homes. It was one of the most impressive dunks I’ve seen in four years of covering the YCCL — including dunk contests.
Tyrese Haliburton’s versatility is one of the biggest selling points when you think about where he could fit into this year’s Iowa State team. He is really long — like surprisingly long in person — and has big-time shot-making ability.
He scored 28 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field and 5-of-7 shooting from behind the arc while leading Lions Club of Iowa to a win in his YCCL debut. He also added five rebounds and five assists to further improve his stat line.
There is no doubt Haliburton will have to add weight and strength before he can be a big-time contributor for the Cyclones. But, we’ve said the same thing about some other young guards who joined the program only to become major contributors as freshmen.
Even though it was just one YCCL game, I’m starting to think there will be some sort of role for him on this year’s team.
If you’re planning on coming out to watch the YCCL this season, don’t bank on seeing every Iowa State player on the court.
We already knew Lindell Wigginton wasn’t going to play this summer. Zion Griffin was added to that list when Iowa State announced he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee (I know we initially reported left knee, but his right one had the wrap on it Sunday night) to repair a torn meniscus and will miss 3-to-5 weeks.
Sunday night, we added Solomon Young to the list, which isn’t overly surprising when you consider the health problems he had at the end of last season. Marial Shayok’s status is currently up in the air too as he sprained an ankle in a scrimmage and isn’t sure when (or if) he’ll be available for YCCL play. I’ll have more on him in a story on Monday.
That makes this the list of Iowa State players sitting out the YCCL — Wigginton, Griffin, Young, Shayok, Nick Weiler-Babb (out of town for an internship) and Cameron Lard. It is unclear when George Conditt will be available to play as well since he just finished up his time with the Puerto Rico U18 team.
On the bright side, almost all of those guys (minus Weiler-Babb, Lard and Conditt) were in the gym Sunday night to mingle, hang out with fans and support their teammates.
I have no clue what the future of the league is past this season, but it will be interesting to follow if more and more Iowa State players choose to sit out.
One last note…
Stay tuned Sunday night as our intern, Niki Ferguson, will have highlights from Terrence Lewis and THT’s battle to open the YCCL slate. I promise it is a video you won’t want to miss.