In all likelihood, Iowa State is probably going to struggle this season. That’s what happens when you lose four all-Big 12 starters, one of whom was All-American point guard and second-round NBA draft pick Monte Morris. The Cyclones did bring in three graduate transfers and have a potential star in freshman point guard Lindell Wigginton, but conventional wisdom doesn’t support Iowa State extending its consecutive NCAA tournament streak to seven with that kind of roster turnover.
So, really, it’s about the future – both immediate and long-term – for the Cyclones. Especially for coach Steve Prohm, who has taken Iowa State to a Sweet 16 and won a Big 12 tournament in his two years in Ames, but did so largely with players recruited by former coach Fred Hoiberg, now of the Chicago Bulls.
That future that Prohm is trying to secure looks increasingly bright for Iowa State, no more so than after the commitment Thursday from four-star guard Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker is a 6-foot-5, four-star prospect that gives Prohm and Iowa State a four-player 2018 recruiting class that consists solely of top-150 players. Horton-Tucker also represents a growing trend for Iowa State of having success in the talent-rich Chicago area.
Iowa State previously hadn’t gotten a commitment from a Windy City recruit since 2009, but Horton-Tucker is the third 2018 pledge to Iowa State from the city, joining 6-foot-10 center George Conditt and 6-foot-6 wing Zion Griffin. Together they make up three of the consensus top-five players in Illinois in their class. Point guard Tyrese Haliburton of Wisconsin is the fourth member of the class.
Iowa State has never been a recruiting heavyweight (Marcus Fizer is their lone McDonald’s All-American), and even when Hoiberg was calling the shots, the Cyclones never secured a commitment from a top-50 recruit. Now under Prohm, ISU got Wigginton, top-25 in 2017, and Horton-Tucker, who had offers from Kansas and Michigan State and is just outside the top-50 in the 2018. Griffin also had an offer from the Jayhawks, the Cyclones’ chief Big 12 rival who has won 13-straight conference titles. This 2018 class is inarguably a coup for Prohm and Co.
This season may be difficult at times for Iowa State, but Prohm’s recruiting classes appear to be ensuring that whatever dip the Cyclones may take won’t be deep or lasting.