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Iowa State men’s basketball prepares for Bahamas trip

Robert+Jones+and+Tre+King+celebrate+Jaren+Holmes+field+goal+at+the+2023+Big+12+Tournament+Semifinals+versus+Kansas+in+the+T-Mobile+Center%2C+Mar.+10.
Jacob Rice
Robert Jones and Tre King celebrate Jaren Holmes field goal at the 2023 Big 12 Tournament Semifinals versus Kansas in the T-Mobile Center, Mar. 10.

The Iowa State men’s basketball team prepares for its trip to the Bahamas, where they will be able to bond as a team and showcase the talented new roster.

The Cyclones will depart for their week-long trip on August 4, where they will participate in three games against international competition. This will be the team’s first opportunity to incorporate new pieces from the transfer portal and incoming freshmen into the lineup in a live game. 

Head coach T.J. Otzelberger noted the importance of these games and how he and his coaching staff will utilize them for the upcoming season. 

“When you have as many new guys and freshmen as we do, it helps those guys get more realistic game repetitions, officials and against other teams,” Otzelberger said. “We want to win in everything we do, and that’s gonna be part of it but getting those game minutes and experience for guys is going to be important.”

Sophomore Jackson Paveletzke, freshman Milan Momcilovic and senior Curtis Jones are just a few of the new players that will be making their much-anticipated debut for the Cyclones this season. 

Otzelberger talked about the skills he’s seen from each of them during the summer that will be on display in the team’s exhibition matchups. 

“I think all three of those guys have the ability to make shots and make plays at a high level,” Otzelberger said. “What I’ve noticed from Curtis is every week, he’s been able to improve, and his confidence has grown. He’s been really aggressive, we want him to hunt every opportunity he can because we have a lot of confidence in what he can do. Jackson can make plays for others. He does a great job of getting into the paint. We encourage him to hunt more opportunities from three because he’s always been a terrific three-point shooter.” 

Along with its nine newcomers, Iowa State returns six players from last year’s team, which found success with Otzelberger’s defensive game plan. With hopes of building off last season’s NCAA tournament appearance, seniors Robert Jones and Tre King have been the frontrunners in teaching their coaches lockdown system.

“I can’t say enough about what Rob and TK have done from a leadership standpoint,” Otzelberger said. “They are communicating at such a high level, they’re demanding things from the group and that will pay off not only for our team and their individual play as well.”

Paveletzke, a transfer from Wofford, talked about what the upperclassmen have done to make him feel more comfortable in Otzelberger’s system as he makes the transition into the power five. 

“A lot of the older guys have really taken me under their belt,” Paveletzke said. “Just showing me what to do in practice vocally and leading by example. A lot of the guys get in and set the tone right away in the drills. Off the court, the bonding has helped us get out of our shells, come in and be comfortable right away.”

Outside of their international games, the Cyclones will also have time to do activities together off the court like team meals and exploring the island in their free time. Otzelberger stressed the dynamic of the trip as a whole and the importance of the players having time to enjoy it.  

“We want that balance of guys being able to explore and check things out there,” Otzelberger said. “It’s kind of that blend of ‘hey there’s things we have to do here and we’re going to do together that we’re going to embrace, and then giving them that autonomy to do some things there too.’”

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Jacob Rice, Visual Editor
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    Cheryl Pittman | Aug 4, 2023 at 6:36 pm

    Have a trip of your lives boys! What station and when can we watch games?

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