Its rare that you see a college program sign a recruit in October, but that’s exactly what Iowa State did on Monday.
Naz Long, who spent last season playing for Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, was one credit short of graduating high school. He’s taking that credit this semester and is on track to graduate in December. When he does, Long will enroll at ISU for the spring semester.
“We evaluated Naz as an outstanding person who has the ability to lead a team at the point guard position,”coach Fred Hoiberg said in a statement from the school. “He’s been a winner everywhere he has been at, playing point guard at the highest level of competition. He’s a great ball-handler who thrives on getting his teammates involved. He’s also a hard worker who has a contagious positive attitude. We can hardly wait to get him on campus.”
Now, what’s unclear is just how long it will take the NCAA to clear Long. He’s Canadian and has played at a couple of different high schools in the United States. Generally speaking, those kind of transcripts take time to get through the NCAA’s Clearinghouse. Hoiberg is prepared to use a redshirt on Long for this season, getting him ready for the 2012-2013 season.
But will be interesting is if Long actually does get cleared to play this season. The Cyclones have some impressive talent on their roster, with Royce White leading a brigade of transfers that will join Melvin Ejim and Scott Christopherson, giving Hoiberg one of the most intriguing teams in the conference.
The major question mark for this program is the point guard spot to the point that there has been talk of the 6’8″, 270 lb White running the point at times. Freshman Tavon Sledge and former walk-on Bubu Palo are scheduled to share minutes, but part of what made Iowa State a dangerous team last season was Darius Garrett’s ability to score and create shots for his teammates running Hoiberg’s uptempo offense. Long is better suited for that style than Sledge or Palo.
There’s a good chance that Long doesn’t sniff the court for the Cyclones this season. But its something to keep an eye on as we head towards the end of the fall semester.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.