Royston: We are in for the most exciting men’s basketball season of all time


Tyler Coe

Gabe Kalscheur shoots a layup against Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals on Mar. 9, 2023.

The Iowa State men’s basketball team added two new weapons to its arsenal recently. UNLV sophomore guard Keshon Gilbert and Wofford freshman guard Jackson Paveletzke.

With the transfer portal starting to heat up, Iowa State is already showing a new and improved look from the end of the season. Although it might be tough to gauge, I think we might be in for the most exciting Cyclone team, possibly, of all time.

The first exciting piece of Iowa State’s new team is Gilbert. The UNLV transfer is coming off a hot season where he averaged 11.4 points a game while shooting 46 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc.

Gilbert could be the X factor Iowa State needs to take the team to the next level. It would be interesting to see Gilbert take over former Cyclone–and fellow UNLV transfer–Caleb Grill’s role of sparking the offense.

It’s clear that Gilbert has the makings to be a force on the court, and his strong connection with T.J. Otzelberger could help him transition faster into his new role. I wouldn’t be surprised if Gilbert takes a lead role in the guard position, as Tamin Lipsey continues to grow and find his confidence on the court.

The Cyclones also bolstered their guard position further just days later by signing Wofford transfer Paveletzke. The thing that makes Paveletzke intriguing is how young he is. He will be entering Iowa State as a sophomore, giving Iowa State two sophomore standouts in the guard position.

Paveletzke averaged 15.1 points per game in his freshman season and shot nearly 50 percent from the field while shooting 39 percent from three. His season was good enough to earn him the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year award.

With Gilbert and Paveletzke on the court, the Cyclones now have much-needed threats from the three-point range, so the Cyclones have the depth at guard to compete with the top teams in the nation. Alongside the transfers, the Cyclones are bringing in the best recruiting class of all time.

The Cyclones are adding four forwards, with two being 6-foot-9 power forwards. The biggest addition comes in five-star recruit Omaha Biliew from Waukee High School.

Biliew will most likely take on a big role in his first year at Iowa State, as he brings size, athleticism and playmaking that set him apart from everyone else. There’s a reason Biliew is a top-10 recruit in the nation and the best player in the state of Iowa. With the Cyclones adding a player that could go to the NBA after one season, there’s no telling how good the team will be.

Along with Biliew, the Cyclones also added another big man in Milan Momcilovic. Four-star Momcilovic is also a top-50 recruit and adds more offense and size to the Cyclones.

Lastly, Iowa State is adding four-star recruit Jelani Hamilton and three-star Kayden Fish. Both players should add much-needed depth to the team and round out an already talented roster.

If even some of the players entering Iowa State live up to the hype, the Cyclones could be in for the best season yet. I genuinely believe that the potential of the team may rest on Biliew’s shoulders.

Biliew will be a star; I can guarantee that. Now he has a great supporting cast to not only feed him the ball but provide support from beyond the arc and down low. Any other transfers would just be a cherry on top.

If Biliew decides to pursue the NBA after his freshman campaign, then the Cyclones have one shot to make a push for a dominant postseason.

No matter what happens, the coming season will most likely be the most exciting Cyclone season of all time.