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Basketball

Cyclones picked eighth in Big 12 preseason poll

Dec 12, 2019; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Steve Prohm watches his team play against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Hilton Coliseum. The Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones 84 to 68.Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 coaches expect Iowa State men’s basketball to finish in the bottom third of the Big 12 in 2020-21.

The Cyclones were picked to finish eighth in the league, according to the Big 12 preseason poll released on Thursday. Baylor was picked to win the league with seven first-place votes while Kansas came in second, marking the first time the Jayhawks are not the league favorites since the 2011-12 regular season.

Iowa State returns just four contributors from last year’s team, which finished the season 12-20 and 5-13 in Big 12 play.

The most notable of those returners is junior guard, and former Penn State transfer, Rasir Bolton, who scored 14.7 points per game in his first year as a Cyclone while shooting 33.6 percent from 3-point range. He is joined in the backcourt by sophomore Tre Jackson, who is expected to step into a larger role in year-two after averaging just 4.3 points in 21.6 minutes per game last season.

The Cyclones return their two biggest front court contributors from a year ago in senior forward Solomon Young and junior center George Conditt. Conditt appeared to make major strides early in his sophomore season before struggling in league play and finishing the year averaging 7.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per game plus adding a team-high 50 blocked shots.

Young will likely be one of the league’s best back to the basket big men in 2020-21 after averaging 9.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season. He played his best ball of the year during the latter portion of the league schedule in which he scored in double-figures nine times, including a 27-point outburst in a win over Oklahoma State.

The group will be bolstered by a duo of transfer additions in former Memphis point guard Tyler Harris, who received a waiver for immediate eligibility, along with DePaul graduate transfer guard Jalen Coleman-Lands.

Four freshmen also joined the program and will battle for spots in the rotation, including four-star Oskaloosa center Xavier Foster, who was considered the No. 1 player in the state of Iowa in the 2020 recruiting class.

The Cyclones are expected to announce their non-conference schedule in the coming weeks. They will open Big 12 play on Dec. 15 against Kansas State at Hilton Coliseum.

You can view the rest of the poll and how the voting shook out below.

1.Baylor (7)    79
2.Kansas (3)73
3.West Virginia61
4.Texas58
5.Texas Tech53
6.Oklahoma39
7.Oklahoma State35
8.Iowa State19
9.TCU18
10.Kansas State15

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.