Jan 17, 2023; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach T. J. Otzelberger (right) talks with forward Tre King (0) during the first half against the Texas Longhorns at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa State men’s basketball is ready to hit the ground running this summer.
That’s the feeling T.J. Otzelberger conveyed on Wednesday during a Cyclone Tailgate Tour stop in Webster City. After back-to-back offseasons filled with a coaching change then a turbulent player departure, Iowa State has rolled through this offseason with little drama.
“I would say more than anything our roster settled a little bit quicker, which is good,” Otzelberger said when asked about the biggest difference in this offseason compared to the last two. “Our guys know what the standards are. The guys coming into the program have seen that visual picture of the games over the last two years so they have an understanding of what’s coming.”
The Cyclones are currently slated to return five key members from last year’s NCAA Tournament team in point guard Tamin Lipsey, wing Demarion Watson, centers Robert Jones and Hason Ward and forward Tre King.
Those five will be expected to fill leadership roles as guys who already understand and have experienced the expectations of being in the program.
They’ll help bring along three transfer additions in Wofford guard Jackson Paveletzke, Buffalo guard Curtis Jones and UNLV guard Keshon Gilbert. The trio joins a talent group of freshmen recruits, headlined by five-star forward Omaha Biliew and four-star forward Milan Momcilovic, as newcomers to the Cyclones’ program.
“I think it’s also helped guys develop more pride in our program and understand that things we’re demanding of them and the standards that we’re upholding every day are going to pay off,” Otzelberger said. “I think we’re just in a more solid footing as we move forward.”