Men’s basketball opens the season against Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Sophomore forward George Conditt attempts to back down a Kansas State defender on Feb. 8.

Zane Douglas

Following an abrupt end to the 2019-20 Iowa State men’s basketball season, Head Coach Steve Prohm and the Cyclones were tasked with replacing many departing players.

The 2020-21 season will start Sunday and Iowa State’s team has been rebuilt and the first test for the new-look team in a COVID-19 affected season will come against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

“I think everybody understands that there are gonna be ebbs and flows to this season, there’s gonna be cancellations, there’s gonna be postponements,” Prohm said. “We have to always keep the first things first, and if we do that we’ll get through it.”

Iowa State’s new-look lineup will feature some players from last season with the main ones being redshirt senior forward Solomon Young, junior guard Rasir Bolton, junior forward George Conditt and sophomore guard Tre Jackson.

Bolton was second on the team last season in scoring, only behind Tyrese Haliburton, who is now a member of the Sacramento Kings.

While Young wasn’t close to Bolton’s 14.7 points per game, he did finish with 9.8 points per game, 3.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks.

Young was also one of the team’s leaders in shooting percentage at at 53.8 percent.

Jackson was more of a defensive presence, but his three point percentage and offensive usage came alive toward the end of his freshman campaign.

Conditt will have more playing time to fight for, but his non conference play was good enough to warrant some NBA buzz before he cooled off in Big 12 play and was relegated back to a change of pace rim-running bench role.

The four returning players will have competition for minutes, but all of them figure to play into the relatively young Cyclone team.

As far as new players go Iowa State had two types of new players added to its team over the offseason. Those two types were recruits and transfers.

Of the former, the biggest names to be picked up by the Cyclones is 7-foot tall Xavier Foster out of Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Foster chose Iowa State over in-state rival Iowa and became one of Steve Prohm’s most highly touted recruits immediately as center made himself known for his shot-blocking ability and a 3-point shooting touch.

Foster said he thinks he will fit at Iowa State smoothly with his style of play, even if he’ll be asked to do some different things.

“They do trust in me and they believe in me to put the ball on the floor if I’m given the chance.” Foster said.

The other freshmen in the class are forward Dudley Blackwell, guard Darlinstone Dubar and guard Jaden Walker. Blackwell is someone Foster highlighted due to his offensive rebounding prowess.

The freshmen figure to play a role, but Iowa State’s team is littered with depth from transfers as well.

Guard/forward Javan Johnson, guard Jalen Coleman-Lands and guard Tyler Harris will factor into Iowa State’s lineup, coming over as transfers. 

Harris in particular highlighted a few people that have helped him mesh with his new team.

“Coach William Smalls and Steve Prohm, I kind of go in with those guys and watch film pretty much every other day,” Harris said. “On the court-wise, Rasir Bolton, he always kind of helps me out a lot.”

The team will come together against the Golden Lions Sunday, who have lost two games already to Marquette and No. 7 Wisconsin.

Shaun Doss led the Golden Lions in scoring in both those games and is averaging 21.5 points over two games.

The junior guard also is averaging 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists on the year.

The game will take place at noon on Sunday in Ames and will be televised on ESPN+.