Basketball

Three Things to Watch: Kennesaw State

Jan 11, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones forward George Conditt IV (4) dunks against the Oklahoma Sooners at Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones beat the Sooners 81 to 68. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Hilton Coliseum

How to watch: ESPN+ (w/ CF’s Brent Blum and Scott Christopherson)

KenPom: Iowa State, 78-63

1 – Tyrese’s spotlight

Welcome to the big stage, Tyrese Hunter.

Well, at least the first step towards the big stage. I’m not sure anyone would consider an opening matchup with Kennesaw State that big of a stage, but it is closer than he’s ever been before.

Hunter has drawn rave reviews from Iowa State’s coaches and players. Everyone is blown away by his maturity and athleticism. He’s coachable and has been more than willing to take pointers from his teammates.

Is he ready to be a point guard playing major minutes at the collegiate level?

We’re about to find out soon enough. This game on Tuesday probably will not be the best gauge when you consider the competition level, but it will be nice for fans to just get eyes on Hunter after all the time we’ve spent hearing about him.

2 – George & Robert

I long expected George Conditt to bounce back in a strong fashion after a tough junior year in 2020-21. From all accounts, he’s done so. First indications came during his play with the Puerto Rican National Team over the summer, but now we’ll see it with our own eyes.

He’ll be joined in the post-rotation by a somewhat surprising newcomer. Denver transfer Robert Jones has already exceeded expectations in his time at Iowa State while playing himself into a spot to receive major minutes.

I’m not sure which of them will start, but it sounds like both have been bringing big-time energy on both ends of the floor in practice. While the guards are the ones that will ultimately make this team go, I think Conditt and Jones will be the ones tasked with setting a tone on both ends as far as energy level and physicality.

3 – Physicality promise

Speaking of physicality, we’ve been hearing about the physicality this team will play with ever since T.J. Otzelberger was hired last spring. Physicality has been missing from Iowa State basketball for a long time.

Was the offseason enough to instill that mentality of never backing down from anyone and being the aggressor in every situation?

I want to see that come through tonight, even though the opponent should not be able to physically match. It should still be evident if there’s a noticeable difference between the two teams as far as their willingness to mix it up.

Iowa State needs to set that tone right off the bat with an Oregon State team coming in here on Friday that made it to the Elite Eight last March.

This game on Tuesday is all about setting a tone — and, hopefully, starting a new era off on the right foot.

Jared Stansbury

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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.