Iowa State Basketball has hit the transfer portal hard this offseason, landing a few key pieces that should boost the program.
This past season was a struggle for Iowa Basketball, finishing 12-20 (5-13) overall, good for second-to-last in the Big 12 despite having on its roster one of the best players in college basketball in Tyrese Haliburton. His season-ending injury towards the end of the season sealed the team’s fate and with his exected departure to the NBA Draft, the Cyclones were left scrambling this offseason to add more talent.
The team only has one returning player who averaged in double figures (Rasir Bolton 14.7 ppg), with he and forward Solomon Young as the lone starters coming back. Making matter worse, Terrence Lewis, Zion Griffin, and Caleb Grill, all bench players that could’ve had bigger roles in 2020-21, all elected to transfer out this offseason. So is there any way to avoid another down year for the Cyclones?
Head coach Steve Prohm has done his best to improve Iowa State’s roster this offseason, landing a few fish after spending months in the transfer pond. With the exception of maybe USC, Minnesota, and Maryland, no program has been in play for as many transfers in the portal as the Cyclones have been. It started out bad though, missing out on top-tier targets such as Justin Turner (Bowling Green), Makale Foreman (Stony Brook), and others who could’ve been eligible to contribute for next season.
Slowly, but surely though, Iowa State has been able to fill out the roster. First was the commitment of Tyler Harris, a 5’9 guard from Memphis who is slated to sit out next season. He’ll be a good replacement for Bolton if he elects to leave early. Who is able to play next season is Jalen Coleman-Lands, a grad transfer guard from DePaul that was granted a sixth year of eligibility. He’s a solid double-digit scorer who’ll replace some of Haliburton’s production on the perimeter.
Their most recent pickup is Blake Hinson, a 6’5 versatile forward who averaged 10.1 ppg and 4.6 rpg this past season at Ole Miss. The wing position is of major weakness for Iowa State right now so adding him to the roster in late June is a major coup. At the very least, he’s insurance for sit-out transfer Javan Johnson, a 6’6 forward who put up 10.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg at Troy. If he’s one of those mid-major players who can’t handle the upgraded competition, Hinson, a proven power conference contributor, can play 30 mpg at the forward spots. He’s looking for a waiver to play next season but will have a major role, either way, going forward.
Add these transfers to a top-30 overall recruiting class and you can see some potential for the Cyclones going forward. If forward George Conditt IV can breakout and top-70 freshman center Xavier Foster can be impactful out the gate, there’s a solid 8-9 man rotation that can make some noise in the Big 12.
If Bolton can be around for the 2021-22 season, Iowa State can be a legit team around the top-25 range. They’d only lose Young and have both Hinson and Harris definitely available to play. It won’t be a roster filled with First-Team all-league talent but depth won’t be an issue at all. This isn’t a team that’ll land the top available transfers or even top-50 recruits, so finding under the radar prospects who can develop over time will be Coach Prohm’s best chance at success. “Under the radar” is the kind of offseason the Cyclones have had, which is just fine for a program looking to climb back up the Big 12 ladder.