Dec 30, 2016; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward Solomon Young (33) defends Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Keenan Evans (12) at James H. Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones won 63-56. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Over the next several weeks, I will be going through the Iowa State men’s basketball roster entering the 2019-20 season and looking back at their roles in 2018-19, how those roles could change entering a new year, the places they thrived on the court and the spots they stand to make some improvements.
Next up, senior forward Solomon Young.
His role was…
This is pretty simple for Solo in 2018-19. After suffering an offseason groin injury that required surgery in October, Young missed nearly all of the Cyclones’ non-conference slate.
He returned to score three points and grab four rebounds in the team’s win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 21, but it was clear almost immediately that he was not the same player he had been in his first two years on campus. That idea was further cemented when the Sacramento native decided to shut it down after four games in order to seek a medical redshirt.
He ended up playing a total of 27 minutes while shooting 3-of-6 from the field and grabbing six rebounds.
Where he thrived…
This really doesn’t apply to Young in 2018-19 since he hardly played so we’ll go back to his first two years on campus for this category.
As a freshman, Young played a crucial role in helping the 2016-17 team reach its potential and secure the program’s third Big 12 Tournament title in four years. He was inserted into the starting lineup late in the season and provided a great deal of toughness for a team that played small most of the season.
It was more of the same for Young during his injury-shortened sophomore season. He grabbed 5.9 rebounds per game and scored 7.2 points per game while being the physical presence alongside freshman year Cameron Lard.
What his role likely will be…
Young is one of the most difficult guys to project where he will fit into next year’s rotation. If he comes back healthy, he should be able to give the Cyclones some really good minutes off the bench behind George Conditt and Michael Jacobson.
With that said, Steve Prohm hesitated to use three bigs at times when he had that duo along with Lard last season so how much would Young really fit into the equation in that scenario? I suppose there could be more minutes to be had if both of those guys are starters and play quite a few minutes, but I also don’t expect Prohm to roll exclusively with two bigs on the floor at all times so I would guess it will be more of a constant rotation between the two when they’re not on the court together.
Regardless, seeing Solo back on the floor and healthy is the first step in his returning to the rotation. Once he is there, I’m sure Prohm and the staff will find minutes for him to help the team.
Where he stands to improve…
I still think Young has the ability to be a stretch-four at the collegiate level. He has shown flashes of that ability (including going 1-of-1 from 3-point range in 2018-19) and that would give the team a nice dynamic coupled with his physicality on defense.
Becoming more versatile offensively has to be the way he can take his game to the next level. If he’s able to do that, it will give the team three bigs who are capable on both ends of the floor and all three of them will have high-level experience.
Even with losing Lard, it is hard to complain about that frontcourt rotation.