Basketball

WILLIAMS: Analyzing an impactful Saturday for Iowa State hoops

Mar 11, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; UNLV Rebels guard Caleb Grill (3) dribbles the ball ahead of Utah State Aggies center Neemias Queta (23) and guard Max Shulga (11) during the first half at the Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s quickly recap what was a busy Saturday for the new look Iowa State basketball program with some analysis as to what it all means …

Minnesota transfer Gabe Kalscheur started the day off with a commitment. The 6-foot-4, three-year starter in the Big Ten will provide an experienced scorer and most importantly, an elite level defender for Iowa State on the perimeter. 

In case you missed it, our Jared Stansbury caught up with Kalscheur, in an interview that you can read here. 

— Top-100 point guard Tyrese Hunter reaffirmed his pledge to Iowa State. Hunter, the Wisconsin native, committed and signed with Steve Prohm. He has since been the top priority of the T.J. Otzelberger staff, who eventually won him over on Saturday afternoon. 

Massive. 

— Finally, Caleb Grill is back! “Fire up the Grill” jokes aside, this is a wonderful depth play for an Iowa State program looking to establish a gritty culture from day one. With more development, Grill has the potential to be an elite shooter. He takes pride in defense and is one of the hardest working guys to come through the program over the last five years. 

It will be good to have him back. 

Main takeaways…

TERRITORY: First and foremost, it’s the Otzelberger staff backing up its big words about “suffocating the Midwest” when it comes to recruiting. 

In the case of Kalscheur, Iowa State beat out Minnesota’s new staff and an established Wisconsin program.

Four of the five players (Kalscheur, Hunter, Grill and Robert Jones) this staff has added since it got the job hail from the Midwest, three being from Minnesota or Wisconsin.

The only outlier – Aljaz Kunc – is from Slovenia, which isn’t exactly rural Kansas!

THE ROSTER: After Saturday, Iowa State has two scholarships available to fill out its roster for next season. 

The Cyclones added two immediate starters (Hunter at point guard, Kalscheur at the two) in the backcourt and a solid piece of depth (Grill) on Saturday. 

As mentioned above, re-securing Hunter was the staff’s top priority when it got the job. Along with Xavier Foster (who is already in place), Hunter is thought of to be a cornerstone for the building of a new era of Iowa State basketball. 

On the trail, now it’s time to swing for some home runs. 

When it comes to finishing up the roster for next season, all eyes are on Cam’Ron Fletcher (Kentucky) and Tristan Enaruna (Kansas). 

Thinking about the longer term building of the program, it’s Ames’ very own Tamin Lipsey and Minnesota prospect Eli King who take center stage.