Not the deepest team by any stretch of the imagination, Steve Prohm’s Iowa State Cyclones took a personnel hit Tuesday afternoon as it was announced that senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long would miss the remainder of the season. Mitrou-Long, a starter for the Cyclones, underwent arthroscopic procedures on both hips this summer and the recovery process has been slow enough to require that he sit out.
Mitrou-Long didn’t play in Iowa State’s game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff Sunday in hopes that some extra rest would prove beneficial, but the issues remain the same.
“Naz came to me recently and explained his desire to sit out the remainder of this season and seek a medical hardship,” Prohm said in the release. “We support his decision as he works to get back to where he was physically prior to the injury. Naz is a terrific person and an important part of our team both on and off the court. I’m confident his teammates will come together and respond to this in a positive manner.”
Mitrou-Long averaged 12.0 points per game in eight appearances this season, all starts. With him no longer in the rotation Iowa State will need more from guards Matt Thomas and Hallice Cooke moving forward. Thomas, who’s averaging 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26 minutes of action per game, has played well of late. In the last two games he’s shot 11-for-17 from three, scoring 19 points in the Cyclones’ comeback win over Iowa and following that up with a 17-point performance against UAPB.
Cooke, who began his college career at Oregon State, is currently averaging 5.4 points and 14.9 minutes per game and he went scoreless on Sunday. Iowa State will add forward Deonte Burton (transfer from Marquette) to the mix at the end of the week when they take on Northern Iowa, but to lose Mitrou-Long hurts given the spark he provides the Cyclones in the energy department as well as being a capable perimeter shooter.
After putting together a solid freshman season at Oregon State, guard Hallice Cooke made the decision to transfer and ultimately wound up joining Fred Hoiberg’s program at Iowa State. Transfers have been successful under Hoiberg, and the expectation is that Cooke will be next in line when he’s allowed to play in games next season.
However while the redshirt season would normally be used by a player to hone their skills and get acclimated to a new program and campus, Cooke will be using his to get healthy.
Thursday it was reported that Cooke will undergo surgery on both hips in order to address issues he’s had to deal with in the past. One of the hips will be operated on Monday in New York City, with the other being taken care of four weeks later. The estimated recovery time for Cooke is anywhere from six to eight months.
Cooke averaged 8.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game at Oregon State last season, moving into the starting lineup during Pac-12 play. Next season he’ll join a perimeter rotation that should include returnees such as Monte Morris, Matt Thomas and Naz Long, with first-year players Clayton Custer and Sherron Dorsey-Walker (junior college transfers) also having eligibility remaining beyond the 2014-15 campaign.
Ames, Iowa becomes a destination for yet another transfer.
Hallice Cooke, who spent a year at Oregon State before deciding to leave the program on April 21, is the latest transfer to commit to Iowa State. He made the announcement through his Instagram page on Monday night.
Cooke averaged 8.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the Beavers.
This is the second transfer Fred Hoiberg has lured to Iowa State this spring. Back in mid-April, UNLV’s top scorer Bryce Dejean-Jones decided to play for the Cyclones in his final season. Dejean-Jones is eligible to play next season granted he graduated.
The two transfer guards join JuCo transfer forwards Darien Williams and Jameel McKay, a former Marquette commit, in the Cyclones’ incoming class. Hoiberg has also earned pledges from point guard Clay Cluster and Greek 7-footer Giorgos Tsalmpouris, both members of the Class of 2014.
Cooke will have to sit out the 2014-2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He has three years left.
Oregon State took a big blow on Monday afternoon as freshman guard Hallice Cooke decided to transfer from the Pac-12 program, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The news of Cooke’s transfer was first reported by Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop.
Cooke averaged 8.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the Beavers in his freshman season and the 6-foot-3 guard also shot an impressive 45 percent from the field and 45 percent from the three-point line.
Oregon State has already lost junior forward Eric Moreland to the 2014 NBA Draft this offseason and the team’s three leading scorers — Roberto Nelson, Devon Collier and Angus Brandt — all graduated.
That means the team’s top five returning scorers are all departing and sophomore guard Langston Morris-Walker is Oregon State’s leading returning scorer at four points per game.
The Beavers will have an uphill battle as they look to rebuild heading into next season.
Figuring out the Pac-12 race after No. 1 Arizona, which lost at California on Saturday night, has been a difficult task to this point in the season. While the Golden Bears and UCLA have been locked in a struggle for second place in the Pac-12, there are five other teams within a game of those two teams. UCLA’s game at Oregon State on Sunday afternoon represented an opportunity for the Bruins, with a win giving Steve Alford’s team sole possession of second place and placing them just a game out of first.
Unfortunately for UCLA, the combination of their worst offensive performance in conference play and Oregon State freshman guard Hallice Cooke resulted in a 71-67 defeat. Cooke scored a career-high 20 points (14 in the second half) on 7-for-9 shooting, leading five Oregon State players in double figures.
Craig Robinson’s team hasn’t been the most consistent group but they don’t lack for talent, with Roberto Nelson, Eric Moreland, Angus Brandt and Devon Collier the leaders on most nights. On Sunday Cooke and Moreland (11 points, 14 rebounds and five assists) proved to be especially problematic for the Bruins, who had to navigate an 0-for-9 afternoon from Jordan Adams and 38.6% shooting from the field as a team.
UCLA nearly stole this one too, with their move out of the 2-3 zone and into a trapping defense unsettling Oregon State down the stretch. But they were unable to get over the hump offensively, with Adams’ frustrating day being capped by a dubious offensive foul call with 15 seconds renaming and UCLA trailing by just one point. Much of what UCLA does depends upon the effectiveness of Adams and Kyle Anderson, with Adams being their most productive perimeter scorer and Anderson being the versatile option who can score and make sure his teammates get quality looks as well.
Anderson finished with 18 points and nine rebounds but dished out just two assists, with the struggles of his teammates obviously impacting the assist count. UCLA can adjust on days in which their supporting cast struggles, but this isn’t the case when it comes to Adams and the inconsistency of those other players is the reason why. Adams struggled against Oregon State, and the end result was UCLA’s failure to cement its status as the second-best team in the Pac-12.
And given the unknown status of Arizona’s Brandon Ashley, UCLA entered Sunday with a great opportunity in front of them even without a second meeting between the two teams on the schedule. The Bruins didn’t take advantage of this, and they’ve only got themselves to blame.
After 14 games Oregon State is averaging 77.1 points per game, a mark that ranks sixth in the Pac-12, and their 49.9% shooting from the field ranks tenth nationally (fourth in the Pac-12). With talented scorers like guard Roberto Nelson and forwards Angus Brandt and Devon Collier, the points came early and often for the Beavers in non-conference play as they surpassed the 70-point mark in 11 of their 12 games before the start of Pac-12 play.
But in their opening conference games at No. 20 Colorado and Utah, Oregon State struggled offensively. In the two defeats Craig Robinson’s team averaged 63.5 points per game, shooting 43.9% from the field and turning the ball over an average of 16 times per game. With conference play usually meaning that there are few (if any) secrets thanks to familiarity, some adjustments need to be made if Oregon State is to hold its own in a Pac-12 that deeper and more talented than at any point in the three seasons prior.
One possible adjustment, according to Connor Letorneau and Jon Clifford of the Oregonian, could be to move freshman guard Hallice Cooke into the starting lineup in place of junior Challe Barton. The reason? Cooke, who played at St. Anthony HS in Jersey City for Bob Hurley Sr., has proven to be more of a threat offensively than Barton.
Promoting Cooke could prove a worthwhile solution. The rookie, after all, leads Barton in nearly every statistical category despite playing about three fewer minutes per game. He often sparks the Beavers’ second unit with hustle plays and three pointers.
Though OSU benefits having a potent shooter off the bench, it’s possible Cooke would bring necessary energy to a first five prone to sluggish starts.
Cooke’s averaging 5.9 points per game on the season, but over the last three games he’s averaged 10.0 points and 3.0 assists per contest while making ten of his 18 field goal attempts. Barton gives Oregon State an experienced defender who can be a helpful facilitator offensively, but with the amount of attention that Brandt, Collier and Nelson will receive from opponents the Beavers need a guard who’s both willing and able to knock down the looks that come as a result.
Oregon State’s next three games are in Corvallis but they’ll be difficult, as the Bay Area schools (Stanford and Cal) roll into town this week and in-state rival No. 10 Oregon the next. With that being the case, it’ll be interesting to see how Robinson and his staff deal with the Barton/Cooke question.