Iowa State has the first piece of what is likely to be a large and critical recruiting class for coach Steve Prohm.
The Cyclones received the commitment of Terrence Lewis, a top-100 wing from Wisconsin, on Tuesday evening.
“We feel great about the decision,” Terrence’s father and high school coach, Rock Lewis, told the Ames Tribune, “and all that Iowa State brings to the table for the next four years.”
Lewis averaged 22.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game last year for Milwaukee Riverside.
“Terrence Lewis gives Iowa State an athletic wing who can defend multiple positions while he also has upside on the offensive end,” NBCSports.com recruiting analyst Scot Phillips said. “If Lewis can improve his skill level, he’s athletic enough to be a rotation player for the Cyclones early in his career.”
His commitment gives Prohm and ISU a foundation for a recruiting class that has six current open scholarships. The Cyclones very well could lose its entire starting lineup after the 2016-17 season with long-time contributors Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas graduating along with other likely starter Deonte Burton and graduate transfers Darrell Bowie and Merrill Holden.
Prohm took an experienced and talented Cyclones team that was constructed by now-Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg to the Sweet 16 last season and will still have significant holdovers for a team that hopes to compete atop the Big 12 this season. After that, though, the roster will cycle through the Hoiberg-era players and nabbing players of Lewis’ quality will be of great import as ISU looks to extend the most successful run in school history it’s currently enjoying.
Looking Forward: Which programs are set to step backwards as we head into 2016-17?
The NBA Draft’s Early Entry Deadline has come and gone. Just about every elite recruit has decided where they will be playing their college ball next season. The coaching carousel, which ended up spinning a bit faster than initially expected, has come to a close for all of the major programs.
In other words, by now, we have a pretty good feel for what college basketball is going to look like during the 2016-17 season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some programs on the decline heading into next season.
Wichita State: It’s hard to see the Shockers take too much of a tumble given how good a coach Gregg Marshall is and their superiority to the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference, but the graduations of Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker mean the end of an era. Those two were the constants of a Final Four team, then a 35-0 squad, followed by a Sweet 16 and finishing last March in the second round. There’s still talent in Wichita and they are still going to be the heavyweights of the Valley, but the dominance and national prestige that came with VanVleet and Baker may have also left with them.
UNLV: Things haven’t exactly been at a highwater mark in Las Vegas in awhile, but the Running Rebels appear to continue to sink. First, they fired coach Dave Rice in the middle of the season, which is never received well in coaching circles, exactly the place you need to go to, you know, hire another coach. The Rick Pitino pipedream never materialized, and then Mick Cronin couldn’t pull the trigger despite giving life in the desert a serious look. That left UNLV with Little Rock’s first-year coach Chris Beard, until an ugly debate regent debate to approve his contract preempted an exit to Texas Tech just a week after taking the job. New head coach Marvin Menzies was hired with just two scholarship players left in the program. All of that messiness is a terrible sign for the current health of a once-mighty program.
Iowa State: The news for the Cyclones this spring has been almost universally positive, starting with point guard Monte’ Morris deciding to not even test the NBA draft process and return for a senior season in which he’ll be the Cyclones’ focal point. ISU also will be getting Naz Mitrou-Long back after the sharpshooter was granted a medical hardship waiver. But the reality remains that the Cyclones lost one of the best players in program history in Georges Niang and have been enjoying the most successful run in program history. Some sort of slide is likely — and has been expected — as a result. But coach Steve Prohm and ISU may have enough talent to return to the NCAA tournament for a school-record sixth time and forestall any setback.
North Carolina State: It really looked like Mark Gottfried was going to get things rolling in a big way following the 2014-15 season in which the Wolfpack went 22-14, had a good core returning and recruiting booming. But Trevor Lacey turned pro (only to go undrafted), Kyle Washington transferred and NC State stumbled to a 16-17 record last season. Now, Cat Barber is leaving to go pro and Abdul-Malik Abu may do the same or follow the Martin twins into the transfer, and suddenly the forecast in Raleigh isn’t so sunny even with Dennis Smith Jr. in the fold.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers traded a coach who won two Big East titles, went to the Sweet 16 twice, the Elite Eight once and only missed the NCAA tournament twice in 13 years for a guy that Vanderbilt was pushing out the door. Not great. Even if things had gotten stale for Pitt fans with Jamie Dixon, the results he achieved are hard to argue. Few believe that Kevin Stallings is the answer to jumpstart the program back to where Dixon had it during the first years of his tenure, especially as the ACC continues to be a monster to navigate.
Kansas State: The Bruce Weber era in Manhattan started out with a bang, as he tied for a Big 12 title in his first year taking over for Frank Martin, but it’s been backsliding since, capped with a 17-16 (5-13 Big 12) campaign this past season. He couldn’t make it work with the most talented player (Marcus Foster) he’s had there, and there hasn’t exactly been a line of high-level recruits making their way to Manhattan. And if that wasn’t bad enough, KSU fans had to watch Oklahoma State hire former Wildcat assistant Brad Underwood while their administration gave Weber a stay of execution.
Ohio State: This is probably the trickiest inclusion, as Thad Matta’s track record would suggest that last year’s NIT appearance was merely a slip on the path to a return to the top of the Big Ten. The trouble, though, is that seeing four members of a heralded five-man 2015 recruiting class all decide to transfer is a major red flag. The Buckeyes do welcome another strong class to Columbus this fall, headlined by Derek Funderburk, but there are some visible cracks in the facade.
Incoming ISU recruit testing NBA waters as “Plan B”
It’s been a long, circuitous route for Malou, who was born in Ethiopia before emigrating to Australia as a toddler. He’s bounced between Australia and the United State multiple times attending prep schools and community colleges. In addition to academic issues given all his movement, Malou also faces a potential problem with the NCAA given his eligibility clock. ISU is asking the NCAA to grant him an extension.
Malou was one of the most sought after junior college players in the country, and his Yuba College gym hosted a number of NBA scouts during his time there. The Cyclones have been counting on him to be a significant contributor for next season.
Whether or not Malou makes it to ISU this fall could have a profound impact on the Cyclones in their second year under Steve Prohm. Their backcourt returns intact with Monte Morris, Naz Mitrou-Long and Matt Thomas, but the loss of All-American Georges Niang and frontcourt mates Jameel McKay and Abdel Nader has left ISU thin up front. Not having Malou available would make them even shallower in a position that the Cyclones are actively already trying to add to with a graduate transfer.
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.
AMES, Iowa (AP) Jameel McKay scored 18 points with eight rebounds, and No. 4 Iowa State held off Arkansas-Pine Bluff 78-64 Sunday for its ninth straight win.
Matt Thomas had 17 points in his first start of the season for the Cyclones (9-0). They rested guard Naz Mitrou-Long, who is still working his way back from offseason surgery to repair both hips.
The Golden Lions (2-8) hung around for about 35 minutes against an Iowa State team three days removed from an emotional 83-82 win over rival Iowa. But Monte Morris’ alley-oop to McKay gave the Cyclones a 70-54 lead with just more than 5 minutes left.
Ghiavonni Robinson scored 15 points for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which lost its third straight.
This was Iowa State’s second-to-last game against a low-major opponent. Arkansas-Pine Bluff caused more problems for the Cyclones than most thought it could.
Iowa State was sloppy from the outset, turning the ball over seven times in the first 10 minutes. It didn’t take its first double-digit lead until late in the first half, when a pair of free throws by Abdel Nader put the Cyclones up 33-23.
The Golden Lions played at times as well as they have all season, and some defensive lapses kept Iowa State from making the kind of big run that would’ve put them away earlier. The Cyclones also committed 13 turnovers, but the game was never really in doubt.
Morris, whose floater with 9 seconds left beat the Hawkeyes, had 12 points and 11 assists for his third double-double this season.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: The Golden Lions have been beaten by at least 14 points in each of their losses. … Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s first home game isn’t until Jan. 16 against Southern. … Arkansas-Pine Bluff hit just two free throws.
Iowa State: Mitrou-Long started the first eight games, averaging 12 points. Thomas started in place of Long. … Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register missed the game after breaking his leg when fans stormed the court following Thursday’s win over Iowa. Peterson told The Associated Press he hopes to cover Iowa State’s next game, Saturday in Des Moines against Northern Iowa.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff plays at Santa Clara on Tuesday.
Iowa State plays Northern Iowa in Des Moines on Saturday.
Rob Gray Jr. scored a career-high 31 and Chicken Knowles added 20 and nine rebounds as the Cougars beat the Tigers at home. This was the second test of the season for Kelvin Sampson’s team, which lost at Rhode Island earlier in the week.
LSU welcomed back guard Keith Hornsby and he scored 32 points, with three coming on the shot that forced overtime, and Tim Quarterman added 27, ten and six assists, but defending and rebounding were major issues for Johnny Jones’ team. Ben Simmons finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists before fouling out late in regulation.
St. John’s 84, Syracuse 72: Chris Mullin picked up the biggest win of his tenure as head coach at his alma mater, with the Red Storm beating the Orange by 12 at the Garden. Federico Mussini scored 17 points to lead five Red Storm in double figures, with Amar Alibegovic (15 points, nine rebounds) and Durand Johnson (15, seven and four assists) among the other standouts for the home team. Syracuse struggled from deep, shooting 5-for-26 from three.
Nebraska 70, Rhode Island 67: Shavon Shields scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman guard Glynn Watson scored 13 of his 17 in the second half at the Huskers came back to be the Rams in Lincoln. Jarvis Garrett and Kuran Iverson scored 15 apiece for URI, with Jared Terrell’s three-pointer that would have tied the game missing the mark in the final seconds. Three of the Rams’ four losses this season have been by three points or less.
Mandell Thomas, Fordham: Thomas accounted for 27 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the Rams’ 92-55 win over Coppin State. Fordham’s now 9-1 on the season.
Obi Enechionyia, Temple: The Owls fell short against Saint Joseph’s but the sophomore forward played very well, scoring 25 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Malachi Richardson, Syracuse: Richardson missed all eleven of his three-point attempts in a loss at St. John’s, scoring 15 points on 4-for-20 shooting.
Kevin Puryear, Missouri: Puryear, who to this point in the season has been the Tigers’ best front court player, scored four points on 2-for-10 shooting in a blowout loss at No. 13 Arizona.
Chicago State’s three-point shooting: The Cougars were fighting an uphill battle against Northwestern, which comes as no surprise. But they shot 1-for-19 from three in the 77-35 defeat.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
No. 4 Iowa State got off to a sluggish start but that didn’t keep them from taking care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 78-64. Jameel McKay scored 18 points and Matt Thomas added 17 for the Cyclones, with the latter seeing more playing time with senior Naz Mitrou-Long still working his way back to full strength after undergoing hip surgery in the summer.
No. 9 Villanova rebounded from its first loss of the season in solid fashion, beating Big 5 rival La Salle 76-47. The Wildcats shot nearly 55 percent from the field, and Josh Hart led five players in double figures with 18 points.
No. 13 Arizona rolled to an 88-52 win over Missouri Sunday night, with Mark Tollefsen leading six in double figures with 17 points. The Tigers shot just 30.4 percent from the field and didn’t have a single player score in double figures.
Jevon Thomas, whose wayward behind the back pass led to his getting yanked from a loss to Virginia on Tuesday, rebounded with a 21-point effort as No. 14 West Virginia steamrolled ULM 100-58. Bob Huggins’ team scored 59 points in the first half and racked up 14 steals on the day.
OTHER NOTABLE OUTCOMES
Marc-Eddy Norelia scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds in FGCU’s 77-76 win over UMass. Rayjon Tucker’s three-point play with 10.6 seconds remaining proved to be the difference.
Bonzie Colson scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Notre Dame’s 81-61 win over Loyola-Chicago. In total the Fighting Irish had five players in double figures, with forward Matt Ryan scoring 14 off the bench.
Benji Bell scored 18 points off the bench to lead Florida State to a comfortable 75-58 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Freshman guard Malik Beasley added 16 for the Seminoles.
James Woodard scored 20 points and grabbed six rebounds as Tulsa won 70-61 at Missouri State.
South Dakota State moved to 9-1 on the season with an 86-68 win over UCSB. Deondre Parks led the way for the Jackrabbits with 23 points and five rebounds, and SDSU has now won 26 straight home games.
Saint Joseph’s had some issues with its defending of ball screens, but they managed to win at Temple 66-65 in overtime. DeAndre Bembry finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds and freshman Lamarr Kimble made some key plays down the stretch for the Hawks.
Bennie Boatwright scored 17 points and Jordan McLaughlin added 14, seven and four assists as USC beat Yale 68-56. Julian Jacobs sat out the game with tendonitis in his Achilles tendon.
BeeJay Anya scored a career-high 17 points as NC State took care of USF, 65-46. Cat Barber led the way offensively for the Wolfpack with 19 points.
Monmouth won its home opener, beating Wagner 73-54 with Micah Seaborn posting a line of 19 points, three rebounds and four assists to lead the way.
Josh Hawkinson scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Washington State beat UTEP, 84-68, to move to 6-2 on the season.
Shannon Hale’s steal and breakaway dunk with 25.6 seconds remaining was the play Alabama needed to beat Clemson 51-50 on the road. Retin Obasohan scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the way for Avery Johnson’s team.
Tre Demps went for 23 points, nine rebounds and four assists as Northwestern blew out Chicago State 77-35.
Jordan Wilson scored 20 points and Southern Miss transfer Dallas Anglin, seeing his first action of the season, added 19 off the bench as Northern Colorado beat Colorado State 73-64 for their first win over a Division I opponent this season.
Josh Adams scored 22 points and Jason McManamen added 15 as Wyoming rebounded from a loss to Southern earlier in the week with a 62-59 win at New Mexico State. The Cowboys limited the Aggies to 35 percent shooting.