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Coach’s Clipboard: Iowa State Cyclones Use Versatility Of Georges Niang


Coach’s Clipboard, Vol. 6: Iowa State forward Georges Niang is one of the most versatile weapons in college basketball. In this edition of Coach’s Clipboard we examine how Fred Hoiberg uses this weapon to best benefit his Cyclones. 

The Iowa State Cylcones (20-6, 10-4 Big 12) are lead by one of the most unique players in the country – junior forward Georges Niang. Niang is not a high flyer nor is he blessed with lateral quickness or baseline-to-baseline speed. Yet Niang is the driving force behind the sixth most efficient offense in the country.

What Niang (14.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 3.4 apg) does posses in abundance are abnormal passing and ball-handling skills for a player standing 6’8″ tall. Couple those traits with a high basketball IQ and floor leadership and you have one of the top players in the Big 12.

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  • Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg recognizes the unique skill set of Niang and exploits the mismatches Niang creates. Let’s take a look at some of the ways Hoiberg uses Niang’s gifts to benefit the Cylones.


    Iowa State has a terrific point guard in Monte Morris. However, Hoiberg with his NBA influence, will often use Niang as a “point-forward” and allow Niang to direct traffic and enter the Cyclones into their offense.

    In the two possessions in the clip below against the Iowa Hawkeyes, we see Niang operating as a point-forward. Niang draws two bigger defenders in Adam Woodbury and Gabriel Olaseni. Neither have the ability to defend Niang on the perimeter.

    The Cyclones space the floor with capable three-point shooters and allow Niang to create offense by exploiting the mismatches. Niang is comfortable directing traffic and leading the Cyclone offense. Hoiberg recognizes the mismatches and inverts the Cyclone offense with Niang at the point.

    Side Pick-And-Roll

    Niang is also terrific as the screener in pick-and-roll offense. He can both pop for a three or roll to the basket. Niang and Morris work together brilliantly.

    Below, the Cyclones exploit the same mismatches by putting Olaseni and Woodbury in perimeter ball screen action. In the first frame, Niang sets the side screen then short rolls and fans the ball to the weakside to an open shooter.

    In the second frame, Niang sets the drag screen in transition and rolls to the basket against the slower Woodbury. Niang can be either a distributor or a scorer in these situations. His ability to roll or pop keeps defenders honest.

    The Cyclones are a deep and talented team with six players averaging double figures in scoring on the season. They sit in second place in the Big 12 and trail league-leading Kansas by one game.

    Niang, with his unique game, will be a vital piece of the Cyclones’ pursuit of a Big 12 title and a deep run in March. How Hoiberg uses him is masterful and Cyclone fans are hoping for masterful postseason results.

    Next: 2015 NBA Draft: First-Round Mock Draft 4.0

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