Busting Brackets

Iowa State Basketball: Cylones 2020-21 roster preview and expectations

(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Rasir Bolton Iowa State Basketball
Rasir Bolton Iowa State Basketball (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

Projected starters

Rasir Bolton

Coming off a strong sophomore campaign where he averaged 14.7 points per contest, Bolton looks to be the main catalyst of offense for the Cyclones. Bolton showed off his ability to get to the basket and finish through contact last season while also continuing to improve as a shooter, finishing with a 33.6% clip from 3.

Bolton will only continue to improve as a shooter but his biggest question mark is his ability to become a playmaker for the cyclones. If Bolton can cut down on the turnovers and improve as a passer, look for the Junior to have a breakout season and take the national spotlight as one of the top players in the Big 12.

Jalen Coleman-Lands

A major area of improvement the Cyclones demand heading into the 2020-2021 season is simply needing guys that can flat out get buckets, and the Clones struck gold with that by landing DePaul transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands.

Lands is a 6”4 guard that has spent time at both Illinois and DePaul throughout his college career. He averaged just under 10 points a contest throughout his career while shooting 36% from deep. Last season at DePaul, Lands scored in double digits in 20 out of the 32 games they played. Not only will JCL give the Clones immediate offense, but being a 6th-year Senior, Lands will be a savvy veteran guard for the Cyclones.

Solomon Young

The without question starting center for the Cyclones this season will be Redshirt Senior Solomon Young. Last season, Young averaged 10 points and four rebounds a contest for the Cyclones, with his best game being against Oklahoma State where he scored a career-high 27 points. Young will be one of the best back to basket bigs that the Big 12 has to offer and be a force to be reckoned with in the low post.

Where Young needed to improve most in the off-season was his jump shooting. Young attempted only four three-pointers last season, forcing him to sometimes be a liability on the offensive end. If Young was a threat from the 3 point line, it would force opposing bigs to have to guard him at the line, which would clear up driving room for the guards.

You can always count on Solo when he’s on the low block, but if he can step back and knock down the open 3, this Cyclone offense could be dangerous.

Tyler Harris

One of the headline transfers that Steve Prohm and his staff landed this past summer is Memphis transfer, Tyler Harris. Harris was recruited heavily by Prohm when he was a senior in high school, but the 5”9 guard ultimately decided to stay home and play for Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers.

In his two seasons at Memphis, Harris averaged a combined 9.8 points and 1.4 assists. He started half of the games as a freshman but came off the bench as a Sophomore where he ultimately became a more efficient player. He shot 36.4% from beyond the arc his Sophomore year, improving from the 31.5% he shot as a freshman.

Harris will provide the Cyclones with an instant burst of scoring from the moment he steps on the floor. He will be one of the best athletes on the floor at all times to go along with his three-point shooting. Harris will fill a key role from the cyclones in an area where they struggled the past couple of seasons, 3 point shooting.

Javan Johnson

Perhaps the biggest question mark on Iowa State’s roster is 6”6 Troy transfer, Javan Johnson. During his Sophomore campaign at Troy, Johnson averaged 10.4 points a contest, while knocking down a team-high 53 three-pointers at a solid 35.3 percent clip.

What makes Johnson such an unknown player is how Steve Prohm will utilize him. Johnson sat out last season due to the NCAA’s transfer rule and spent last season learning how Steve Prohm wants his Cyclone offense to operate. In a recent press conference with Prohm, he hinted at the fact that Johnson may begin the season operating from the point guard position, making for a very interesting dynamic to the Cyclones offense.

If Johnson can effectively run the offense, it would make things much easier for Rasir Bolton, allowing him to operate from the wing where he is much more comfortable. I believe that a determining factor in Iowa State’s season relies on the play of Troy transfer Javan Johnson possibly at the 1.