Douglas: Losing out on transfers will hurt but could help in the long run

Steve Prohm sits courtside against Texas on Feb. 15.

Zane Douglas

Seemingly everything has gone wrong for the Iowa State men’s basketball team over the last month.

After a huge win when it successfully recruited Iowa prospect Xavier Foster, the team has been on a downhill trend, and the months of March and April have amplified that.

Losing six players after the season is over has happened multiple years in a row now for Iowa State, but this time, it has made it even harder for the Cyclones as they fail to pick up transfers who have narrowed their decisions down to a select few teams, including Iowa State.

There are more transfers coming, including a chance Thursday to pick up a transfer, but if Iowa State misses out on everything, there is still a bright side for the Cyclones.

Losing out on talented transfers will give more minutes to underclassmen depth pieces.

Foster will come in next season and will likely be given a good amount of minutes in the rotation, but what about Dudley Blackwell? Darlinstone Dubar? Jaden Walker?

As the transfers keep coming and going, Iowa State’s roster is looking pretty thin, and those guys who looked like low-level depth players could be stashed and will now turn into rotation pieces that could garner decent playing time — and that’s a good thing.

From a perspective of keeping the guys that you recruit, keeping Iowa State’s recruits was a problem this season with Caleb Grill, Zion Griffin and Terrence Lewis transferring, and at least two of them — Griffin and Lewis — were suffering a severe lack of playing time.

Iowa State would also benefit from the development of these players as they play in significant live-game action in just their first year. The action can also allow Head Coach Steve Prohm to see what he has in some of his freshmen bench pieces and start to play them more if the starters are struggling.

Iowa State might have some growing pains next season if the transfers keep choosing other schools, but having no one to fill the void instead of freshmen is a blessing in disguise, especially for Prohm.

Prohm has the chance to grow his own crop of young talent and can do it uninterrupted and without transferring because they’ll all be getting solid playing time.

What this means, however, is that Iowa State could be bad next year. Maybe even worse than this past season, as hard as that is to imagine. 

Without Tyrese Haliburton, the Cyclones looked lost, and now they won’t get him back at all. Freshmen won’t be able to replace that, and Foster won’t be able to replace that.

Over time, Iowa State will have the opportunity to build something with this successful recruiting class by allowing them to play in the rotation.

Rasir Bolton, Solomon Young and George Conditt are all upperclassmen now. Javan Johnson is the same, and he hasn’t played a minute for the Cyclones yet. Iowa State needs to have a more established senior group, and it’ll start with the development of this recruiting class.

There are reasons for an Iowa State fan to be optimistic with any scenario going forward, but it’s easy to see why the Cyclone men’s basketball team has been met with cynicism as well. That being said, whether it gets some transfers or not, Iowa State will have the chance to steer its team in the right direction.