Following the 2015-16 season, the Iowa State Cyclones said their goodbyes to arguably their top three players. Georges Niang, Abdel Nader, and Jameel McKay all graduated, leaving Head Coach Steve Prohm with several holes to fill in the front court moving forwards.
Their careers culminated with a spot in the Sweet 16, after taking down the Iona Gaels and the Little Rock Trojans inside the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. While they didn’t reach the Final Four in their final season, the trio of seniors went out with their heads held high.
Heading into the 2016-17 season, the Cyclones will rely on a talented back court to do the bulk of their damage on the offensive end. Matt Thomas and Monte Morris will both see expanded roles in their senior seasons, and the Cyclones received a gift from the NCAA when they granted Nazareth Mitrou-Long an extra year of eligibility.
The back court is solid, but the front court is where the questions remain. Center Stuart Nezlek returns and will see an increase in minutes, but how productive he can be remains unclear. He has seen limited minutes in his career so far.
Northern Illinois transfer Darrell Bowie and Louisiana Tech transfer Merrill Holden will provide some depth at the forward spots. Both have proven themselves at the Division I level, and add size that the Cyclones desperately need (both stand at 6’8”).
Iowa State Cyclones
2015-16 Record: 23-12 (10-8 in Big 12; Tied-5th)
Key Returnees: Matt Thomas, Deonte Burton, Monte Morris, Nazareth Mitrou-Long
Key Departures: Georges Niang, Jameel McKay, Abdel Nader
(** Denotes Conference Play)
11/6/2016: v. Sioux Falls (Exhibition)
11/11/2016: v. Savannah State Tigers
11/14/2016: v. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
11/20/2016: v. The Citadel Bulldogs
11/24/2016: v. Indiana State Sycamores (AdvoCare Invitational)
11/25/2016: TBD (AdvoCare Invitational)
11/27/2016: TBD (AdvoCare Invitational)
12/1/2016: v. Cincinnati Bearcats
12/5/2016: v. Omaha Mavericks
12/8/2016: @ Iowa Hawkeyes (Iowa Corn Cyhawk Series)
*Iowa City, IA
12/17/2016: v. Drake Bulldogs (Hy-Vee Classic)
*Des Moines, IA
12/20/2016: v. Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils
1/28/2017: @ Vanderbilt Commodores (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
Conference Schedule: TBD