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Basketball

STANZ: Examining possibilities for Iowa State’s 2020-21 MBB roster

Mar 11, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm reacts during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State’s 2020-21 men’s basketball roster is starting to fully take shape and I just wanted to run through some of the roster’s possible scenarios and how the rotations could shake out in those instances.

I’ll start with how the roster currently stands then put the three following possibilities in order from worst-case to best-case with some short analysis on each scenario.

As it stands…

G – Tre Jackson
G – Rasir Bolton
G – Jalen Coleman-Lands
F – Javan Johnson
F – Solomon Young

Bench – George Conditt, Xavier Foster, Jaden Walker, Darlinstone Dubar, Dudley Blackwell

I think this group would be improved from what Iowa State put out on the floor last season with Tyrese Haliburton being the only major departure plus the veteran additions of Coleman-Lands and Johnson, but I have a hard time seeing this group make a serious run at the NCAA Tournament.

Young and Conditt are probably somewhat interchangeable and any group like this would have to rely too much on the freshmen class for my liking. I know a lot of people are high on the Cyclones’ four incoming youngsters, but I have a hard time seeing any of them as major difference makers (i.e. Talen Horton-Tucker, Tyrese Haliburton or Lindell Wigginton) in year one.

If Tyler Harris is granted immediate eligibility and no further additions…

G – Tyler Harris
G – Rasir Bolton
G – Jalen Coleman-Lands
F – Javan Johnson
F – Solomon Young

Bench – Tre Jackson, George Conditt, Xavier Foster, Jaden Walker, Darlinstone Dubar, Dudley Blackwell

Harris would bring more of a scoring punch and shooting. He also would put the starting group in a position where all five spots have at least two years of experience playing college basketball, and four of them coming at the high-major level. It is starting to become glaringly clear that experience is king in college basketball and that’s why the saying “get old, stay old” is starting to be a common thread across the sport.

This would definitely be a notch above the initial scenario, in my mind, but I still don’t know that it would make a serious push at the NCAA Tournament.

If Iowa State adds Justin Smith, but Harris does not get immediate eligibility…

G – Tre Jackson
G – Rasir Bolton
G – Jalen Coleman-Lands
F – Justin Smith
F – Solomon Young

Bench – Javan Johnson, George Conditt, Xavier Foster, Jaden Walker, Darlinstone Dubar, Dudley Blackwell

In a similar vein to the last possibility, the roster would get a further infusion of experience with Smith, but in the frontcourt rather than the backcourt. Smith is an elite athlete with a ton of high-major experience and would be a difference-maker of an addition for the Cyclones.

Iowa State would likely have one of the most experienced frontcourts in the Big 12, if not the entire country, with Smith, Young, Johnson and Conditt having combined to play in 311 collegiate games. This starting five would combine for 393 collegiate appearances.

I think this roster could make a push for the middle of the Big 12, but the last scenario is the one that gives Iowa State its best chance at a run to the NCAA Tournament, in my mind.

If Iowa State adds Justin Smith and Tyler Harris is immediately eligible…

G – Tyler Harris
G – Rasir Bolton
G – Jalen Coleman-Lands
F – Justin Smith
F – Solomon Young

BenchTre Jackson, Javan Johnson, George Conditt, Xavier Foster, Jaden Walker, Darlinstone Dubar, Dudley Blackwell

I think this group right here could be really tough. You have experience and scoring ability at all three levels in the backcourt. Experience, elite athleticism and proven ability in the front court. The starting five combines for 429 collegiate appearances, all at the high-major level, and your first three guys off the bench have appeared in over 150 combined college games, plus you follow them up with one of the highest-rated recruiting classes in school history.

If this can be the group Steve Prohm puts on the floor next winter, I think the NCAA Tournament is a serious possibility. It would be a complete remake of the roster with considerably fewer question marks than this past team had entering the season, even despite losing a potential top-five NBA Draft pick.

This would be as close to a home run as possible based on what we know now about Iowa State’s 2020-21 potential lineups.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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