Predicting Cyclones’ starting five for the 2019-20 season

Iowa State junior Michael Jacobson sizes up the defense during the first half against Eastern Illinois.

Jack Shover

With players graduating or entering the NBA draft after last season, Iowa State will have several players who can fill into empty spots in the starting lineup.

While Michael Jacobson and Tyrese Haliburton return as starters from last season, three other players have shown they have the ability to start for Iowa State.

Michael Jacobson

Jacobson, a senior, was named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team last season and was a solid contributor as a scorer and rebounder. He averaged 11.1 points and 5.9 rebounds a game last season and started all 35 games for the Cyclones last season.

On the season, Jacobson shot 57.6% from the floor and 34% from the 3-point line. Jacobson showed the ability to convert both around the rim and on mid range jumpers and was solid shooting the three when left open.

With the other starters in this lineup, 6-foot-9-inch Jacobson would slot into the starting power forward spot and would be able to provide size and spacing ability at the position with his ability to score the basketball.

Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton was quick to establish himself as a contributor for Iowa State early last season and started all but one game.

As a freshman, Haliburton averaged 6.8 points, 3.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game and was efficient shooting the ball. He shot 51.5% from the floor and 43.4% from three.

This offseason, Haliburton was on the U.S. team, which won gold at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Greece and was named to the competitions All-Star Five, which is awarded to five standout players from the competition. At the World Cup, Haliburton averaged 7.9 points and 6.9 assists a game, which was the highest assist average of the Cup.

While he may not take the most shots for Iowa State next season, Haliburton will benefit the offense by having the ball in his hands as the team’s primary ball handler and facilitating the ball to the team’s scorers.

Solomon Young

After tearing his meniscus to end his 2017-18 season, Young missed all but four games last season and earned a medical redshirt.

Young had surgery on his groin in October 2018 and after briefly returning, he had surgery on his surgery on his shoulder in February 2019. Young played in the YMCA Cap City this summer and should be healthy entering the 2019-20 season.

Two seasons ago, Young was averaging 7.2 points and 5.9 rebounds a game while shooting 48.6% from the floor prior to injuring his knee.

If Young can stay healthy, he would be the Cyclones’ starting center and would pair well next to Jacobson. Both players would be able to rebound for the Cyclones and Young would be able to provide more interior defense for Iowa State after being named the YMCA Cap City League’s Defensive MVP.

Terrence Lewis

Now a junior, Lewis played in 21 games last season, but the former four-star recruit has yet to establish himself in the Iowa State lineup.

Lewis averaged 4.3 points and one rebound, while shooting 42.5% from the floor. At 6 feet 6 inches tall, Lewis has great length, but has struggled shooting the ball from three. Last season, Lewis shot 30.8% from long range.

In this lineup, Lewis would be the team’s starting wing, but Lewis will have to improve his 3-point shot so the Cyclones’ spacing doesn’t suffer and he will need to establish himself well as a defender.

Rasir Bolton

A transfer from Penn State, Bolton’s spot in the starting lineup is dependent on if he is able to a waiver to become immediately eligible to play this next season. As a freshman at Penn State last season, Bolton was a player who primarily came off the bench for the Nittany Lions, but he still was second on the team in scoring.

Bolton shot 38.3% from the floor and 36.1% from 3-point range while averaging 11.9 points, three rebounds and 1.5 assists a game.

Bolton is similar to the departed Lindell Wigginton in that both players are bouncy athletes with the ability to shoot the ball. Bolton would be the starting shooting guard in the lineup and would provide a solid scoring punch for the Cyclone offense.

Honorable Mention:

Prentiss Nixon

Nixon redshirted last season after transferring from Colorado State and will be entering his final season of eligibility. At Colorado State, Nixon led the team in scoring by averaging 16.1 points per game and has scored over 1,000 points in his collegiate career. Bolton will be a candidate to start at shooting guard next season.

Zion Griffin

As a true freshman last season, Griffin played in 17 games and averaged 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in under seven minutes of play. Griffin is a good athlete, but struggled to shooting last season by only connecting on 34.4% of his shots. If Young isn’t able to start or the Cyclones want a smaller lineup, Griffin, who is 6 feet 6 inches tall, could start at forward.